This is NOT a review of the book. I haven’t read it, and I don’t plan on doing so. This post is to inform you why.
For the past few months, I have seen this book around everywhere. I even thought it had already been published because of the way people have gone on and on about it. At first glance, I wasn’t interested. Even, dare I say, I was uncomfortable. But the hype got to me and I added it to my TBR.
Then I saw something in one of the facebook groups I am a part of that completely validated my original feelings toward this fictional novel.
According to the book description, the story is about a mother and son that flee Mexico and head for the U.S. Yeah, okay. A book about immigration. That’s cool. The thing is, this white author received a seven figure advance for this story. Millions. For a poorly written book (according to a reviewer at the NYT).
Look, I’m glad that this book seems to be bringing the immigration issue into the spotlight. What peeves me is that she is making millions off a story that has been written before by #ownvoices authors. If you ever needed proof that we are marginalized, here it is. This book is the proof. We shouldn’t need a gringa to sell a book about immigration. Yet, here we are.
I am beyond upset. Surprised, no. Disillusioned, greatly so. It just reinforces my goal to only read books by people of color. Because this Latina está cansada. So fucking tired of all this bullshit. Tired of our voices being silenced.
So, read the book. Don’t read the book. You do you! And if you want to read an #ownvoice book about immigration I have 3 recommendations for you to consider:
Enrique’s Journey: The Story of a Boy’s Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite With His Mother by Sonia Nazario
The original newspaper series won 2 Pulitzer’s. The book details the journey of a young Hondureño named Enrique as he travels north to the U.S. It is a long and dangerous journey. A harrowing read but one I would recommend.
The Book of Rosy: A Mother’s Story of Separation at the Border by Rosayra Pablo Cruz and Julie Schwietert Collazo
The expected publication is June.1.2020 and for some odd reason not getting the hype it so deserves. Hm, wonder why… Anyway, from the description, the book will detail Rosayra’s trek from Guatemala to the States. And will also cover the forced separation from her young daughter endured at a U.S. border detention center.
We Are Displaced: My Journey and Stories From Refugee Girls Around the World by Malala Yousafzai
Analisa is one of the young girls featured in this book. She is Guatemalteca, and talks about how/why she fled her homeland for the U.S. All of the stories in the book are important and should be read.
Now, there you have it. 3 books by 3 distinguished authors. A Pulitzer Prize winner, an advocate for immigrants, and a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Highly doubt any of them received such a huge sum of money for their books. Who knows, I could be wrong. But to loosely quote Ta-Nehisi Coates: for Americans to elect a black president, he had to be highly educated and have political experience. All Trump needed was white bluster.
Let’s be real though. This book wasn’t written for me. It was written with the white gaze in mind. For the “color blind” readers. For the ones that only perpetuate the problem. Es obvio. She doesn’t care about the issue at hand. She’s exploiting it for her own personal gain.
To Flatiron books, the publisher of this novel, come caca. And thank you for showing the world what we the oppressed already knew.
Minority voices may not matter to you, but we will continue to scream at the top of our lungs until we are heard!
READ #OWNVOICE AUTHORS!!
I also encourage you to read this post as well. The writer does a waaaay better job of explaining why the latinx community is up in arms…