For my non-fiction themed novel I was assigned a book called Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario. I found this book to be extremely powerful and one of the most informative and eye-opening books I have ever had the pleasure of reading. The author explains in the introduction to the novel her interest in the stories of the children who travel from Central America, through Mexico, and attempt to cross into the United States in hopes of finding their mothers. She follows Enrique’s footsteps from his many attempts into the United States.
The novel for me represented a point of view that challenges the demonization of these immigrants and shows their struggles and hardships and the price they’re paying for a hope of a better life. This story was so powerful to me in that way, as it was one to which I had never before been really exposed.
One of the reasons I liked the story so much was that it showed the situation from all perspectives. Though we understood Enrique’s mother for wanting to leave Honduras to make more money and provide better opportunities for her children, Nazario makes it a point to show the pain and emotional trauma that comes with her absence for the overwhelming majority of her children’s lives. Nazario does an amazing job of understanding and then conveying to her readers the motives of nearly every one of the people in her story. This is extremely important to me in a non-fiction novel as these are people, not just characters. Their intentions, therefore are usually grounded in a reality for which we can be sympathetic. This is one of the hardest lessons that non-fiction stories teach: right and wrong is not as black in white in real life as in fiction.
This book is one that is both impossible to put down yet challenging to continue reading at points. Hands down one of the most influential things I’ve read in a long time.