Sad, emotional immigration tale


Border Child by Michel Stone

Book Review – 4 out of 5 star rating

Hector and Lilia are parents of an infant daughter, Alejandra, when Hector immigrates to the United States with the hope of establishing a better life for his family. Lilia foolishly decides not to wait until Hector finds a job and home in the US and makes her own plans to immigrate.  Tragically, she is separated from Alejandra at the border.  They are unable to find Alejandra who has disappeared with no trace.

The book picks up four years later when they are back in Mexico. Lilia and Hector now have a young son and Lilia is expecting their third child.  They have never given up the hope of finding Alejandra.  When they learn of a tip that may lead to finding their daughter, Hector leaves his family to try to find Alejandra.

The author does an excellent job of bringing the reader into the lives of this fragile family. Lilia carries so much guilt over her decision to immigrate on her own.  The grief, guilt, blame and worry that she and Hector endure over the loss of Alejandra have put a wedge between them but you can still see their love for each other.  As Hector searches for Alejandra, he takes on illegal jobs to pay for his travels.  He appears completely naïve about these jobs, which I found a bit unbelievable, but I could understand his desperation.  The end of the book wasn’t unexpected but it still brought tears to my eyes.

One thing that I didn’t expect was the reaction of Lilia and Hector’s neighbors and friends when they return to Mexico. Hector and Lilia were shunned by the Mexican people as they believed that Hector and Lilia thought they were better than the other Mexicans and were too good to stay in Mexico and even that they had deserted their country.  I would have thought that the people who stayed behind would have understood Hector and Lilia’s desire to make a better life for themselves but they seemed to feel betrayed.


This book was given to me by the publisher  in return for an honest review.

Our longing for a place to belong


In the Language of Miracles by Rajia Hassib

Book Review – 5 star rating

This is a beautifully written debut novel that I enjoyed very much.  It’s sensitive, lyrical, mesmerizing, suspenseful and heart breaking.  A family immigrates from Egypt to America and tries so hard to become a part of their new country.  A tragedy caused by one of them sets off a negative reaction to the innocent members of the family.  The novel explores grief, survivorship, culture and human relationships, along with our longing for home and a place to belong, in such an honest and heartfelt way.

At the beginning of each chapter, there is a popular saying in America, such as “Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” and the same saying in Arabic.  The sayings were so similar in each of the two conflicting cultures and I thought it was a lovely way of showing the connection between the two ethnic groups in the midst of many differences.

This is a very moving book.  From the young Khaled, who struggles to find his own place in the world out of the shadow of his brother to the matriarch of the family, Ehsan, who relies on the old world ways of walking through the home waving a bowl of incense while praying and baking a special bread to take to cemetery visits to give to the poor, each will touch your heart.  This is a book you will think about long after you lay it down.  I loved it.

This book was given to me by First to Read in exchange for an honest review.