- There are 301 pages (including prologue, epilogue and notes), I have finished the book including the prologue and epilogue.
- The main protagonist is Enrique, the main conflict Enrique faces is that his mother left for “el Norte” for better future but Enrique gets into trouble in Honduras and decides that to go on a journey to find his mother by using the freight trains. A possible outcome could be that Enrique could make it to “el Norte” and see his mother for once in 11 years, he could keep being deported from Mexico and eventually go back home, or he could end up dead by being sucked in by the trains thus ending his journey.
- The great thing about this book is that Enrique is willing to climb along freight trains, run from the authorities, survive on little to no food, and willing to cross the border in order to find his mother. “He makes himself one promise: “I’m going to reach the United States, even if it takes one year.” Only after a year of trying would he give up and go back.” Enrique tries 8 times before reaching the border and reuniting with his mother; the best part of the book is when Enrique “expects the worse, but in the states of Oaxaca and Veracruz, he discovers that people are friendly.” He receives gifts from the people such as food, clothes and more important, water. It shows how kind some people are in Oaxaca because “these people give you things. In Chiapas, they take things away.”
- I would recommend this book to others because it gives clear images of the amount of poverty, how people try to get on the trains and how sometimes the train “pulls” them in, the feelings of the people that make over the U.S border and how people (especially children) react to relatives and the new families they make; the book itself has many things that can make a reader want more, its hard to explain all the details but in general the book is a magnificent piece of work, it opened my eyes to what actually happens to immigrants during their journey towards a better future in the U.S.
- “Do not trust anyone in authority and beware even the ordinary residents,” this quote stands out to me the most because it tells people to not trust the authorities, residents and even each other, this is a common rule among immigrants because at any moment there could be a traitor among them and report them to la migra (immigration police). The quote relates to the almost the entire novel because throughout Enrique’s journey there are corrupt police that if bribed can leave the person alone, they could “shake down” the immigrant and take whatever money they had, or even commit the worst crimes and they wouldn’t get in trouble. Along the way most residents are either afraid, helpful, or resentful towards immigrants because of their actions towards the town and the townspeople.