23 May 2011

Illegal; Bettina Restrepo

IllegalIllegal by Bettina Restrepo
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A rather slight book, and one that just describes the life of a young Mexican girl who illegally enters Texas in search of her father and a better life. There's no moral here, no message about the life these illegals lead or what drives them to come, just a story. That's not a negative but it was a surprise.

Nora's life in Mexico is difficult - the drought has led to the near failure of the grapefruit farm her family owns, her father left three years earlier to make money in the US to send home, and the town itself is dying. The decision for Nora and her mother to travel to the US, to Texas, isn't made easily, but the trip itself is somewhat glossed over (we read a little about the thirst, how Aurora nearly dies from heat and dehydration but that passes quickly). Once in America they find a few nice people who help them out: a woman at a restaurant gives them a free meal and points them to a place to live, and they rather easily find jobs.

Their life isn't easy, but it's clear that they're making some sort of life, helped in no small part by Nora's physical resemblance to Tessa, the niece of their employers. The people they meet are rather stereotypical, but again there doesn't seem to be a moral or point, just "here are the people in their lives." And, of course, it all ends on an upbeat note.

ARC provided by publisher.

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