Enrique's Journey: The Story of a Boy's Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His Mother by Sonia Nazario was originally a series of Los Angeles Times articles by the author over a span of five years. Intrigued, the seeds were planted for Nazario to research why Central American women flock to the north, leaving their children behind with relatives, in hope that their children would eventually have a better life than the one left behind. After meeting Enrique and Lourdes, the reporter decided to recreate his journey in order to bring to light the dangers of immigrating to the United States. Women decide to make a dangerous trip north, hoping that they will have enough money to either bring their children to live with them or to build a better future in Central America. Nazario decided to make the trip atop train cars in hopes of showing just how dangerous the journey is for those hoping to immigrate to the United States. I found Enrique's Journey: The Story of a Boy's Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His Mother to be a compelling story yet one written like an extended newspaper article rather than well crafted book.
-People leave their countries and come to the US because they are dirt poor and can't support their families Stuff I didn't already know but learned from this book: -The Mexico/Guatemala border sounds like it's even worse than ours... This should definitely be read by lawmakers because I know that any upcoming immigration reform will be based on "family reunification." This book makes an excellent case for that type of reform. I think it would explain a lot of things to people who know nothing about why "these people" come to our country...
The book details Enriques harrowing 4 month struggle to reunite with his mother. The book details the perils of immigrants from trains, bandits, corrupt local police, INS migra agents (government agents who patrol for illegal immigrants), smugglers (hired men who take illegal immigrants to the US). I'm glad I read the book. This is mentioned in just about every chapter with the author detailing specific full names of victims and locations. Author does not give last names for any family members, does not develop Enrique on a personal level.
Everyone in the US should read this book in order to understand the dangerous journey that Central American immigrants make in order to work in the US.
I mean, I thought all hispanic people snuck in with a few dangers. At least one (but like multiple) of those things absolutely will happen and that is so fucking upsetting! People starving in these countries, desperate for hope, SOME way to make some money, SOME way to be able to send money for their children hear that it's dangerous and probably think what we up here in the land of mostly sososo much think--Yeah, it's dangerous, if you're not careful. And the most the average South American can seem to save up is in the hundreds, especially without a very devout benefactor already in the U.S. and wiring back copious amounts of money. Why Lourdes left her children to come here and the outrageous struggles she faced! Then Enrique living in Honduras, never enough or any of most things, selling spices in town, feeling abandoned by his mother. I also didn't wholly sympathize with Lourdes who felt the money and objects she sent back to Honduras for her children was love. Even though they have MANY faults, some of them enormous, it's still egregious that there's almost a system of necessity for leaving children behind, coming here, sending back money, and never seeing their kids again. When I went to wire money once for a friend, I stood in a long line behind hispanic people. We're still affected by unemployment like the rest of this country in our recession, but who poured in at farms to replace the crop pickers run out of the state by our fascist immigration laws? (Even though his name sounds suspiciously hispanic.) No one should have to experience the things people do on that trip north.
I learned a lot about illegal immigration from reading Sonia Nazario's Enrique's Journey. Nazario, a distinguished journalist for the Los Angeles Times very much takes a "features" approach in her writing, emphasizing the human stories and motivations that create the statistics. Enrique's story starts in Honduras with his mother, Lourdes. Enrique decides to follow in his mother's footsteps. For one, their mothers are not ideal, and they still have to work hard rather than spend time with their parents, which aggravates the children's sense of abandonment and deepens their resentment. The mothers, Nazario explains, are not inclined to apologize, viewing their actions as a sacrifice their children cannot understand. I did find myself thinking that I could understand why so many people would risk so much to travel illegally into the land of the free.
As the years go by, the mother is faced with the decision to risk her life and return to Honduras to see her children or have them risk their lives attempting to cross the US border. The story then takes us through the hardships of immigration as one of her children takes his chances and leaves Honduras for the US. In his attempts to reach the border, he learns about his own weaknesses, and the difficulties that his own mother faced when she made the journey.
It's kind of hard to say that because of the book's subject matter. It's hard to talk about the problems with the piece without feeling like you're invalidating the events and the person in some way. It just feels like the kind of book that these programs always pick.
I honestly wanted to love this book. I wanted to get lost in the stories of these immigrants. Now, Ive never read anything else by the author, Sonia Nazario, and Im sure shes a wonderful journalist; however, I found her writing completely uninspired in Enriques Journey. I felt as if I were reading Nazarios initial outline for the story, as if she spewed out all of the things she wanted to say and published it without reworking the syntactic and paragraph structures to create flow and coherence. I did enjoy the last section of the book titled Afterword: Women, Children, and the Immigration Debate. Nazario does a thorough job discussing the highly politicized immigration issue in the U.S., and she highlights some troubling, yet thought-provoking statisticsfor example, the fact that nearly half of all Central American children who arrive in the United States after the age of ten dont graduate from high school.
Nazario serves on the advisory boards of the University of North Texas Mayborn Literary Non-fiction Writer's Conference and of Catch the Next, a non-profit working to double the number of Latinos enrolling in college.