The Book of Unknown Americans
By Cristina Henriquez
Knopf, 2014. 304 pgs. Fiction.
The book starts off with the Rivera family that has immigrated from Mexico when their fifteen year old daughter is in an accident. They hope by enrolling her in a special school she can heal some. She meets Mayor who falls in love with her, and then the families become friends. Then there are all the neighbors that develop relationships with each other and count on each other. The story is actually so simple in its design, as it represents just a part of every day lives for this group of people. However, the way they interact and help and care made it much more than that.
I thought this book was beautifully written and the characters, as the heart of the story, were all wonderful. There are multiple stories happening here and all of them tie in to living in the same apartment building. More importantly, they are all immigrants from Central and South America and have a rich, sometimes complex, history to share. They have all come to America for something they hope is better and something they want to accomplish. There was such strength in their passion for their families, their hopes, and the things they wanted. I really enjoyed the stories whether they were in the past or present.