This book, revised and updated by the author and subtitled “The story of a boy’s dangerous odyssey to reunite with his mother,” is an incredible eye-opener. Nazario, a Pulitzer Prize winner for the series that inspired this book, does an impressive job of just telling the story. She also tells us how she can tell it, and how and why she became a part of her own story.
The use of the word ‘odyssey’ is intriguing. This is definitely a journey story. Enrique is not returning home, per se, but to a kind of home, namely his mother, who, like a just astonishing number of mothers (an increasing number of whom who are being abandoned by their husbands), leaves her child behind in order to go to the United States.
Nazario does not shy away from the flaws of Enrique and those who surround him, but it’s clear her seemingly dispassionate presentation is meant for us to see the absolute, unmitigated wrongness of this situation. Her commentary, when it finally comes, seems tacked on. I wondered what it would it have done to the book if the background information was interspersed at appropriate intervals throughout the book. But perhaps that would have interrupted the momentum (and suspense) of the story. After all, once Homer sets his story in motion, he gets out of the way.
This book will change you.