!READ KINDLE ⚖ The Book of Unknown Americans ♭ PDF or E-pub free
!READ KINDLE ♶ The Book of Unknown Americans ♡ A Triumph Of Storytelling Henr Quez Pulls Us Into The Lives Of Her Characters With Such Mastery That We Hang On To Them Just As Fiercely As They Hang On To One Another And Their Dreams This Passionate, Powerful Novel Will Stay With You Long After You Ve Turned The Final Page Ben Fountain, Author Of Billy Lynn S Long Halftime Walk A Boy And A Girl Who Fall In Love Two Families Whose Hopes Collide With Destiny An Extraordinary Novel That Offers A Resonant New Definition Of What It Means To Be AmericanArturo And Alma Rivera Have Lived Their Whole Lives In Mexico One Day, Their Beautiful Fifteen Year Old Daughter, Maribel, Sustains A Terrible Injury, One That Casts Doubt On Whether She Ll Ever Be The Same And So, Leaving All They Have Behind, The Riveras Come To America With A Single Dream That In This Country Of Great Opportunity And Resources, Maribel Can Get BetterWhen Mayor Toro, Whose Family Is From Panama, Sees Maribel In A Dollar Tree Store, It Is Love At First Sight It S Also The Beginning Of A Friendship Between The Rivera And Toro Families, Whose Web Of Guilt And Love And Responsibility Is At This Novel S CoreWoven Into Their Stories Are The Testimonials Of Men And Women Who Have Come To The United States From All Over Latin America Their Journeys And Their Voices Will Inspire You, Surprise You, And Break Your Heart Suspenseful, Wry And Immediate, Rich In Spirit And Humanity, The Book Of Unknown Americans Is A Work Of Rare Force And OriginalityRead By Yareli Arizmendi, Christine Avila, Jesse Corti, Gustavo Res, Ozzie Rodriguez, And Gabriel Romero
According to our government, every American who earns 50,000 a year contributes 43.78 to welfare and food stamps Many Americans resent this deeply Many are very very committed to being sure that no one gets away with this 43.78, especially anyone who is here from South of the Border Those people All Americans should read this book about those people It presents a series of interconnected stories about a family who came to the U.S to get services for their injured child, a family who came because of violence in their home town, a woman who came because she loves movies and will never be able to be a star at home, a man who sends money for his sons to go to school Some are legal Some are not Some are from Mexico, some from Guatemala, some from Panama the people commonly lumped together as a single, uniform group Those people.Their stories are as varied as those of any group of people who operate on the hope that things will get better if not for them, then for their children.At the core of this books is a love story, a tender heart breaking love story that makes all of the other stories evenreal This is a wonderful book. Call me cold hearted but I found this novel both overly simplistic and overly sentimental, with too few genuine characters and too many archetypes who say things to each other like, Finding is for things that are lost You don t need to find me, Mayor Does anybody really talk like that If the book s simplicity and sentimentality help its overall message hey, immigrants are people too gain traction with large groups of readers in the States, great But just because I sympathize with the author s mission doesn t make me a fan of her writing. The Book of Unknown Americans by Christina Henriquez is a 2014 Knopf publication I ve been looking to expand my reading repertoire lately, so while browsing through the literary offerings, I came across this book Checking this book out is like doing a 180 for me as I usually stick pretty close to my preferred genres But, something about it spoke to me and so I decided to give it a try So often we hear about laws, and issues, and the numbers surrounding immigration without stopping to consider the human element.This book puts names with faces, and finally humanizes the population of people who come to this country for various reasons, hoping for a better way of life When Maribel Riveras suffers a traumatic brain injury, her family moves to America to enroll her in a special school in hopes she will eventually regain all she lost in the accident Fifteen year old Mayor Toro has lived in America his entire life, but his family is from Panama He and Maribel strikes up a friendship which eventually turns into a sweet and tender love story while their parents struggle with the decision they made to make America their home While the topic of immigration is one that is sure to spark instant and heated debate, especially during an election year, this book is not a political novel, it is just a story that paints a vivid portrait of the way of life many immigrants face after moving to America There are inspired moments amid the bittersweet and poignant realities, and will really make you stop and consider things from an entirely different perspective I admired the families that were represented in this story, and recognized in them the same qualities as most Americans possess They worked hard to provide for their families, they had hopes and dreams, went through good times and bad, but mostly they wanted to give their children a better way of life, something which I think we all strive for The love story between Maribel and Mayor is especially touching and despite the animosity and stubbornness, his father exhibited, Mayor followed his heart, and his attention to Maribel was what brought about the biggest improvements for her Although the story was not necessarily one that left me feeling upbeat or all that hopeful in the end, it did enlighten me, and is very thought provoking I can see why this story as garnered such critical acclaim and I have to say I am pleased I took a chance on it Overall 4 stars I ve waited to post a review of this novel as I try to wrap my mind and words around why I liked it so much This book wants to be a lot of things love story, issue oriented novel, independent essays which should make it a mess, but somehow all work together to make a book that really touched my heart.The story is told in alternating voices as we meet the residents of an apartment building in Delaware All the residents are immigrants and all are Spanish speaking despite their origins in multiple different countries The bulk of the story, its heart really, is a love story between Panamanian Mayor, whose family has been in the U.S since he was a few years old, and Maribel, a beautiful but brain injured girl whose family has made the journey from Mexico so she can have a better education Their journey together, with all its ups and downs, challenges and epiphanies, is the stuff of great YA fiction.But Henriquez does not stop with the love story She delves deeper into the lives of their parents and their neighbors We get to know these immigrants, some of them citizens, some of them illegal in their own voices This is tricky as Henriquez inhabits over a dozen voices, men and women, young and old.Obviously immigration is a very sensitive political subject and one that s deeply personal as my father was born in Mexico and came to Chicago as a very young boy Henriquez does an excellent job of presenting these characters and the issues they face without coming down hard on any side of the political debate Her characters are simply human I felt the way I often felt in this country simultaneously conspicuous and invisible, like an oddity whom everyone noticed but chose to ignore That first day, the words were merely sounds in the air, broken like shards of glass, beautiful from a certain angle and jagged from another People do what they have to do in this life We try to get from one end of it to the other with dignity and with honor We do the best we can I was touched and moved by the small stories and the central families is this lovely novel.This is the second Henriquez novel I ve read, having previously enjoyed The World in Half She is definitely an author to watch. More than anything, I appreciate the fresh perspective and the eye opening nature of this story Immigration is a sensitive topic and a political platform in our country right now, there s no denying that Don t worry, I m not going to try and tackle that issue in this review What I will say I walked away from this story looking at things a little differently It made me feel like the human aspect of the situation is too easily overlooked.I think we forget that some of these immigrants are just people looking for a better life a way to take care of their families That s the case for the Rivera s, at least They leave behind their extended family, their home, the husband s business all in an effort to get their daughter some help They re willing to sacrifice everything to give Maribel the opportunity to attend a special school A school that could help her make progress after suffering a traumatic brain injuryIt s amazing, isn t it, what parents will do for their children The family ends up in an apartment building in Delaware that s solely occupied by hispanic immigrants The author weaves in a few chapters from each of those immigrants, a backstory of sorts on how they ended up in America I thought it was an interesting touch There s a complexity to her characters that not every author manages to pull off and it did what I assume she set out to do, addedheart to the story I have to mention, I wasn t Mayor s biggest fan I didn t buy the love story aspect A part of me felt like he was taking advantage of Maribel somehow Did she truly understand what was happening What really struck me was how this family had to essentially let go of a part of their culture Even simple things, like having to eat processed foods because they couldn t afford to buy the things needed for the recipes they ve been eating for their entire lives This story also made me consider just how hard it would be to live somewhere where you couldn t understand the language, making it almost impossible to communicate Can you imagine How would you ask for help At one point, Alma gets lost and struggles to figure out how to get home I was panicking for her The ending left me completely heartbroken I honestly saw things going differently and I really wish they had Overall, I found this to be a heartfelt and thought provoking story I wouldn t hesitate to pick up another book from this author. This book could have been so much better than it was.As it is, it s a trainwreck The only reason I gave it two stars instead of one is simply because it s bizarrely readable even in spite of the very little substance there is at hand.Where do I even begin with this books issues The rhythm the book sets into Alma narrated chapter, Mayor narrated chapter, and brief bio of a tertiary character had potential Yet the tertiary characters chapters all read painfully alike, with seemingly the only thing changed the character s respective nationality Mysteriously, Henriquez ignores all differences between each country there s nothing particular Nicaraguan about Benny or Venezuelan about Quisqueya This device was probably aiming to establish some sens of a pan Latino identity, but you don t do that by ignoring difference you do that by embracing it.Alma had potential as a character, but as a central character to the book, she is perhaps childishly optimistic and at first completely oblivious to the country she is living in As a child of Latino immigrants and a friend to many Latino immigrants, this couldn t ringfalse Some of the cultural differences she is unaware of are frighteningly simple Where does she shop for groceries How does she spend money Correct me if I m wrong, but I m pretty sure there are supermarkets with fixed prices in Mexico.Similarly, Mayor is likeable but to use first person perspective with him simply did not work Mayor s narration is actually very similar to what I d expect someone his age and with his cultural background to sound like The problem is that just isn t very interesting to read The weird romantic twist his chapters took was creepy, not in the least because he seemed to be praying on a girl with a traumatic brain injury.Worst of all, though was the bizarre and sudden melodramatic turn in the novel s final third Aexperienced writer could have handled this with grace, but here it simply comes across as needlessly preachy and unnecessarily condescending.Is Henriquez talented Yes She has plenty of potential, but choosing such an ambitious project as her first novel a book that seemingly tries to express the voice of not just one Latin American nationality, but all Latinos is out of her grasp, and would likely be out of the grasp of even the most experienced Latino writers Instead of a revelatory and fascinating look at Latinos in the U.S today, we get a cloyingly sentimental and bland sketch of many characters, none of who seem very believable. This is a quiet novel, powerful in its simplicity, it s about the experience of coming to America and ultimately about love between a man and a woman, parents for their children, community and country This is not a dogmatic treatise on the immigrant debate nor does it romanticize or sentimentalize their lives, it s about a journey born of necessity or of longing Told in alternating voices and providing insights into the immigrant experience, I found their stories genuinely moving Perhaps because their chronicles are reminiscent of those of my parents and their friends, they reminded me why so many risk so much to come here Their stories felt authentic and their feelings of not belonging, realistic.One character sums it up as this People do what they have to in this life We try to get from one end of it to the other with dignity and with honor We do the best we can And I believe this was as true for the pilgrims to the immigrants coming through Ellis Island and today joined by a chorus of Hispanic voices. Maribel Rivera is a normal teenaged girl in Patzcuaro, Mexico when one day she goes with her mother to her father s work site and suffers a traumatic brain injury No longer the prize of Patzcuaro, Maribel retreats into a shell, suffers headaches, and can not complete even the most basic school work Her parents Alma and Arturo Rivera would do anything for their daughter, look up schools for special needs children in the United States, and leave the only life they knew behind and move to Wilmington, Delaware so Maribel can attend Evers School Alma and Arturo have a tough time adjusting to life as immigrants, the primary barrier that they have difficulties learning English One of the reasons why they do not speak English is that they moved to the Kirkwood Apartments managed by Fito Angelino and all the tenants in the building are Hispanic Not surprisingly, the primary language of communication is Spanish because it gives the immigrants a safety net where they can be themselves as opposed to the lower class people they now are in the world at large The first friends the Riveras meet are the Toro family, who live in the same building Henriquez tells half the chapters from the point of view of Alma and the other half from the point of view of Mayor Toro, a boy the same age as Maribel who falls for her immediately While Alma is expectantly overprotective of Maribel, Mayor gets her to communicate and becomes the only person who understands her As the friendship develops, so does the relationship between the Rivera and Toro families Interspersed in the novel are testimonials from all the immigrant residents of the Kirkwood Apartments where the Rivera and Toro families live All of these people came to the United States seeking a better way of life, and even though they might not have gained the life they originally sought out, for the most part the immigrants are happy they came The primary example is the Toro family who fled Panama during Noriega s regime and has been living in Delaware for 15 years The father Rafael works as a line cook in a restaurant, the family becomes US citizens, the older son Enrique receives a soccer scholarship to the University of Maryland, and the family buys a car They feel that even though Panama has gotten better, they would not have had the same opportunities there as they would have had living in the United States This sentiment is shared by the other people in their building, the Riveras included The people in this book are the Unknown Americans a photographer, a small business owner, an army vet, a line cook, parents seeking better lives for themselves and their children Over the course of the book even Maribel improves in both her school work and long term outlook on life while Alma with the help of Celia Rivera learns rudimentary English Henriquez paints the United States as still being the land of opportunity for legal immigrants in a post September 11 America Of course there are still those white supremacists who wish all the immigrants regardless of status would go back where they come from Henriquez touches on this as a subplot in the novel with the character of Garrett Miller At first it appeared that he only desired to bully Maribel and Mayor but his character goes much deeper than that Despite people like the Millers, however, the immigrants in this book appear to enjoy their day to day life as Americans I found The Book of Unknown Americans to be from a unique viewpoint Rather than simply telling a coming of age story of Maribel, Henriquez weaves together the story of many immigrants experiences I enjoyed the story of the Riveras and the Toros as well as the other people in the building I would recommend this to people looking for a short yet poignant read. This book has been on my To Read list forever, so I am glad I finally read it This book is told through many points of view, but in the book they all end up overlapping somehow One family moves to the USA from Mexico after their daughter suffers a near fatal accident Their daughter ends up having a Traumatic Brain Injury The family moves so she can go to one of the best special education schools They settled down in the Redwood Apartments, a two story cinderblock complex just off a highway in Delaware This is where they experienced great friendship and great heartache The daughter, Maribel, becomes friends with Mayor Toro, who also lives in the Redwood Apartments He is a high school sopho whose family arrived from Panam fifteen years ago Mayor sees in Maribel something others do not her personality and her potential.This covers many issues that immigrants face and families with a child that has traumatic brain injury I suggest this book to anyone that wants to learn and know what it is like to live in a completely new country as an immigrant.