Feb 26, 2020
El libro de los americanos desconocidos
Posted by Cristina Henriquez

A dazzling, heartbreaking page turner destined for breakout status a novel that gives voice to millions of Americans as it tells the story of the love between a Panamanian boy and a Mexican girl teenagers living in an apartment block of immigrant families like their own.After their daughter Maribel suffers a near fatal accident, the Riveras leave M xico and come to AmeriA dazzling, heartbreaking page turner destined for breakout status a novel that gives voice to millions of Americans as it tells the story of the love between a Panamanian boy and a Mexican girl teenagers living in an apartment block of immigrant families like their own.After their daughter Maribel suffers a near fatal accident, the Riveras leave M xico and come to America But upon settling at Redwood Apartments, a two story cinderblock complex just off a highway in Delaware, they discover that Maribel s recovery the piece of the American Dream on which they ve pinned all their hopes will not be easy Every task seems to confront them with language, racial, and cultural obstacles.At Redwood also lives Mayor Toro, a high school sopho whose family arrived from Panam fifteen years ago Mayor sees in Maribel something others do not that beyond her lovely face, and beneath the damage she s sustained, is a gentle, funny, and wise spirit But as the two grow closer, violence casts a shadow over all their futures in America.Peopled with deeply sympathetic characters, this poignant yet unsentimental tale of young love tells a riveting story of unflinching honesty and humanity that offers a resonant new definition of what it means to be an American An instant classic is born.

  • Title: El libro de los americanos desconocidos
  • Author: Cristina Henriquez
  • ISBN: 9780345806413
  • Page: 486
  • Format: Paperback
  • El libro de los americanos desconocidos A dazzling heartbreaking page turner destined for breakout status a novel that gives voice to millions of Americans as it tells the story of the love between a Panamanian boy and a Mexican girl teena

    Brina

    Maribel Rivera is a normal teenaged girl in Patzcuaro, Mexico when one day she goes with her mother to her father s work site and suffers a traumatic brain injury No longer the prize of Patzcuaro, Maribel retreats into a shell, suffers headaches, and can not complete even the most basic school work Her parents Alma and Arturo Rivera would do anything for their daughter, look up schools for special needs children in the United States, and leave the only life they knew behind and move to Wilmingto [...]


    Roxane

    What struck me most about this novel is the structure whose purpose becomes clear with the last chapter It is quite interesting and poignant This novel is a reminder of how everyone who comes to the United States brings a complicated storyw ith them In The Book of Unknown Americans, immigrants from M xico, Venezuela, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, etc live in an apartment complex in Delaware Though they come from all over the Spanish speaking world, they have in common than they do not and they form a [...]


    Daniel Simmons

    Call me cold hearted but I found this novel both overly simplistic and overly sentimental, with too few genuine characters and too many archetypes who say things to each other like, Finding is for things that are lost You don t need to find me, Mayor Does anybody really talk like that If the book s simplicity and sentimentality help its overall message hey, immigrants are people too gain traction with large groups of readers in the States, great But just because I sympathize with the author s mi [...]


    Kkraemer

    According to our government, every American who earns 50,000 a year contributes 43.78 to welfare and food stamps Many Americans resent this deeply Many are very very committed to being sure that no one gets away with this 43.78, especially anyone who is here from South of the Border Those people All Americans should read this book about those people It presents a series of interconnected stories about a family who came to the U.S to get services for their injured child, a family who came because [...]


    Julie

    The Book of Unknown Americans by Christina Henriquez is a 2014 Knopf publication I ve been looking to expand my reading repertoire lately, so while browsing through the literary offerings, I came across this book Checking this book out is like doing a 180 for me as I usually stick pretty close to my preferred genres But, something about it spoke to me and so I decided to give it a try.So often we hear about laws, and issues, and the numbers surrounding immigration without stopping to consider th [...]


    Alena

    I ve waited to post a review of this novel as I try to wrap my mind and words around why I liked it so much This book wants to be a lot of things love story, issue oriented novel, independent essays which should make it a mess, but somehow all work together to make a book that really touched my heart.The story is told in alternating voices as we meet the residents of an apartment building in Delaware All the residents are immigrants and all are Spanish speaking despite their origins in multiple [...]


    Melissa

    More than anything, I appreciate the fresh perspective and the eye opening nature of this story Immigration is a sensitive topic and a political platform in our country right now, there s no denying that Don t worry, I m not going to try and tackle that issue in this review What I will say I walked away from this story looking at things a little differently It made me feel like the human aspect of the situation is too easily overlooked.I think we forget that some of these immigrants are just peo [...]


    Mariah

    This book has been on my To Read list forever, so I am glad I finally read it This book is told through many points of view, but in the book they all end up overlapping somehow One family moves to the USA from Mexico after their daughter suffers a near fatal accident Their daughter ends up having a Traumatic Brain Injury The family moves so she can go to one of the best special education schools They settled down in the Redwood Apartments, a two story cinderblock complex just off a highway in De [...]


    David

    This book could have been so much better than it was.As it is, it s a trainwreck The only reason I gave it two stars instead of one is simply because it s bizarrely readable even in spite of the very little substance there is at hand.Where do I even begin with this books issues The rhythm the book sets into Alma narrated chapter, Mayor narrated chapter, and brief bio of a tertiary character had potential Yet the tertiary characters chapters all read painfully alike, with seemingly the only thing [...]


    Brooke

    This was such a lovely, unexpected read Poignant powerful, Henriquez s prose is hauntingly beautiful A tale about guilt love forgiveness, I loved all of the characters, specifically Maribel Mayor the relationship that blooms between them I really enjoyed all of the POVs believed deeply in the Alma Arturo standpoint how much they sacrificed so their daughter could have a chance to start over again This is a great example of what it means to truly heal after tragedy how to let go of the pain that [...]


    Diane S ☔

    3.5 The immigrant debate and the need for immigrant reform is an issue that has been the forefront of the news in The United States for a number of months I am not going to give my own opinion on this debate, only mention it as it refers to the timeliness of this novel.The book mostly centers on two families, one who come to the US from Panama and the devastation wrought by the invasion of the US in 1989 and the other family who come from Mexico in order to get the help and schooling their brain [...]


    Jeannie

    Updated to 4 stars I didn t want this book to end I wanted to follow the characters and see where the rest of their lives took them I recommend this one.


    Louise

    There is very little fiction covering the contemporary Latino immigrant experience so this book may have made the 2014 New York Times Notables List for its content While the story is good, there is no subtly The author s purpose may be to show the goodness of the unknown Americans , but the characters are not well developed and the details of their lives are not realistic.Can it really be that a successful couple in Mexico who has researched US schools for special needs students, found a job nea [...]


    Dianne

    Alma and Arturo come from Mexico to Delaware, of all places, in the hopes that their brain damaged daughter, Maribel, can get better help at a special needs school in the U.S Their story is interspersed with testimonials from men and women from Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Panama and other places All of the stories and vignettes combine into a whole that tells the tale of one immigrant community in America and the struggles they face trying to assimilate.While enlightening and interesting, [...]


    Jana

    RE READING 1 I listened to it the first time this time I ll read the book.2 This is our Skype bookclub pick for this month3 I ll meet the author in Vermont in MayFINISHED 1st time 2 12 15 I finished this book and wrote my review on my mobile device Unfortunately, that device has gone the way of the dinosaur and my notes didn t make it to the cloud in time.For now I loved this novel of various immigrants from all over Latin America living in an apartment complex in Delaware Immigration is a subje [...]


    Naz (Read Diverse Books)

    Review can also be found at my blog wp p7a9pe hc4.5 STARSAt the heart of The Book of Unknown Americans are the Riveras, who managed to secure work Visas after their 15 year old daughter, Maribel, suffered a traumatic brain injury in Mexico With legal authorization to work in the U.S Arturo and Alma Rivera move to Delaware to be near a special needs school that they hope will help restore their daughter to the lively teenager she once was In that small, cold, and bleak city in Delaware, the River [...]


    Trish

    This story recounts the immigrant experience of a vast array of Latinos on the eastern central coast of America, in Delaware It moves in for close ups of two families in particular, one Panamanian and one Mexican Both families are legal immigrants, one coming to the United States for medical care, the other for opportunity Christina Henriquez manages to make the experiences of these two families ring true and universal Especially interesting was the voice of Mayor Toro, teenager and younger brot [...]


    RavenclawReadingRoom

    Soooo I wrote an entire review of this book and crapped out on me when I hit save Excuse me while I cry forever So let s bullet point this because it s easier This was beautifully written and there were some incredibly poignant lines about the immigrant experience and dealing with racism in America Alma s chapters were definitely my favourites They gave me a lot of feels Mayor s chapters werend of a mixed bag for me I mean, I really liked his perspective But He s a typical teenage boy, so The ch [...]


    Debra

    Good book about a family that moves to Delaware to seek better educational opportunities for their daughter who suffered a brain injury in Mexico I did like that toward the end of the book, Maribel s parents finally talk about the accident that caused her brain damage Both talked about guilt and how their daughter is not like before The book also contains testimonials of individuals from various countries who are looking for a better life Although the testimonials are good, I felt they got in th [...]


    Misty

    People do what they have to in this life We try to get from one end of it to the other with dignity and with honour We do the best we can You will never fully know what people are trying to overcome It s hard to make it in the world as is, even harder in a place that makes you feel less than who you are But at the end of it all, they might realize that we re not that bad, maybe even that we re a lot like them And who would they hate then The Book of Unknown Americans is a story that leaves you w [...]


    Katherine

    Back then, all we wanted was the simplest things to eat good food, to sleep at night, to smile, to laugh, to be well We felt it was our right, as much as it was anyone s, to have these things Of course, when I think about it now, I see that I was na ve I was blinded by the swell of hope and the promise of possibility, I assumed that everything that would go wrong in our lives already had Excuse me, I think I have something in my eye Or there s an onion chopping ninja floating around somewhere wh [...]


    Adira

    I read this book with the Writers of Color Book Club and I have to say, I am on the fence about this one On one hand, the book was interesting due to it s cast of characters who all had a voice and the issues of immigration and how Latinos are seen in America were really intriguing to me since I very rarely see books written from this demographic of people in my TBR pile Yet, I felt like the execution of the book was at odds with the story.For me, the story put me in mind of diverse version ofE [...]


    Beverly

    This was a 4.5 read for me.This book is definitely a contender for a top read for me.Every now and then I read a book that just touches my heart The Book of Unknown Americans is such a book From the first pages I was captivated by the sustained voices of the characters written with such grace and dignity as I felt their humanity, hopefulness, and despair to do what they had to do ensure a better life for their children and often, times themselves I so enjoyed how the author connects the reader t [...]


    Licha

    The title of this book is perfect because it is for all the people who have come to the United States, with a dream of a better life, but whose faces, voices, somehow get lost in the face of so much discrimination But they do have a voice, they have a story to tell They suffer pain, love as hard, laugh in happiness, the same as you and I We really are not so different when we get to the core of it As parents we all want to give our children a better life and we will make any sacrifice in order t [...]


    Diane Yannick

    One of the things that initially drew me to this book is that it takes place in my hometown of Newark, Delaware Throughout I enjoyed references to local landmarks such as Bings Bakery and Newark Newsstand However, as Henriquez gently revealed the characters struggles and hearts, I forgot about the setting and became absorbed with the narrative There were a couple things that set this book apart from most I ve read about the immigrant experience Arturo, Alma and Maribel, one of the families at th [...]


    Larry H

    I d rate this 3.5 stars.Arturo and Alma Rivera lived a happy life in Mexico until their beautiful teenage daughter, Maribel, sustains a serious injury in an accident Unsure if she ll ever be the same again, they migrate to the United States Delaware, specifically where Maribel will be able to attend a special school and hopefully begin to recover some semblance of normalcy But America is difficult for the Riveras the job Arturo secures to sponsor their journey to America is brutal, Maribel doesn [...]


    Elyse

    I met Christina in Austin, Texas, back on Oct at the Book Festival.had a chance to hear her speak about writing this book her passion for it Its since just won the large book award in San Jose this year Silicon Valley Reads picks 1 to 3 books each year as standout books which the city will be reading as a city Living in San Jose, Calif we ve been called the melting pot of America In Christina Henriquez s book The Book of Unknown American s.Latino immigrants come from Mexico, Venezuela, Puerto Ri [...]


    Ellie

    This is partly the story of two teenage lovers It is also a story about families what they do to and for each other And lastly this is the story of immigrants making their home in a new place, one where they re often rejected no matter how hard they try to fit in or how good they are as people.There were moments of lyrical beauty and times when the writing soared but for the most part the writing was easy to read but not exceptional.However, I felt that I drew close to the characters and came to [...]


    Becky

    This story focuses on 2 immigrant families, living in an apt building in Delaware from some of the reviews I have read it seems that people don t realize DE is full of farms, who works on these farms Mexicans, Panamanians, Guatemalans, etc Each chapter is told from a different person s point of view, some are mini glimpses of other people who live in the building but many of the chapters revolve around the Rivera the Toro families.To me, the story shows what people will do for a better life whet [...]


    Beth Knight

    4.5 stars The Book of Unknown Americans is a heart wrenching book that, although I can t say from personal experience, seems to perfectly describe the immigrant experience I feel like I really got to know the main characters, and I sympathized with all the hardships and heartbreaks they endured Every time I put the book down I found myself thinking of them and wondering what was going to happen to them By the end of the book I had tears streaming down my face I highly recommend it and look forwa [...]



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