Skip to main content

Book Review: The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez


One couple came to American to give their child a chance at a special school that promised to heal her. Another couple came to escape the devastation of war in their home country. Still others came to find a better life, to escape hardship and pain. What they found was a country that offered grand possibilities and seemingly insurmountable challenges. As they come together in a small apartment building in Delaware, these individuals and families share their stories and struggles amid a blossoming young love.

The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez opens up the world of immigration in America from the point of view of the immigrants. There is much discourse on this topic, especially during an election cycle, but there's very little chance to see the situation from the view of those living in it every day. Henriquez tries to bring that view into the open through a wide range of characters. We mostly hear from Alma and Mayor, but many other characters share their point of view as well.

This novel brought to light many challenges that I hadn't thought of, and prompted an excellent discussion in my book club. It was hard, though, to completely relate to some of the situations the characters in this novel faced, particularly since my entire book club is made up of affluent white women! As an outsider observing these characters and their decisions, it is easy to fall back on my attitude that a little more planning and thinking before acting would have made life a lot easier in some cases. I do think this was more limited to certain characters, like Alma, who drove me crazy.

I would highly recommend The Book of Unknown Americans to book clubs as long as you're up for a potentially controversial discussion.

My rating: 3/5

Discussion questions

This review was written based on a copy of The Book of Unknown Americans that I borrowed from a friend.

Comments

  1. Loved this book. It emphasizes the struggle of immigrants in a new country and the challenges they face whether they come here for medical services, opportunities or running from unstable governments. It's a lesson you should read.

    Penelope
    Ketterman Rowland & Westlund

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Popular posts from this blog

Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop

I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Mundie Moms are hosting the Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop in honor of Independence Day in the United States, and I've decided to participate. To stick with the theme of Independence Day, I'm doing what I did last year for this hop: I'm giving away a book of your choice that is written by an author from the United States. It can be any genre as long as the author is from the United States. You choose the book (up to $15), and I'll order it and have it mailed to you from Book Depository . The contest ends on Thursday, July 5th at midnight Eastern Time. The winner will be notified by e-mail. If they do not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn. Happy 4th of July! I hope you have a safe and fun holiday! Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway Now check out all of the other giveaways you can enter at the links below!

Freedom Giveaway Hop

Simply Stacie and I Am A Reader, Not A Writer are hosting the Freedom Giveaway Hop in honor of Independence Day in the United States, and I've decided to participate. To stick with the theme of Independence Day: I'm giving away a book of your choice that is written by an author from the United States. It can be any genre as long as the author is from the United States. You choose the book (up to $15), and I'll order it and have it mailed to you from the vendor of my choice. To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment below telling me your favorite U.S. author (this doesn't have to be the author of the book you choose if you're the winner). Include your email address so I can contact you if you win. This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian mailing addresses only. I've decided to open this up to international entries as long as Book Depository ships to your address. For extra entries: Leave a separate comment if you follow My Book Retre

Leap into Books Giveaway Hop!

This week, I'm participating in the Leap into Books Giveaway Hop hosted by I'm a Reader, Not a Writer . I'm giving away a book of your choice  up to $10 from Book Depository. It's that simple. Just visit  Book Depository and choose any book that is selling for $10 or less. This giveaway is open to international entries as long as Book Depository ships to your address ( click here to check ). The contest ends on Monday, March 5, 2012, at midnight Eastern Time. The winner will be picked using Random.org and notified by e-mail. If they do not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn. To enter, just leave a comment telling me what book you want to win. Check out all the other participants in the giveaway hop!