Monday, April 6, 2015

The Book of Unknown Americans

Have been trying to catch up on my huge stack of books beside my bed that are waiting to be read! The last two I read are a bit shorter, but that makes me feel as if I am a reading machine!

The first book is The Book of Unknown Americans.,204,203,200_.jpg 
From Amazon:
Arturo 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 better.

 The book opens with the Rivera family being dropped off at their new apartment. They have very few belongings and can't speak a bit of English. The first thing they would like to do is go to the grocery store, but they have no idea where a grocery store could possibly be and can't even ask due to not being able to speak English.  It breaks your heart and reminds you that this is probably an every day occurrence for many families that have come to the United States seeking better lives for themselves and for their families.

When 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 core.

Mayor is a boy that has been picked on and bullied because he isn't from America and he can't play sports like his older brother. He falls for Maribel even after realizing she has a brain injury and goes to a "different" school. It is such a wonderful, simple, first love story of two "outcasts" that accept each other for who they are.

Woven 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. 

The families live in an apartment complex that has many other immigrants from other Latin countries. Those stories are told between the chapters of the main story of the Riveras and the Toros. 

This book was such an eye opener on how and why people immigrate to the United States and the adapting is not an easy road. The culture shock is heart breaking at times, but the support for  each other in the community is heart warming. It is just another reminder, that everyone has a story that may not be apparent from just looking at them. 

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