Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday Books: Enrique Risks Everything

reading in the Tulleries Gardens, Paris, France

This week I read Enrique's Journey: The Story of a Boy's Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite With His Mother, by Sonia Nazario. A quote on the book cover says "gripping and harrowing" which is definitely true.

The author, a journalist, begins to learn about the life of immigrants. For example, many women come to the USA from Central America and Mexico, leaving their children behind. They do this in order to find work that pays enough to support their children. They send back money and gifts to help keep their children fed and going to school. Many women come here and stay, or stay for many years, leaving their children to be raised by sisters, aunts, grandmothers, and other family members or friends. The children usually resent the absence of their mother; many of the children make the dangerous trek north, in a desperate attempt to reunite with their mother. They usually do this by jumping freight trains, in combination with hiring smugglers to get them safely across.

The author decides to research this phenomenon and write about it. Enrique's Journey is the result, the story of a real boy named Enrique who really makes the journey north, putting his life in danger time and time again. He faces hunger, violence, danger, heat, cold, and fear. Many children die in this attempt to travel north.

The book was gripping, Enrique's journey was harrowing, and I learned a lot about immigration - its causes and effects, broader implications for family unity, even national economics and job conditions. An excellent and engaging book... five stars.

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