In Anderson’s debut memoir, two Argentinian sisters embark on an overland journey to the United States that will change both their lives.
The author and her sister, Marta, were the daughters of a Peronista who found it impossible to work and adequately support his family after Juan Peron’s fall from power. In the summer of 1968, the 20-something sisters decided to leave their dysfunctional family behind under the guise of a trip north, from which they didn’t intend to return. With $250 in traveler’s checks, train tickets to the Argentine city of Salta and a list of potential contacts throughout South America, the girls luckily found hosts and helpers to facilitate their journey northward, and avoided political disturbances that could have stopped them in their tracks. To the author, whose life had been marked by deep distrust, the kindness of strangers was more of an eye-opener than the journey itself. After the two women wound up in Denver, they began their American lives as nannies—the traditional lot of so many Latina immigrants. Later, the author, despite being a high school dropout, found work in the nascent computer industry and ultimately graduated from the University of Colorado. Their parents eventually followed them, and typically, their father shipped them the family dog, unannounced, as the only warning that they were on their way. Their parents both found work that helped them emerge from the frustration and depression that made their lives in Buenos Aires so unpleasant. The memoir skillfully and organically provides flashbacks of the sisters’ lives in Argentina that illuminate their family relationships and put their experiences in the broader context of Latin American politics and history, contrasting them with those of other hopeful emigres they meet. In an era dominated by anti-immigration rhetoric, this memoir serves as a salutary reminder of the reasons that people take the drastic step of immigration, and the innate goodness of those who help them along the way.
A hopeful memoir that offers timely insights into why people choose to leave their native lands for new lives in America.