Published by Knopf on 3 Jun 2014
Genres: drama, family drama
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Powell's • Indiebound
The more I read about other cultures the more interested I become. Growing up in a rural area I was pretty isolated, surrounded by people with backgrounds much like my own. Books are a safe way to explore unknown corners of the world. Isn’t that why we all like book so much?
The plot of this story is simple: after a terrible accident that leaves their daughter with brain damage Alma and Arturo head to the US for a better life, in this case is means a special school for Maribel.
The simplicity is what makes this story great. The main story is one of family and of first love. It is also the story of the immigrant experience and the judgements, misunderstandings, and racism that goes along with it.
“We’re the unknown Americans, the ones no one even wants to know, because maybe if they did take the time to get to know us, they might realize that we’re not that bad, maybe event that we’re a lot like them.”
After their daughter Maribel suffers a near-fatal accident, the Riveras leave México and come to America. But upon settling at Redwood Apartments, a two-story cinderblock complex just off a highway in Delaware, they discover that Maribel’s recovery–the piece of the American Dream on which they’ve pinned all their hopes–will not be easy. Every task seems to confront them with language, racial, and cultural obstacles.
At Redwood also lives Mayor Toro, a high school sophomore whose family arrived from Panamà fifteen years ago. Mayor sees in Maribel something others do not: that beyond her lovely face, and beneath the damage she’s sustained, is a gentle, funny, and wise spirit. But as the two grow closer, violence casts a shadow over all their futures in America.
Peopled with deeply sympathetic characters, this poignant yet unsentimental tale of young love tells a riveting story of unflinching honesty and humanity that offers a resonant new definition of what it means to be an American. An instant classic is born.