Book Review: The Line Becomes a River

Book Review: The Line Becomes a RiverThe Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border
by Francisco Cantú
on February 5, 2019
Pages: 288
Published by Riverhead Books
Genres: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Goodreads

For Francisco Cantú, the border is in the blood: his mother, a park ranger and daughter of a Mexican immigrant, raised him in the scrublands of the Southwest. Haunted by the landscape of his youth, Cantú joins the Border Patrol. He and his partners are posted to remote regions crisscrossed by drug routes and smuggling corridors, where they learn to track other humans under blistering sun and through frigid nights. They haul in the dead and deliver to detention those they find alive.

Cantú tries not to think where the stories go from there. Plagued by nightmares, he abandons the Patrol for civilian life. But when an immigrant friend travels to Mexico to visit his dying mother and does not return, Cantú discovers that the border has migrated with him, and now he must know the whole story. Searing and unforgettable, The Line Becomes a River makes urgent and personal the violence our border wreaks on both sides of the line.

My Takeaway“There are days when I feel I am becoming good at what I do. And then I wonder, what does it mean to be good at this?” Francisco Cantú, The Line Becomes a River I came across this book some time ago but refused to read it because…

Book Review: All You Can Ever Know

Book Review: All You Can Ever KnowAll You Can Ever Know: A Memoir
by Nicole Chung
on October 2, 2018
Pages: 240
Published by Catapult
Genres: Diverse Spines, Memoir
Goodreads

What does it mean to lose your roots—within your culture, within your family—and what happens when you find them?

Nicole Chung was born severely premature, placed for adoption by her Korean parents, and raised by a white family in a sheltered Oregon town. From early childhood, she heard the story of her adoption as a comforting, prepackaged myth. She believed that her biological parents had made the ultimate sacrifice in the hopes of giving her a better life; that forever feeling slightly out of place was simply her fate as a transracial adoptee. But as she grew up—facing prejudice her adoptive family couldn’t see, finding her identity as an Asian American and a writer, becoming ever more curious about where she came from—she wondered if the story she’d been told was the whole truth.

With warmth, candor, and startling insight, Chung tells of her search for the people who gave her up, which coincided with the birth of her own child. All You Can Ever Know is a profound, moving chronicle of surprising connections and the repercussions of unearthing painful family secrets—vital reading for anyone who has ever struggled to figure out where they belong.

My Takeaway“Family lore given to us as children has such hold over us, such staying power.”Nicole Chung, All You Can Ever Know All You Can Ever Know resonated with me on several levels. Chung’s story and writing captivated me from the get-go. Although…

Book Review: Black Klansman

Book Review: Black KlansmanBlack Klansman: Race, Hate, and the Undercover Investigation of a Lifetime
by Ron Stallworth
on June 5, 2018
Pages: 208
Published by Flatiron Books
Genres: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Goodreads

In 1978 the community of Colorado Springs, Colorado experienced a growth of Ku Klux Klan (KKK) membership. One man dared to challenge their effort and thwart attempts to take over the city, Police Detective Ron Stallworth. He launched an undercover investigation into the Klan, gained membership into the organization, briefly served as Duke's bodyguard, and was eventually asked to be the leader of the Colorado Springs chapter. The irony of this investigation was that Stallworth is… A Black man. In the process he battled internal departmental politics to successfully pull off this "sting." Black Klansman explains how he overcame these obstacles and accomplished this almost unbelievable unique achievement.

My Takeaway Although I appreciated the overall story Ron Stallworth contributed, I did not necessarily love the writing style and flow of Black Klansman. I felt the memoir could have been shorter and less repetitive (perhaps a more beneficial book for younger readers). Regardless, Stallworth’s infiltration into the…

Book Review: Hunger

Book Review: HungerHunger: A Memoir of (My) Body
by Roxane Gay
on July 6, 2017
Pages: 280
Published by Corsair
Genres: Diverse Spines, Memoir, Non-Fiction
Goodreads

From the bestselling author of Bad Feminist: a searingly honest memoir of food, weight, self-image, and learning how to feed your hunger while taking care of yourself

I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe. I buried the girl I was because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere. . . . I was trapped in my body, one that I barely recognized or understood, but at least I was safe.

In her phenomenally popular essays and long-running Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she explores her own past—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers along on her journey to understand and ultimately save herself.

With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and power that have made her one of the most admired writers of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to learn to take care of yourself: how to feed your hungers for delicious and satisfying food, a smaller and safer body, and a body that can love and be loved—in a time when the bigger you are, the smaller your world becomes.

My Takeaway “This is a memoir of (my) body because, more often than not, stories of bodies like mine are ignored or dismissed or derided. People see bodies like mine and make their assumptions. They think they know the why of my body. They do not.” Roxane Gay…

Book Review: Celia: Mi Vida

Book Review: Celia: Mi VidaCelia: Mi Vida
by Celia Cruz, Ana Cristina Reymundo
on July 5th 2005
Pages: 304
Published by Rayo
Genres: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Goodreads

Cuando murió Celia Cruz, el 17 de julio del 2003, más de medio millón de personas --en Miami y en Nueva York-- esperaron en fila durante horas para presentarle sus últimos respetos. Varios millones más, le rindieron homenaje en pequeñas celebraciones conmemorativas, organizadas en sus propias casas y en festivales callejeros a través del mundo entero.

De su modesta infancia en Cuba, a sus años de exilio en México y su impresionante carrera en Estados Unidos, de sus extravagantes vestidos a su personalidad sencilla y reservada, Celia fue sin duda alguna, una mujer de contrastes. Era sincera, espontánea y accesible para sus fans, pero siempre muy privada. Era desinhibida sin ser decadente, honesta sin ser ofensiva, confiada sin ser arrogante y generosa a más no poder. Sin embargo, antes que nada, Celia era una mujer auténtica. Y es esa autenticidad que la caracterizaba, la que hizo que su público llegara a quererla tanto.

Basado en más de 500 horas de entrevistas grabadas tan sólo unos meses antes de su muerte, Celia incluye fotografías y anécdotas inéditas sobre la vida de Celia Cruz, revelándole a sus millones de admiradores, una vida que había permanecido muy privada a pesar de haberse vivido sobre el escenario.

Celia es la celebración de la vida de una mujer dotada de un talento extraordinario. Es la historia de una mujer apasionada, trabajadora que tenía una fe indestructible en Dios y en toda la humanidad. En estas, sus últimas palabras, le rinde homenaje al público que tanto la adoraba.

No te aflijas, chico, ¡vive tu vida con sabor! Celia Cruz Desde niña he escuchado la música de la reina de la Salsa, Celia Cruz. Celia nació y se crio en Cuba, pero en realidad ella pertenecía a todos los latinos y el mundo. La Guarachera del…