From an award-winning novelist and sought-after public speaker, an eye-opening memoir about life before and after illegally immigrating from Mexico to the United States.
After publishing two acclaimed and award-winning novels about the Mexican immigrant experience and the families forced to navigate its twists and turns, celebrated author Reyna Grande reveals her own troubled and triumphant story as an illegal immigrant in the heartfelt memoir The Distance Between Us.
From an award-winning novelist and sought-after public speaker, an eye-opening memoir about life before and after illegally emigrating from Mexico to the United States.
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Born in Mexico and raised by her grandparents after her parents left to find work in the U.S., at nine years old, Reyna enters the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant to live with her father. Filled with hope, she quickly realizes that life in America is far from perfect. Her father isn't the man she dreamed about all those years in Mexico. His big dreams for his children are what gets them across the border, but his alcoholism and rage undermine all his hard work and good intentions. Reyna finds solace from a violent home in books and writing, inspired by the Latina voices she reads. 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.F.A. in Creative Writing.
My father’s mother, Abuela Evila, liked to scare us with stories of La Llorona, the weeping woman who roams the canal and steals children away. She would say that if we didn’t behave, La Llorona would take us far away where we would never see our parents again.
My other grandmother, Abuelita Chinta, would tell us not to be afraid of La Llorona, that if we prayed, God, La Virgen, and the saints would protect us from her.
Neither of my grandmothers told us that there is something more powerful than La Llorona—a power that takes away parents, not children.
It is called the United States.
In 1980, when I was four years old, I didn’t know yet where the United States was or why everyone in my hometown of Iguala, Guerrero, referred to it as El Otro Lado, the Other Side.
What I knew back then was that El Otro Lado had already taken my father away.
What I knew was that prayers didn’t work, because if they did, El Otro Lado wouldn’t be taking my mother away, too.