Since I’ve set my goal to read 52 books this year and blog about them, I’ve been waiting for a book like 11/22/63 or Unbroken that I can disappear into. You know, a book that you can’t wait to get back to, that you think about when you’re not able to be reading it? The book you zoom through in a few days? This year I’ve found my first book like that–Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario.
This post contains affiliate links which help support Mom’s Plans.
Enrique is a 17 year old boy from Honduras. His mother and father split up when he was very young. Unable to take proper care of five year old Enrique or his seven year old sister, Belky, Enrique’s mother, Lourdes, makes the difficult decision to illegally immigrate to El Norte, the United States.
Life in the U.S. is not easy for Lourdes, but she sends home plenty of money for her children. Belky is able to go to a private school, and both children are able to eat. Belky has it slightly easier, though, because she stays with Lourdes’ family. Enrique stays with his father who abandons him within a few years to start a new family with another woman.
Enrique misses his mother deeply, and he feels abandoned by both his mother and father. By the time he is 17, he is sniffing glue and in with the wrong crowd. He’s kicked out of his grandmother’s home and decides to head north to find his mother.
What follows is a heartbreaking, harrow recount of Enrique’s journey. Traveling to the U.S. to cross the border illegally is dangerous for anyone, but for someone like Enrique who cannot afford a coyote to help him make his way from Honduras to the U.S. border, the journey can be deadly. Nazario does an excellent job detailing the dangers many of these immigrants face.
No matter how you feel about the illegal immigrants in the United States, reading Enrique’s Journey and learning about the circumstances in countries like Honduras is eye opening. I cannot imagine being one of the single mothers who makes the difficult decision to leave their children behind so that they will be able to make enough money in the United States for their kids to eat and go to school. The alternative is to stay with their children to raise them. . .and watch them starve and repeat the cycle of poverty.
However, as one can expect, there are serious repercussions with the many children who are left behind. They feel a host of emotions from rejection, to anger, to idealizing their parent who is gone. When they reunite, if they are able to, the reunion is often rocky and troublesome.
When I finished the book, I was happy to search the Internet and find an update on Enrique and his family.
I thought I knew quite a bit about the way illegal immigrants live while in the United States, but I had no idea how they lived in the Central American countries they come from or on their journey north. This was an eye-opening book.
5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.