Listed as one of the top 10 most anticipated books of 2020 by Goodreads members, American Dirt, by Jeanine Cummins tells the fictional story of Lydia and Luca, a mother and her young son, as they flee from Acapulco Mexico and attempt to cross the US border. Lydia’s journalist husband, Sebastian, publishes an expose about Javier, the head of the drug cartel, which causes all 16 members of their family to be brutally killed. Lydia is acquainted with Javier through her bookstore and knows she and her son were also supposed to die with the rest of her family. As Lydia and Luca journey north to
Her debut opens with the birth of her first child in 2005. Will she be a good mother? How is she different from her mother? What was her mother's experience? How was her mother shaped after losing family, her country? How did her father's childhood shape his fathering abilities? And how has her own experience as a refugee, coming to a country she had to assimilate into that she was culturally so different from, as well as being confronted
Behold the Dreamers tells the story of two different families who were brought together by the Lehman Brothers collapse. Jende and Neni Jonga emigrate from Cameroon, Africa to New York City with their young son, Liomi. Jende is a loyal chauffeur who does not talk about what he hears his boss say in the car. Jende is proud of the car he drives and his ability to support his family. Coming to America is everything Neni dreams of and more. The Edwards family give Neni a job helping out during the summer at their home in the Hamptons. Cindy Edwards is a socialite, nutritionist, and mother who says
The title of Love, Loss and What We Ate is what sparked my interest: what could be more relatable? I knew nothing about Padma Lakshmi and didn’t even recognize her name. But it doesn’t matter; anyone can find aspects of her story engaging. She writes with honesty and simplicity about the events of her life. Although she has been a model, actress, foodie, and was even married to the likes of Salman Rushdie, we can relate to her tales of cooking, childhood, career moves, relationships, and motherhood. She writes with a curious blend of candor and self-consciousness, which is both endearing and a
At sixteen, Letty Espinosa has everything going for her – she’s young, pretty and smart with a handsome boyfriend who loves her. Only the sky is the limit. When she discovers she is pregnant, all her hopes and dreams are suddenly dashed. Now a 33-year old single mother of two, working several menial jobs to bring in money for her family, she has been living somewhat irresponsibly while her mother has been raising her two children. When her mother decides to return to Mexico to join her husband in their country of origin, Letty is suddenly faced with the responsibility of being a mother – a
Arturo and Alma Rivera lived a happy life in Mexico until their beautiful teenage daughter, Maribel, sustains a serious injury in an accident. Unsure if she'll ever be the same again, they migrate to Delaware, where Maribel will be able to attend a special school and hopefully begin her road to recovery. But America is not what the family thought it would be—Arturo’s job is brutal, Maribel doesn't seem to be making much progress in school, and Alma struggles with her new life and learning a new language.
The one bright spot is that the Riveras meet the Toro family, who came to the U.S
This book is about love, racism, the immigrant experience and hair. Nigerian born Ifemelu arrives in America and blogs about her experiences as a non-American black person in the US. She leaves behind the love of her life, Obinze who has his own immigrant experience in England. In the end, she returns to Nigeria and to Obinze.
Published in 1995, The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle is still as timely today in its exploration of the dilemmas of illegal immigration. Boyle does not judge, does not side, he merely presents his story -- the sad reality of people trying to achieve the American dream. Set in Los Angeles, on one side are the Mexican illegal aliens struggling with poverty and dehumanization, yet holding on to the hope of a better life, while on the other are the California residents caught in a cycle of fear, mistrust and the need to protect their achievement. Cándido and his wife, pregnant América, are
In 1975 any American immigrant would have struggled to fit in with her peers and Nguyen is no exception. As a child Nguyen’s family fled Vietnam, abandoning her mother, and spending months in relocation camps. They finally settle in Michigan, and Nguyen’s father further muddies the cultural waters when he marries Rosa, a second-generation Mexican-American.
Stealing Buddha’s Dinner is a fascinating look at
Kimberly Chang is eleven years old when she and her mother come to America shortly before Mainland China resumes control over Hong Kong. Her aunt Paula (Kimberly's mother's older sister) along with her husband Bob act as Kimberly and her mother's sponsors covering all expenses for travel, visas, and an apartment in New York City. The apartment is in a condemned building that Paula's husband owns, and it has no heat so Kim and her mother resort to using an oven for heat during the winter. To make matters worse the apartment is infested with roaches and mice. What Kim and her mom don't realize
Children of first generation Vietnamese immigrants, Van and Linny grew apart when their mother bought a house allowing them separate bedrooms. Once close, as adults they are now bound together only by their traditional father who has called them home to celebrate his finally having applied for U.S. citizenship.
As the two women work through their separate problems, and cope with the eccentricities of their demanding father they reach an understanding of what it means to be sisters.
Fans of Gish Jen’s Typical American will appreciate this story of one family’s immigrant experience.