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Enrique's Journey by Sonia Nazario

Enrique's Journey

by Sonia Nazario

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This book is a symbol of one one of the things I love about book club. I would never have heard about it without it. And although I usually want to read for escape, getting enough real life in my job and my husband's job, I was compelled to read this book and learn more, to put a face on an illegal immigrant and his plight. If you have any feeling on the matter, if you live in this country that is struggling with how to deal wiith this issue, read this book. Yes, all voters and politicians, including the President, should read this book. It won't give you answers, but it will make you better informed about the situation.

The premise is that Enrique is a young boy who longs for his mother. Enrique lives practically alone in the Honduras; his mother illegally migrated to the U.S. in order to help pay for her children's lives in the Honduras. Enrique is desperate to go to his mother but has no money to make the journey, so like thousands of others he rides trains from his country to ours. Pulitzer prize winner, Sonia Nazario, writes about his journey, along with the facts surrounding it. She even rode the trains in the same manner as the illegal migrants, so that she would be able to truthfully write about the experience.

The entire book is compelling, but one of my favorite stories is of Padre Leo in Nuevo Laredo, who is both hated and adored for his charity work with migrants. He says: "Jesus wasn't killed for doing miracles. It was because he defended the poor and opposed the rulers and the injustice committed by the powerful."

Very interesting. ( )
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
I have read umpteen books over the last six months on the subject on migrants leaving their Central American or Mexican homes for a shot at the dream of living in Ther United States. The ones that come here are predominantly wonderful loving parents ready to work hard and send the money they make back to the families so they can survive a little better than most of the people left behind to the abject poverty in Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala etc.

Their stories are always tragic full of loneliness, abuse and death. The people attacking them are robbers, gang members and renegade police officers, each countries el migra, ready to put a hold on the dream A hold is all that it is. These people are determined to run away from the poverty their lives have given them, willing to risk life and limb to reach loved ones who have gone ahead. I have to highlight Enrique's Journey as the one most exceptional tale that I have read on this subject.

While other authors too have travelled with migrants to trace their stories and steps none have done it as efficiently, none have laid bare the awful tragedy or shown the determination of the people she followed so graphically than journalist and authorr, Sonia Nazario. Having met seventeen year-old Enrique's she goes about back-tracking, following up on every detail of his story from visiting his home town, interviewing his relatives, riding El Tran de la Muerte and witnessing for herself the terror of bandits on the roof of the train carriages, of people falling or being knocked from their perches to fall on the rails to perish or to lose a limb. She stopped and interviewed the priests that helped the migrants with food and shelter, the ones that stood in harms way to help strangers. In short everywhere Enrique went so did she.

The story she wrote is adapted from the news story she earned a Pulitzer prize for and takes the reader along on the torturous decisions that humans make to leave their small children to give them a better life and how those same separated children so often turn to drugs and crime before making the decision to travel to America to find their family. We feel the agony of the attacks on the physical bodies - Enrique was thwarted seven times before finally reaching the promised land - and we gather into our souls the love expressed by the folk that help those worse off from themselves as they throw food and clothes to the trainriders. For the priests and health-workers that administer spiritual and physical food Nazario shows a side of humans that I have not seen described in other border crossing tomes. She brings indignation, faith, a feeling of hopelessness that one cannot do more and intense feeling to her writing. I shed a tear or two in the dramatic tale of Enrique's Journey ( )
  MarkPSadler | Jan 17, 2016 |
This is a heart-wrenching book that presents a compassionate examination of illegal immigration in the United States. Journalist Sonia Nazario follows the journey of Enrique as he travels from Honduras to the United States to find his mother. Nazaio highlights the fact that a significant number of illegal immigrants are children whose parents left them behind while they enter the U.S. to try and create a better life for their children. Enrique’s family is poor and barely surviving. His mother decides to leave her children behind while she enters the U.S. to find work and send money back to her family. Enrique feels abandoned, develops all kinds of problems, and ultimately travels through Central America in order to enter the U.S. illegally to find his mother. The journey is dangerous, many children die or are seriously injured. Nazario gives us background on Enriques hometown in Honduras, the experience of his mother in the U.S. and numerous other characters that Enrique encounters.

The book reads like a newspaper series. It is meticulously researched and Nazario actually takes the journey herself and requires therapy to recover from her experiences (as stated in the introduction). It is a hard read. As a parent, it was a harder read for me. I couldn’t imagine how a mother could leave their children behind. But these women risk death, rape, and incredible hardship for the sake of improving their children’s lives. The book highlights the corruption of authorities in Central America, provides a glimpse into how desperate people take on incredible journeys for an opportunity for a better life for their families, and describes some incredible contrasts between the violence of gangs and police, and the compassionate behavior of some poor communities in Central America.
( )
  JenPrim | Jan 15, 2016 |
This is a worthwhile and eye-opening read about the illegal immigrants from Central America. ( )
  EllsbethB | Nov 30, 2015 |
I can honestly say that this is my favorite book that I have ever read. Reading does not come easily or enjoyably to me, but I flew through this book unlike any other. I liked it because it addressed a topic that personally, I am very interested in. In my opinion, this is an extremely informational book that covers a very controversial topic in an interesting and less complicated way. I like this book because it is very relevant and accurate in its presentation. Unlike other books written on similar topics, this book is very different. It is different in the way that the author actually followed Enrique on his journey to the United States. It is a firsthand experience dictated throughout the text. The language is extremely descriptive, almost to the point where certain scenarios in the book gave me chills and made me feel sick to my stomach. Though the language is extremely descriptive, the writing is still engaging and doesn’t lose focus of the point of the story. The main character, Enrique and his supporting characters, are very real. This book made me feel as if I knew them personally because the author herself does. This allowed for a real connection to be formed between myself and the characters. She also provided updates and pictures of the featured characters at the end of the book. This pictures most definitely enhanced the story and kept my interest engaged even after I finished reading. Sonia wrote the story to be full of suspense and wonder, just how the actual journey is. The entire plot, especially the hardships Enrique faces, like living his family and girlfriend at home and the dangers the train tops bring, is well developed and addresses the tough issues some authors are afraid to address. Overall, Sonia does an excellent job of portraying the dangerous journey that many unaccompanied minors take to reach the United States in a descriptive, informative way for all readers to understand. ( )
  mcicch2 | Oct 5, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812971787, Paperback)

In this astonishing true story, award-winning journalist Sonia Nazario recounts the unforgettable odyssey of a Honduran boy who braves unimaginable hardship and peril to reach his mother in the United States.
When Enrique is five years old, his mother, Lourdes, too poor to feed her children, leaves Honduras to work in the United States. The move allows her to send money back home to Enrique so he can eat better and go to school past the third grade.
Lourdes promises Enrique she will return quickly. But she struggles in America. Years pass. He begs for his mother to come back. Without her, he becomes lonely and troubled. When she calls, Lourdes tells him to be patient. Enrique despairs of ever seeing her again. After eleven years apart, he decides he will go find her.
Enrique sets off alone from Tegucigalpa, with little more than a slip of paper bearing his mother’s North Carolina telephone number. Without money, he will make the dangerous and illegal trek up the length of Mexico the only way he can–clinging to the sides and tops of freight trains.
With gritty determination and a deep longing to be by his mother’s side, Enrique travels through hostile, unknown worlds. Each step of the way through Mexico, he and other migrants, many of them children, are hunted like animals. Gangsters control the tops of the trains. Bandits rob and kill migrants up and down the tracks. Corrupt cops all along the route are out to fleece and deport them. To evade Mexican police and immigration authorities, they must jump onto and off the moving boxcars they call El Tren de la Muerte–The Train of Death. Enrique pushes forward using his wit, courage, and hope–and the kindness of strangers. It is an epic journey, one thousands of immigrant children make each year to find their mothers in the United States.
Based on the Los Angeles Times newspaper series that won two Pulitzer Prizes, one for feature writing and another for feature photography, Enrique’s Journey is the timeless story of families torn apart, the yearning to be together again, and a boy who will risk his life to find the mother he loves.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:20 -0400)

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Based on the Los Angeles Times series that won two Pulitzer Prizes, this is a timeless story of families torn apart. When Enrique was five, his mother, too poor to feed her children, left Honduras to work in the United States. The move allowed her to send money back home so Enrique could eat better and go to school past the third grade. She promised she would return quickly, but she struggled in America. Without her, he became lonely and troubled. After eleven years, he decided he would go find her. He set off alone, with little more than a slip of paper bearing his mother's North Carolina telephone number. Without money, he made the dangerous trek up the length of Mexico, clinging to the sides and tops of freight trains. He and other migrants, many of them children, are hunted like animals. To evade bandits and authorities, they must jump onto and off the moving boxcars they call the Train of Death. It is an epic journey, one thousands of children make each year to find their mothers in the United States.--From publisher description.… (more)

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