PositiveThe Minneapolis Star TribuneIn an often raw and timely confessional, the former Fulbright fellow and Pushcart Prize winner paints a striking picture of the unsparing borderlands ... Cantú's writing is engaging and straightforward. At times, it is achingly lyrical ... Cantú's portrait of Mexico as the backdrop for border crossings comes to feel too unrelentingly bleak — all mutilated bodies, crushing poverty and crumbling towns. Some readers might lose patience with the author's conflicted feelings about a job he stuck with for years. But if they are interested in life on a border that has recently occupied an outsize role in policy debates, they will learn a lot.
RaveThe Minneapolis Star TribuneCooper offers a nuanced, intimate portrait of her flawed protagonist, inflected with the rhythms of West African speech and firmly rooted in Liberia’s brutal recent history. At the same time, out of Johnson Sirleaf’s unlikely rise, out of the moxie of Liberia’s 'market women' and the resilience of its civil war’s rape survivors, Cooper weaves a triumphant feminist manifesto. To the heightened drama of her protagonist’s story, Cooper wisely brings a subtle writerly touch ... The book doubles as an unflinching primer on Liberia’s history, from its founding by freed American slaves, to horrific civil war, to a faltering march toward democracy. To the image of an international icon, Cooper adds depth and complexity.