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Enrique's Journey by Sonia Nazario
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Enrique's Journey

by Sonia Nazario

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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 |
Seeing that Rachel was reading this book, I went to look for my review and there wasn't any. I read this book about three years ago when it was the required reading for incoming freshmen at the Mount. I didn't think it was that great. I remember thinking it was good for the students to know this story, but the way that it was told made it very tedious reading. ( )
  TheresaCIncinnati | Aug 17, 2015 |
This book follows the journey of Enrique, a Honduran teenager who travels to the United States to be with his mother, who migrated to the United States when Enrique was five. Enrique travels through Mexico on the tops of trains, constantly dodging the dangers of Mexican police, gangsters, and immigration authorities.

The book deals with important issues, but it isn't a particularly good book. The present tense writing style was awkward and dull. Despite the horrific events the author tells about, it was difficult for me to empathize with the characters because the writing style failed to evoke any emotion. The writing was also repetitive. The author goes on for pages and pages about people being robbed, beaten, falling of the train, etc. I probably sound horribly cold-hearted, but by the end of it all, I found it hard to care. I would have preferred just to read the original articles the book was based upon. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 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)

(see all 3 descriptions)

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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