ningerbil (ningerbil) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Book 34: The Book of Unknown Americans, by Cristina Henriquez

34. The Book of Unknown Americans, by Cristina Henriquez. This fulfills the challenge requirement for reading a book whose points of view are all from people of color. This story is told through several points of view, although the primary focus is on Alma Rivera, mother of Maribel, and Mayor, the younger son of the Toro family. The other points of view come mostly from the neighbors. The Rivera family have left their families and lives behind in Mexico to move to Delaware so Maribel can attend a special-needs school. Maribel sustained a catastrophic head injury due to an accident, and while both her parents yearn for their home town, they feel the opportunities in the United States can better help their daughter. Mayor, whose family has lived in Delaware for some time, falls for Maribel, and he comes to see himself as her protector after she is accosted by the local bully. They grow close, and Maribel starts regaining her memories and ability to do everyday tasks. Then tragedy hits. I am not a fan of spoilers, so I'll leave it at that. The stories all mesh well. The people here are all so real- they have their faults, their dreams, their biases. One smaller, but no less poignant tragedy, is to read a story from a neighbor whom the others have rudely gossiped about or have dismissed. We are all guilty of that, but it makes it no less sad. This should be required reading in the high schools. It shows so well the value of empathy without beating the reader of the head with it. There is some mild language and innuendo (two of the focal points are teens.)

Currently reading: On A Burning Deck, by Tom Jones, and The Complete Poems of Anna Akhmatova (Vol. 1), with Judith Hemschemeyer (Translator) and Roberta Reeder (Editor).
Tags: fiction, young adult

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