Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Need Something to Read for Thanksgiving?

If you're traveling for Thanksgiving, you're probably looking for something to read to while away the hours on the train or the bus. Luckily for you, Helen Thorpe, a journalist from Colorado and a long-time FCNL supporter, has just published a new book! "Just Like Us: The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America" is a fast-paced piece of narrative journalism that examines questions of identity, nationality, and gender in a world where equal opportunity is called into question.

Thorpe, the wife of Denver mayor John Hickenlooper, masterfully personalizes the immigration debate by documenting the lived experiences of four young Mexican women growing up in Denver, CO. One is a U.S. citizen, another a green card holder, and two are undocumented. The story opens on the eve of their prom and follows the girls through four challenging years. Each desires to pursue her ambitions but some are thwarted by their immigration status.

Then, a high-profile murder - of a police officer by an undocumented immigrant - rocks the Denver community. Thorpe, her husband, and the four young women must struggle to deal with the aftermath.

Publishers Weekly writes, "Thorpe chronicles the girls' lives over four years, delineating the small but arresting differences that will separate them and shape their futures." The Denver Post reports, "Thorpe — a naturalized citizen originally from London — raises huge questions while simultaneously offering an uncommon insider's look at the ramifications of citizenship for communities coping with the issue."

Click here to listen to a podcast of Helen Thorpe discussing the book.

If anything, you should read this book because it takes a close and compassionate look at what it really means to live day to day without citizenship, which so many take for granted. In a world in which people are increasingly willing to adopt an exclusionary definition of what it means to be American, this book will encourage you to reconsider your outlook on immigration.

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