Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Enrique's Journey: The Story of a Boy's Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His Mother by Sonia Nazario
Sonia Nazario of the Los Angeles Times won a Pulitzer Prize for feature writing for stories about the dangers faced by Central Americans seeking illegal entry into the United States. In Enrique's Journey, she expands her articles, focusing on one youth whose wish is to find his mother Lourdes, who is working in North Carolina.
Enrique's travels may sound incredible to comfortable Americans, something to compare with Homer's Odyssey or Frodo's quest in The Lord of the Rings. Enrique is surrounded by enemies through his trip and is often attacked by bandits, gangs, and corrupt Mexican police. He is also befriended by priests and poor Mexicans who heal his injuries and give what they can to keep him going. According to Nazario, Enrique is one of many children with mothers working in the United States to send money back to Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Many boys and girls cling to the tops of train cars bound north to the United States every day. The United States Border Patrol often captures children as young as seven years old traveling alone. Many others never make it so far.
In his eighth try, Enrique makes it to Nuevo Laredo and crosses the Rio Grande. Nazario chronicles his reunion with his mother and the disappointments that follow. The author ends the book with a chapter on U. S. immigration policy and notes on her research, which did include riding on top of Mexican train cars.
Church and public library book groups will be discussing this book.
Nazario, Sonia. Enrique's Journey: The Story of a Boy's Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His Mother. New York: Random House, 2006. ISBN 1400062055