After her first memoir, The Distance Between Us, was named a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Reyna Grande offers a followup describing her journey from the precarious life of an undocumented youth to the achievement of her dream of being celebrated author.
Her immensely engaging memoir is unflinchingly honest about the pain and fear that many immigrants (especially undocumented ones) experience when crossing the border, but it's never an argument about whether they should have crossed in the first place ... Grande looks back at her childhood with the emotional maturity of a writer who has worked hard to understand what happened ... She also writes frankly about her unhealthy romantic relationships. The book never stoops to clichés about looking for love in all the wrong places. Instead, Grande uses her love life as a trellis for investigating her own needs as a mother and a woman with professional goals. In this way, the book becomes more than a story about living as an immigrant—it's an eye-opening look at life in America as a woman. Such complexity is what makes A Dream Called Home so enjoyable. The news cycle tends to reduce immigration stories to political talking points, but Grande's keen insight and scrupulous prose remind us just how layered and inspiring those stories actually are.
Reyna Grande’s new memoir, A Dream Called Home, begins like many tales of immigration—with an escape ... the true virtue of A Dream Called Home is the author’s clear-sightedness. She calls abuse by its name, and her ability to see family patterns and the impact of the cycle of poverty has a maturity that makes her a narrator you want to believe in. She also has deep empathy as a character in her own story. Her older self is able to examine how her mother’s abuse at the hand of her grandmother led to her mother’s behavior later ... Still, this is a story with a happy ending. It serves as a testament to the true power of diverse books ... Thanks to Grande’s honesty, thoughtfulness, and gift for storytelling, it, too, can serve as a trail of breadcrumbs for young readers and writers seeking books that reflect their lives.
Grande's narrative gives readers an excellent first-person view of the struggles many immigrants face when they move to the U.S.—the difficulty of assimilating into a culture that does not readily embrace anyone who is not white. Grande's prose is poetic and expressive, and her story is timely and relevant ... An insightful memoir by a Mexican immigrant searching for a place to call home.