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The Book of Unknown Americans [electronic resource] : A novel/ Henríquez, Cristina.
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- Language: English
- Publication Information: [S.l.] : Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2014.
- Publication Date: 2014
- Physical Description: 1 online resource; 304 p.
- Publication Type: Book; Computer File; eBook
- Document Type: Book; Electronic document
- Subject Terms: FICTION|Family Life|; FICTION|Literary|; FICTION|Hispanic & Latino|; Electronic books
- URL: http://download.yourcloudlibrary.com/apps/icons/Cloud_Library_App_Icon_50x50.png; cloudLibrary Icon
Booklist Reviews 2014 April #2
*Starred Review* On a cold, bewildering night, the Riveras, who have just left their happy lives in Mexico, are dropped off at a dilapidated apartment building on the western edge of Delaware. Arturo has given up his thriving construction company to labor in a dark, grimy indoor mushroom farm, while his wife, Alma, lonely and afraid, with no English and little money, worries incessantly about their beautiful 15-year-old daughter, Maribel. She has suffered a traumatic brain injury, and her parents have sacrificed everything to send her to a special school. Their building turns out to be a sanctuary for Central and Latin American immigrants, and as the Riveras' dramatic tale unfolds, Henríquez brings their generous neighbors forward to tell the compelling stories of why and how they left Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, and Paraguay. As one man says, "We are the unknown Americans," those who are feared and hated. As Maribel opens up to Mayor, the infatuated boy next-door who is relentlessly bullied by his father and his classmates, terror of the unknown becomes a tragic force. Each scene, voice, misunderstanding, and alliance is beautifully realized and brimming with feeling in the acclaimed Henríquez's (The World in Half, 2009) compassionately imagined, gently comedic, and profoundly wrenching novel of big dreams and crushing reality, courageous love and unfathomable heartbreak. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2014 January #1
In this latest from the author of The World in Half, the Mexican Rivera family moves to Delaware so that their brain-damaged daughter, Maribel, can attend a special school. Sharing the same neighborhood is the Panamanian Toro family, whose younger son, Mayor, becomes enamored of Maribel. As the bulk of the narrative shifts between Alma, Maribel's mother, and Mayor, the story unwinds into a Romeo and Juliet reenactment, with both families opposing the relationship, and tragedy the unexpected result. Henríquez does a spectacular job of creating highly believable characters and poignant scenarios: the guilt that wracks Alma because of the accident that rendered Maribel mentally disabled, the social and educational frustrations of a challenged adolescent, Mayor's budding teenage psyche, the inconsolable grief upon suddenly losing a spouse, and, above all, the experience of adjusting to a new culture and way of life. Regularly inserted is a series of testimonials by other participants, which, though thematically important, interrupts the story's otherwise smooth flow. VERDICT A well-written coming-of-age story set among "unknown Americans," ostensibly Hispanic but in many ways any family involved in similar circumstances regardless of ethnicity.—Lawrence Olszewski, OCLC Lib., Dublin, OH[Page 97]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
PW Reviews 2014 March #4
In Henríquez's latest, Arturo and Alma Rivera move from Pátzcuaro, Mexico, to Delaware in hopes of securing a good education for their beautiful teenage daughter, Maribel, who has suffered a traumatic brain injury. Alone, isolated by language and poverty, the Riveras struggle to get by: Arturo works 10 hours a day at a mushroom farm, while Alma worries about predatory men taking advantage of her daughter. In the same apartment building lives Mayor Toro, the misfit son of Panamanian immigrants, who soon falls in love with Maribel. The budding romance, however, threatens to tear their families apart. Meanwhile, Henríquez (The World in Half) gives space to the voices of other immigrants—men and women who have fled their South American and Central American homes to make a better life in a country that, as often as not, refuses to acknowledge their existence. Evoking a profound sense of hope, Henríquez delivers a moving account of those who will do anything to build a future for their children—even if it means confronting the fear and alienation lurking behind the American dream. Agent: Julie Barer, Barer Literary. (June)[Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC
It is a story of immigrants anywhere in the world. Hope, confusion, clinging to culture, hoping for acceptance, only to be rejected by their own kids, who desperately want to blend in with the new world. Some of the chapters of individual point of views are a little forced to be there. It is still a good read.
The Book of Unknown Americans
This novel was quite promising before I even opened it up. Christina achieved the ability to transport a reader into a whole other dimension. Her words were simply captivating and the addition of being able to see the world through many perspectives was brilliant. I highly recommend this book to anyone who finds romance, immigrating, and adventure intriguing.