Weaving together narrative essay and bilingual poetry, Claudia D. Hernández’s lyrical debut follows her tumultuous adolescence and fraught homecomings as she crisscrosses the American continent.Seven-year-old Claudia wakes up one day to find her mother gone, having left for the United States to flee domestic abuse and pursue economic prosperity. Claudia and her two older sisters are taken in by their great aunt and their grandmother, their father no longer in the picture. Three years later, her mother returns for her daughters, and the family begins the month-long journey to El Norte. But in Los Angeles, Claudia has trouble assimilating: she doesn’t speak English, and her Spanish sticks out as “weird” in their primarily Mexican neighborhood. When her family returns to Guatemala years later, she is startled to find she no longer belongs there either.A harrowing story told with the candid innocence of childhood, Hernández’s memoir depicts a complex self-portrait of the struggle and resilience inherent to immigration today.
Knitting the Fog Review
- January 1, 1970MelissaA moving memoir told through essays and poems about the author’s childhood in Guatemala and migrating to the US at the age of 10. It’s a very slice-of-life book, full of the details that a child remembers about playing with neighbors, the oddities of the neighborhood, and being raised by strong women.more
- January 1, 1970Karen (idleutopia_reads)A memoir weaving bilingual poetry with an economy of words that are full of such linguistical riches that truly prove that sometimes less is more. I’m not sure how Claudia D. Hernandez was able to do it but she truly transported us back to her childhood and we got to see her life through that innocence. The importance of this story is that it gives voice to three generations of women that are simply trying to survive while dealing with the immigrant experience of having a mother leave her daught A memoir weaving bilingual poetry with an economy of words that are full of such linguistical riches that truly prove that sometimes less is more. I’m not sure how Claudia D. Hernandez was able to do it but she truly transported us back to her childhood and we got to see her life through that innocence. The importance of this story is that it gives voice to three generations of women that are simply trying to survive while dealing with the immigrant experience of having a mother leave her daughters behind; making the ultimate sacrifice to leave behind a toxic marriage and to provide a better future for her daughters. The trauma that linked each generation is so wonderfully explored, that in the end I felt I understood each women, I was in their circle crying with them at their pain and admiring the strength it took to survive everything that came their way. To top it all off, Claudia takes us with her through her 21 day journey of crossing the border to El Norte, when her mother comes back to Guatemala to take her daughters with her. We bear witness to this harrowing journey and then to the assimilation process that seems to only work by stripping away the unique parts of you and those deemed different. The importance of this story is that it’s an own voices account to the Central American immigration story that is prevalent today but that many of us might not know on a personal level. Claudia D. Hernandez makes the story personal and the vulnerabilities we are allowed to witness make this a story that you are not likely to forget. I also want to commend this story for allowing us to read between the spaces of the line, for allowing us the freedom to guide our own emotions solely based on the vast landscape that Claudia D. Hernandez paints. She never manipulates our emotions by throwing vacuous lines or tawdry sentiments. Even in the sparsity of the words she uses she is able to paint such a beautiful tapestry that in the end we can’t help but empathize with her journey and to admire the work she has crafted in this 178 page story. I would strongly suggest you read this book. It was one of the best things I’ve read this year.more
- January 1, 1970DeliaI loved this book. An amazing narrative detailing the Guatemalan migrant experience, interspersed with bilingual poetry. This should be required reading for our current political climate.
- January 1, 1970BenI read an ARC of this book.
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