An emotionally intense narrative of a Guatemalan woman’s desperate search for a better life.

The true story of a Guatemalan woman’s journey to the U.S. and what happened to her and two of her children when she crossed the border.

As is the case for most immigrants, Pablo Cruz’s decision to leave Guatemala and travel more than 2,000 miles to the U.S. was difficult. Yet her husband had been murdered, she’d been shot, and there were threats being made on her oldest son’s life. Consequently, what choice did she have but to flee even though it meant leaving her two daughters and her clothing store behind? Suffering significant deprivations during their treacherous journey, they arrived exhausted and dehydrated at the U.S. border. Because of the American government’s new zero-tolerance policy, the author was immediately separated from her children and locked up in Eloy Detention Center, where she endured “inadequate and often spoiled food…thin mattresses and tightly rationed toiletries…water that seem[ed] to be laden with chemicals,” as well as “the unfathomable cruelty of some of the guards.” For more than 80 days, Pablo Cruz lived in fear, with her strong faith helping her through some of the darker moments. Help arrived via the Immigrant Families Together program, a highly effective group of angry mothers coordinated by Collazo, which helped secure Pablo Cruz’s release and aided her reunion with her sons. In this gripping narrative, the authors tell their respective sides of this intertwined story. Pablo Cruz details the emotional and physical distress she suffered before leaving her native country and throughout the ensuing months, when she constantly questioned her decision to flee to America. Collazo clearly describes the incredible outpouring of support she discovered for these asylum seekers. The tale is haunting and eloquent, giving voice to a sector of society that requires serious aid rather than the discrimination and racial prejudice they too often face.

An emotionally intense narrative of a Guatemalan woman’s desperate search for a better life.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-294192-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: HarperOne

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020


The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006



Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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