The Book of Unknown Americans — Cristina Henriquez

March 11, 2015

I don’t even know what to say about this book other than it’s beautiful and amazing and everyone should read it.

The Book of Unknown Americans gives readers a glimpse into the lives of the Riveras — newly arrived from Mexico — and the Toros — Panamanian transplants— two families living and working in Delaware. The book is mostly about these two families, but there are a number of other colorful, enchanting characters who make up the greater community of Latin American immigrants in their apartment building.

There are parts of this book that feel, if not universal, at least familiar. The characters struggle with figuring out where and how they fit into communities and what the want from their new lives. They grapple with young love, familial relationships, and racial/cultural prejudice. The beauty comes in the intersection of these familiar struggles with the unique difficulties these characters face.

I loved it. Just go read it.


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