What motivates people to risk their very lives, and why don't Mexicans just "play by the rules" and enter legally? How do they cope, living in a strange country among people that speak a language they can't understand? And after everything they have gone through, do they see immigration as a blessing, a curse, or something in between?
There's No Jose Here allows Mexicans in the U.S. to speak in their own words. The central narrative follows Enrique, a 34-year-old livery cab driver who came to the US illegally at the age of 16 and has since seen his daughter lead poisoned, his mother abandoned in Mexico by his father, his cousin murdered on the streets of Brooklyn, and his best friend deployed to Iraq.
This book gives readers a look into these stories as people struggle to survive in a new and often hostile land.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 46.
- Review Date: 2006-11-13
- Reviewer: Staff
The pro-immigration rallies throughout the United States in March 2006 brought attention to a rarely heard voice in the debate: the immigrant. Journalist and former community organizer Thompson puts several of these unheard voices on record, writing an intimate and emotional portrait of a Mexican family he befriended in Brooklyn. The book follows the lives of Enrique, a 34-year-old livery cab driver, and his family, whom Thompson meets while working as a housing rights organizer. Thompson's authentic friendship with Enrique is evident, giving the book a more personal tone than most immigration writing by outsiders. In fact, the book is as much about Thompson's desire for understanding as it is about Enrique's struggles with his daughter's lead poisoning, his best friend's deployment to Iraq, his cousin's murder in Brooklyn and family drama in Mexico. Their engaging and affectionate story begins in the housing courts of New York City and ends in Mexico, where Enrique, now a legal U.S. citizen, confronts his conflicted feelings about his native land. While Thompson successfully engages the reader in a single immigrant's experience and psychology, he doesn't draw any larger societal conclusions. (Jan.)