The debut memoir of a son of working-class Mexican immigrants who fled a life of labor in fruit-packing plants to run in a Native American marathon from Canada to Guatemala, challenging himself to re-imagine North America and his place in it.
... eloquently written ... This is a powerful American coming-of-age story about a Mexican American who seeks to embrace his heritage while forging his own path forward. Certain to make a lasting impression on readers across generations and backgrounds, all of whom will be inspired by the young Álvarez.
Álvarez writes movingly of his mother's endless shifts at the apple-packing plant and his father's backbreaking labor in fruit picking and construction ... Álvarez witnesses moments of transcendence--ceremonial prayers, outpourings of grief, bursts of joy--but his narrative sometimes gets bogged down in the dramas of irritable runners and leaders engaged in power struggles. The drama is at least engaging: his fellow runners, including a Canadian indigenous woman named Zyanya Lonewolf, emerge as distinct personalities ... a complex, thought-provoking journey shot through with flashes of glory and hope.
... lyrical if uneven ... The story of the striving, first-generation kid made good is a familiar one; Álvarez makes his ache ... Sometimes Álvarez’s language seems vague and overly laden with the weight of his mission ... At other times, it’s not clear how this epic run, with its attendant difficulties, relates to Álvarez’s desire to help his family.