The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I am really struggling with rating this novel. It falls somewhere between a 3 and a 4 for me. There were some aspects of this novel that I think were fantastic but others just didn't resonate with me.
The exploration of the immigrant experience was very interesting to me and I think Henriquez did a good job of offering a myriad of experiences in order to give the reader a fairly comprehensive idea of what immigrating to America looks and feels like. This novel definitely gives the reader an opportunity to an opportunity to better understand the difficulties facing immigrants ... putting a 'human' face to the issue of immigration.
Much of the story centers around a teen romance which is one of the things that felt off for me. The romance itself was fine but I feel like it ended up taking away some of the impact of the overall story of immigration rather than support it effectively. It just didn't feel like it helped bring the overall story together in a way I would have liked. Henriquez seemed to focus the novel around the romance but I can't help but wonder if it would have been better to have focused the novel around the immigrant families in another way?
Either way, I am really happy to have read this and definitely recommend it if you are interested in better understanding immigration in America. It's a fairly quick read and doesn't require a huge commitment from the reader.