Children of the Land
This unforgettable memoir from a prize-winning poet about growing up undocumented in the United States recounts the sorrows and joys of a family torn apart by draconian policies and chronicles one young man’s attempt to build a future in a nation that denies his existence.“You were not a ghost even though an entire country was scared of you. No one in this story was a ghost. This was not a story.”When Marcelo Hernandez Castillo was five years old and his family was preparing to cross the border between Mexico and the United States, he suffered temporary, stress-induced blindness. Castillo regained his vision, but quickly understood that he had to move into a threshold of invisibility before settling in California with his parents and siblings. Thus began a new life of hiding in plain sight and of paying extraordinarily careful attention at all times for fear of being truly seen. Before Castillo was one of the most celebrated poets of a generation, he was a boy who perfected his English in the hopes that he might never seem extraordinary.With beauty, grace, and honesty, Castillo recounts his and his family’s encounters with a system that treats them as criminals for seeking safe, ordinary lives. He writes of the Sunday afternoon when he opened the door to an ICE officer who had one hand on his holster, of the hours he spent making a fake social security card so that he could work to support his family, of his father’s deportation and the decade that he spent waiting to return to his wife and children only to be denied reentry, and of his mother’s heartbreaking decision to leave her children and grandchildren so that she could be reunited with her estranged husband and retire from a life of hard labor.Children of the Land distills the trauma of displacement, illuminates the human lives behind the headlines and serves as a stunning meditation on what it means to be a man and a citizen.

Children of the Land Details

TitleChildren of the Land
Author
ReleaseJan 28th, 2020
PublisherHarper
ISBN-139780062825605
Rating
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Poetry, Social Movements, Social Justice, Biography Memoir, Biography, Adult, Cultural, Latin American

Children of the Land Review

  • Karen (idleutopia_reads)
    January 1, 1970
    A boy almost loses his life when a horse is startled, a man discovers he is bisexual long after marrying his high school sweetheart, a man wishes to wait a while before getting his papers because he is afraid that people will think he only married his love to fix his immigration status, a boy’s dream of being safe at home is shattered when ICE comes knocking at his door, a man discourses about loving a country that’s constantly pushing against you and hating that country for all its done to your A boy almost loses his life when a horse is startled, a man discovers he is bisexual long after marrying his high school sweetheart, a man wishes to wait a while before getting his papers because he is afraid that people will think he only married his love to fix his immigration status, a boy’s dream of being safe at home is shattered when ICE comes knocking at his door, a man discourses about loving a country that’s constantly pushing against you and hating that country for all its done to your family, a boy discovers his body, a boy loses his sight as soon as he crosses the border into the United States and so many other fragments come together to give us a nuanced perspective of the life of Marcelo Hernandez Castillo. If you want to put a face to the headlines then Marcelo Hernandez Castillo vivisects his entire life for your voyeurism. It is a consensual look at what this country does to people that are simply seeking a better life and opportunities that are not afforded in their home country. It isn’t a story, this is his real life. There is tons of trauma and relentless survival in a country that’s constantly treating you like a criminal. It is constant introspection about what it means to be othered, to be criminalized and the energy that’s expended to be invisible so that you have a chance to keep on living your life. Generational trauma, colorism, violence, questioning, guilt, domestic abuse, and toxic masculinity are just a few of the themes that Hernandez Castillo manages to dissect from his life, put into a pensieve and reflect back at how it has all affected his life, his actions and the journey that he has come through. In response to another review I saw, there is no healing in this book because there is not a moment of respite allowed to people that cross the border. How can there be healing when the wound is constantly reopened? This is the book that lets you know that no, the United States isn’t the good guy. The United States persecutes people, dehumanizes them and then makes it impossible to right a legal wrong in order to try to keep the life that you have already built. The trauma of displacement is thoroughly investigated in this book. It’s disorienting to realize that you’re unable to find yourself neither here nor there. Hernandez Castillo wastes no imagery, scenes or words because even if something seems random he pulls everything back together in such a brilliant way. You can tell that this man is a poet based on his prose. I am completely in awe of the pieces of himself that he shared with his reader. Please treat this memoir with the delicacy it deserves. He’s not trying to represent a mass of people but this is one life that you’re allowed to witness the trauma that comes when you cross the border.
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  • Julia Kardon
    January 1, 1970
    Marcelo Hernandez Castillo is a poet, and if you haven't read his poetry, you should also do that. But the unbelievable beauty of his verse is present here in his prose, as he lays bare the often Kafkaesque and humiliating experience of growing up in the United States undocumented. Also full of wit and joy, CHILDREN OF THE LAND is a must-read for anyone trying to process the immigrant experience in America.
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  • Kathleen Gray
    January 1, 1970
    Amazing, sad, and important. This tale of immigration and a family that simply wants a better life is hard to read in parts because it's true. No doubt we're all familiar with the broad outlines of the undocumented experience but Castillo has captured it in an way that will make you bend your head. That he wanted to be invisible, that his mother went back to Mexico to join his father after the latter was deported, that he has survived even though it has been a painful journey all add up to a Amazing, sad, and important. This tale of immigration and a family that simply wants a better life is hard to read in parts because it's true. No doubt we're all familiar with the broad outlines of the undocumented experience but Castillo has captured it in an way that will make you bend your head. That he wanted to be invisible, that his mother went back to Mexico to join his father after the latter was deported, that he has survived even though it has been a painful journey all add up to a book that hits hard. A poet, his prose style is lyrical even with the subject matter, Thanks to Edelweiss for the ARC. This likely will not get the wide readership it deserves but I'm going to recommend it to others.
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  • Jan Priddy
    January 1, 1970
    I thank the publishers of this memoir for my "proof" copy. It is beautiful, painful, abstract—a memoir in lyric poetry expanded to fill the pages. I cannot read it all right now. I tried to do the math and discover the age of his mother at childbirth. She is two years younger than me. She had children in her forties. I read a hundred pages, skipped to the end and read that the author is "six months sober" and I stopped right there for a long time to consider. I think: come back to me when you I thank the publishers of this memoir for my "proof" copy. It is beautiful, painful, abstract—a memoir in lyric poetry expanded to fill the pages. I cannot read it all right now. I tried to do the math and discover the age of his mother at childbirth. She is two years younger than me. She had children in her forties. I read a hundred pages, skipped to the end and read that the author is "six months sober" and I stopped right there for a long time to consider. I think: come back to me when you are six years sober. Six months is not enough. It means he was drinking when his wife became pregnant. It means I had to step away. This is a memoir of struggle to find edges, connection, the place between, borders, separations and healing scars, the place where division is healed. He does not quite find it. He finds the means to continue searching. I honor that. What stopped me: The cover is the mode du jour—text filling the front and fighting with colorful pattern—it did not seem to fit. Especially at the beginning he says "I felt" too often, and without using the line purposefully. There is a great deal of reflection in random order, but this made me work too hard to piece his story together while also piecing together his ideas at the beginning. Poetry, but not narrative. This becomes more coherent later on, but it focuses on the years of breakage and not the healing. Healing is more interesting to me. It is far less glamorous, but I wanted more of the recovery story and I did not find it. I will return and finish this soon, I think. It is beautiful. Honest.
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  • Kyra Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    Children of the Land is a beautifully written memoir by poet Marcelo Hernandez Castillo where he recounts coming of age as an undocumented immigrant in America. Castillo’s family made the journey across the border from Mexico when he was five-years-old and rented a home in California. When Castillo was in high school, ICE agents came barging through his door, guns at the ready, looking for his father who was deported a few years prior. Castillo was shaped by these traumatic experiences. He Children of the Land is a beautifully written memoir by poet Marcelo Hernandez Castillo where he recounts coming of age as an undocumented immigrant in America. ⁣⁣Castillo’s family made the journey across the border from Mexico when he was five-years-old and rented a home in California. When Castillo was in high school, ICE agents came barging through his door, guns at the ready, looking for his father who was deported a few years prior. Castillo was shaped by these traumatic experiences. He strove to remain guarded and inconspicuous at all times and kept his burdens to himself. As a result, Castillo struggled deeply with his identity and sense of place. ⁣⁣After a decade apart, Castillo visited his father in Mexico. He hoped to reclaim his lost sense of self within his Mexican roots but found it hard to connect after being displaced for so long. This is the true story of a young man who had to find his place and build a future in a country that condemned his very existence. This is the true story of a family that faced extreme upheaval, dehumanization and discrimination simply because they desired a better life. Castillo brilliantly captures the bravery and spirit of his family despite their hardships. Lest we forget, the American way of life is a history built by outsiders who pushed their way in. ⁣⁣With lyrical prose, Castillo lays himself bare to showcase the human element of the modern-day immigrant experience in America. I highly recommend this memoir for anyone who is interested in reading an honest narrative about immigration and the problematic effects of the U.S. immigration policy. I cannot do this family’s experience justice—you need to read it for yourself.
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  • Karen Lewis
    January 1, 1970
    This is a suspenseful and inspiring memoir, a feast of language. The author is a young professor and poet who crossed the border Mexico/USA as a 5-year-old child. He excavates his coming-of-age in the context of family, identity, work, education, language, and place. Highly recommended to fans of Reyna Grande, Valeria Luiselli, Francisco Cantú, and Luis Alberto Urrea. Much of the memoir revolves around immigration themes--DACA, migrant detention, family separation, border politics. The narrative This is a suspenseful and inspiring memoir, a feast of language. The author is a young professor and poet who crossed the border Mexico/USA as a 5-year-old child. He excavates his coming-of-age in the context of family, identity, work, education, language, and place. Highly recommended to fans of Reyna Grande, Valeria Luiselli, Francisco Cantú, and Luis Alberto Urrea. Much of the memoir revolves around immigration themes--DACA, migrant detention, family separation, border politics. The narrative is emotionally resonant with other provocative topics for discussion: coming of age; absent fathers; domestic violence; addiction; work; ordinary heroes; identity. Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC. Full review to come.
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  • Jhoanna
    January 1, 1970
    1/2 Parts of this memoir I absolutely loved and found deeply meaningful and insightful about the daily struggles of the undocumented, Castillo’s conflicted returns to Mexico and his father, and his recounting of his family’s history. 📚📚📚1/2 Parts of this memoir I absolutely loved and found deeply meaningful and insightful about the daily struggles of the undocumented, Castillo’s conflicted returns to Mexico and his father, and his recounting of his family’s history.
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  • Tổng Đài VPBX
    January 1, 1970
    VPBX cung cấp giải pháp tổng đài ảo cho doanh nghiệp với đầy đủ tính năng cho khách hàng trải nghiệm chất lượng cuộc gọi cao và chi phí thấp nhất.
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