“Breathtaking… I haven’t been so entirely consumed by a book for years.”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
This very controversial book is about migrants and their attempts to cross illegally into the United States through Mexico.
The story centers around Lydia Perez and her young son Luca. Lydia is married to a journalist who is writing about the rise in crime in Acapulco due to the Cartels and the drug trade. The husband is currently writing about the head of a new and very powerful cartel named Javier, who runs his cartel in a less brutal way because he feels that all the violence is bad for business.
Lydia owns a small bookstore and unbeknownst to herJavier is one of her best customers and they are on very friendly terms. She eventually finds out his identity, thereby putting an abrupt end to their relationship. At the same time her husband is about to publish a long article about Javier. They both worry about the consequences that could occur because of the article, but Lydia feels that because the article seems to be very fair to Javier, she doesn’t anticipate any trouble from him.
The cartel does strike, and when the smoke clears, Lydia and Luca are on their own and must leave Mexico. They are now on the run, and like those who attempt to migrate from Central America and Mexico they must begin the long, arduous trip North, which includes riding the infamous trains with so many other migrants.
Here the story now becomes one of pure survival. The people they meet on the trip have their own horror stories to tell, and some have been deported from the USA and are attempting to return
The experiences here are told many times in our news stories but the author gives us a different view from the migrants themselves that, no matter how you feel about illegal immigration, will make you at least look at it in a different light.
The controversy surrounds the author herself who is not a migrant and some felt that because she did not experience the trip herself, gets many things wrong and is not qualified to tell the tale. The book had been a pick of Oprah’s book club, had a huge advance in sales, and had already picked up to be made into a film when the controversy hit.
I found the book compelling, and for the most part, very believable. It is well written and the story is well thought out and leaves a lasting impression.
Added 15th January 2021