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A Memoir tells the story of illegal immigration. But it also tells many other stories and shows how they are all connected. It tells the story of poverty that forces children out of school and into the fields. It tells the story of mothers who abandon their children and fathers who drink their worry away until they become violent. It tells the story, too, of children who rise above their poverty and abandonment and abuse to live out their dreams and contribute to the literary world.

Reyna Grande is four-years-old when her mother leaves her poverty-stricken town in Mexico to work in The United States. Her father is already there, and alone without parents, Reyna and her brother and sister live with their strict and sometimes cruel paternal grandparents. The narrator describes living in cardboard homes that flood in the monsoons and have scorpions crawling on the walls.

More painful than her poverty, though, is her longing for her parents. She writes in simple, child-like language: The poverty is unyielding, and the Grande siblings crave love and affection that their grandparents refuse to give. Then their father comes back from California and sweeps them away to live with him in The United States, and they believe that their troubles are at last over. Of course they are not. After an explosive altercation, Reyna breaks away, going on to become the first person in her family to obtain a higher education, earning a college degree and then an M.

At a time when immigration politics are at a boiling point in America, Reyna Grande is an important public voice for Mexican Americans and immigrants of every origin. The Distance Between Us has the power to change minds and hearts. She also gives credit to the teachers, especially Diana Savas, who recognized her gift and encouraged her to pursue her dreams.

Ultimately this is an inspiring story of courage and perseverance. I was in tears at the end of this poignant and honest memoir. Feb 17, Christine rated it it was ok Shelves: This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. While the author conveyed the pain and difficulty of a broken family separated by a border, this is the story of immigration. The selfishness of her parents was pretty amazing, and the disappointment that life in America was not all it was hyped up to be is a reality faced by generations of people immigrating here.

We got it, thanks. Finally, what was the resolution??

The Distance Between Us

I was looking for resolution with some issues such as: Does she send money and support her family in Mexico? Has she helped any of them legally immigrate to America? I read she teaches ESL and other outreach programs, but what does she do for her family still in Mexico? Mar 03, Caren rated it really liked it Shelves: When I thought of illegal immigrants, I hadn't really considered what they had left behind. This book highlights those children left back home for years at a time as their parents journey, at great risk, to "El Otro Lado" to try to better life for themselves and their children.

A young child, though, can't really understand why his parents have abandoned him. This is a heart-breaking book, not only in its piercing portrayal of how it feels to be that child left back home, but also in its depicti When I thought of illegal immigrants, I hadn't really considered what they had left behind. This is a heart-breaking book, not only in its piercing portrayal of how it feels to be that child left back home, but also in its depiction of the stark poverty that drove the parents to such a decision.

The author and her siblings are left with their stern paternal grandmother first, and then later with their sweet, but crushingly poor, maternal grandmother. They are reduced to bathing in a dirty canal and to living in a hut with dirt floors, lice, and no running water. The desperation of their mother, who has followed their father to the USA, only to return with their littlest sister when their father leaves her for another woman, is palpable.

These are people with no prospects, living at the edge of endurance. Finally, the author's father returns for his children, but the author faces a difficult life with her abusive father and her stepmother in a one-bedroom apartment where the three siblings share the living room as their bedroom in Los Angeles. This is an eye-opening book. I have great admiration for the author, who overcame so much to succeed. She has written a stirring, thought-provoking memoir. Beautifully written memoir from Reyna Grande. I had never read anything by a Mexican author and I am glad our book club chose this fantastic book.

It's a very easy read and very interesting.

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Once I started I couldn't put it down. The author took me with her in this story of the hardships and heartbreaks of the little girl Reyna and her siblings so they would have their own home and a good life.

The Distance Between Us audiobook By Kasie West

I don't have the right word to describe this book but it's a beautiful read. It makes you believe that Beautifully written memoir from Reyna Grande. It makes you believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Dec 08, Sarah rated it really liked it. Super inspiring and sobering. Having lived in Mexico for several years I felt a fair amount of guilt for my obliviousness. She poses a great question that I'm not even sure I could answer for myself. I should note I read an edition designed for young readers.

Not sure how they differ. Just came across it in my library browsing. I thought I had lived a portion of my childhood in poverty, but when I read this wonderfully written memoir, I saw that poverty in the US cannot be compared to poverty in Mexico! This true story reflects Reyna Grande's struggle with abandonment, "for the greater good," dysfunctional parents, and her deep love for both of her homes, the first in Mexico, and then her new home in the United States where, thanks to the Reagan amnesty program, she embraced citizenship and opportunity. This child, the I thought I had lived a portion of my childhood in poverty, but when I read this wonderfully written memoir, I saw that poverty in the US cannot be compared to poverty in Mexico!

This child, then woman, writes with love for some who would be unlovable for most of us and with a positive view of what would seem ugly and unbearable to most.

The Distance Between Us : NPR

I love her though I'll probably never have the privilege to meet her. Reyna punctuates portions of her English with it, and mostly explains each Spanish word as she goes. I loved this book and would recommend it to fiction and non-fiction lovers alike. Oct 04, Kary Berrybooks rated it really liked it. Sin duda es un libro que se siente muy mexicano y que refleja muchos aspectos de la vida de los inmigrantes que no entendemos.

The Distance Between Us, is a memoir of a truly hard-knock childhood, and of a very sad, albeit probably all too common, family dynamic. Highly recommended, especially to younger readers. Kindle Edition, pages. Mar 05, Elizabeth Preslar rated it really liked it Shelves: From malnourished and lice-infested in Mexico to "illegal" ESL kids and American teens dealing with domestic abuse and alcoholism, Reyna, her brother and sister are constantly looking out for one another.

There is triumph and there is heartbreak. I loved the view readers are given of the sibli 4. I loved the view readers are given of the sibling relationships. Reyna also has a bond with a teacher in her life which proves to ultimately determine her future. A good read and an important story. It will make you think a little harder about the lines we are so quick to draw in the sand. Sep 03, Iraina Valencia rated it it was amazing Shelves: I truly enjoyed this book, it not only resonated with the work I do, but I felt at many times a personal connection to her story. It did not feel like a memoir but a story of triumph and strength in overcoming so many barriers.

Definitivamente es un libro que todo el mundo debe leer. Aug 28, Trisha rated it really liked it. I wonder whether the people I know who complain the loudest about illegal immigration would change their views after reading this memoir about the human side of what it involves. And I wonder whether the people who make such disparaging and often hateful remarks about illegal immigrants would feel the same after reading about the desperate courage that motivates people to face the dangers involved in crossing the border to escape the poverty of their lives and seek a decent life for their childr I wonder whether the people I know who complain the loudest about illegal immigration would change their views after reading this memoir about the human side of what it involves.

And I wonder whether the people who make such disparaging and often hateful remarks about illegal immigrants would feel the same after reading about the desperate courage that motivates people to face the dangers involved in crossing the border to escape the poverty of their lives and seek a decent life for their children. Despite being abandoned by her mother again and again, and enduring an abusive relationship with an alcoholic father, she could never bring herself to give up entirely on either of them. Feb 26, Maritza Ramirez rated it really liked it. This memoir describes the daily struggles of those whose families have been broken apart.

Reyna Grande starts her book off from the beginning of her young life. When she starts, she writes about when she was 2 and her father has recently migrated to the USA. She continues to write the book in order of events until the end of her struggles. This book demonstrates the struggles that many people face everyday; from abandonment to separation.

Many different ethnics groups go through different situations to have a better life for their families. Grande perfectly writes the book to help understand what it feels like to get abandoned by both parents and to also understand what it is like to never have parents by your sides. Nobody really knows what these families go through and what they leave behind in their home countries. I recommend this book to anyone who really enjoys reading and is interested in finding out the struggles families face everyday. Had I not been assigned this novel for one of my university classes, I wouldn't have thought to pick this up.

However, I'm glad to have read this novel, as it provided me insight into a life completely different from my own.


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This novel is an autobiography, telling of the author's life as a child brought into the U. She tells of the struggles she experienced living in a broken, complicated family and pursuing her dreams of educati Had I not been assigned this novel for one of my university classes, I wouldn't have thought to pick this up.

She tells of the struggles she experienced living in a broken, complicated family and pursuing her dreams of education and a career despite her hardships. In this country, illegal immigrants, or even immigrants in general, are often vilified and discredited. This novel dispels the common stereotypes that immigrants are maligned with, and educates the reader about the motives behind immigration, and the lives and hardships of immigrants.

This novel exemplifies the importance of the DREAM Act, and how immigrants are worthy of fundamental rights and respect, and shouldn't be looked down upon because of their circumstances. I would recommend this book to anyone who believes otherwise. I would also recommend this book to people who aren't familiar with the experience of immigrants, and would like to learn more. Sep 27, Deb Readerbuzz Nance rated it it was amazing Shelves: Grande tells the story of her childhood in Mexico, as her father illegally enters the US for work; as her mother follows him after years in which he does not return; as Grande's grandmother reluctantly raises Grande and her siblings; as her mother learns her father has a girlfriend in the US and bitterly returns to Mexico; as Grande's mother leaves with a new boyfriend and again abandons the children; as Grande's other, poorer grandmoth The Distance Between Us is a memoir by writer Reyna Grande.

Grande tells the story of her childhood in Mexico, as her father illegally enters the US for work; as her mother follows him after years in which he does not return; as Grande's grandmother reluctantly raises Grande and her siblings; as her mother learns her father has a girlfriend in the US and bitterly returns to Mexico; as Grande's mother leaves with a new boyfriend and again abandons the children; as Grande's other, poorer grandmother takes in the children; as her father returns for Grande's siblings and reluctantly agrees to take Grande as well; and as Grande and her siblings adjust to life in the US.

The Distance Between Us is one of the most powerful stories I've read this year. I'm still thinking about Grande's poverty in Mexico, about her father's abandonment of the family, and about the difference between Grande's eager embrace of the opportunities available in America and the faltering of her siblings. It's a beautiful, heart-crushing story of gain and loss. At what cost do we leave our home and family? Sep 04, Stacey rated it liked it.

This is an enlightening memoir about the living conditions in parts of Mexico and the impetus those conditions contribute to Mexicans making the very dangerous, illegal journey across the border into America for the chance of a better life.


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