1. The overall message of the story is immigration, the author (Sonia Nazario) wanted to “get inside the action, watch it unfold, take people inside worlds they might never otherwise see,” she “wanted to smell, taste, hear, and feel what this journey is like” (p. xiv).
This means that the author herself went atop the freight trains, faced checkpoints, and hitchhiked the same way immigrants do; the author wants us to learn how people have the confidence to travel long distances to find a better life in “el norte” and have an economic opportunity so that they can help their family in their home country. People often face the dangers of being deported so they take desperate measures to make sure that they stay in the United States, people have “estimated that 1.7 million children live illegally in the United States, most from Mexico and Central America” (p. 241).
Nazario made us learn this by showing real life examples, people who traveled along the trains and the people who eventually make it into “el norte,” and a “letter that asked any Mexican authorities and police I encountered to cooperate with my reporting, plus the letter helped keep me out of jail three times” (p. xvii).
2. The reason that you should read this book is that it gives an inside look into immigration, how people travel along Mexico towards “el norte” and the struggle that many immigrants face when they go north. The best thing about the book is that it actually comes from someone’s perspective, Nazario actually interviewed Enrique and his family members to produce this marvelous book. Nazario did an excellent job getting “every possible detail about Enrique’s life and his trip north.” She “noted every place he had gone, every experience, every person he recalled who had helped or hindered him along the way” (p. xix).
Aside from that, the book has an enormous amount of details about Enrique’s life and about his family members, the story itself was just amazing due to the amount of events that happened to Enrique and the amount of things he had to do in order to make it into “el norte” and avoid “la migra.” The best part in the book is that “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” (p. 43).
However, there is one downside to the story, the amount of inappropriate scenes which is not a lot, though the story is mature enough to be read, just be careful when reading these scenes. “The reporting of this book spanned five years” (p. 269). Nazario “spent a total of six months, in 2000 and in 2003, in Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, and North Carolina” (p. 269). But overall the book is amazing, I recommend that others read it due to the nature of the book and how its designed to look like a fiction book but in reality its a non-fiction book. Even though I just realized that I read a non-fiction book I recommend giving it a try.