In this astonishing true story, award-winning journalist Sonia Nazario recounts the unforgettable odyssey of a Honduran boy who braves unimaginable hardship and peril to reach his mother in the United States.
When Enrique is five years old, his mother, Lourdes, too poor to feed her children, leaves Honduras to work in the United States. The move allows her to send money back home to Enrique so he can eat better and go to school past the third grade.
Lourdes promises Enrique she will return quickly. But she struggles in America. Years pass. He begs for his mother to come back. Without her, he becomes lonely and troubled. When she calls, Lourdes tells him to be patient. Enrique despairs of ever seeing her again. After eleven years apart, he decides he will go find her.
Enrique sets off alone from Tegucigalpa, with little more than a slip of paper bearing his
mother's North Carolina telephone number. Without money, he will make the dangerous and illegal trek up the length of Mexico the only way he can
clinging to the sides and tops of freight trains.
With gritty determination and a deep longing to be by his mother's side, Enrique travels through hostile, unknown worlds. Each step of the way through Mexico, he and other migrants, many of them children, are hunted like animals. Gangsters control the tops of the trains. Bandits rob and kill migrants up and down the tracks. Corrupt cops all along the route are out to fleece and deport them. To evade Mexican police and immigration authorities, they must jump onto and off the moving boxcars they call El Tren de la Muerte- The Train of Death. Enrique pushes forward using his wit, courage, and hope - and the kindness of strangers. It is an epic journey, one thousands of immigrant children make each year to find their mothers in the United States.
Based on the Los Angeles Times newspaper series that won two Pulitzer Prizes, one for feature writing and another for feature photography,
Enrique's Journey is the timeless story of families torn apart, the yearning to be together again, and a boy who will risk his life to find the mother he loves.
Few would disagree that illegal immigration is a problem for the USA and for other Western countries, but it's all too easy to think of it as a statistical problem, not the human problem that it is. At the end of the day Enrique's Journey is not about illegal immigration or people stealing jobs from USA workers, it's about families, and the desperately hard choices that too many have to make. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
The Houston Chronicle - David D. Medina
The reporting is impressive, and the reporter makes every attempt to ensure it is accurate and honest. The writing, however, is not up to par with the reporting. For instance, when describing the commonplace problems of the poor, the prose falls flat and needs help.
The Dallas Morning News - Charles Ealy
Nazario doesn't pull any punches in Enrique's Journey, which is sure to startle any complacent reader. She also knows that stories such as Enrique's will continue for many years to come.
"One Honduran teenager I met in southern Mexico had been deported to Guatemala twenty-seven times," she writes. "He said he wouldn't give up until he reached his mother in the United States. I began to believe that no number of border guards will deter children like Enrique, who are willing to endure so much to reach the United States. It is a powerful stream, one that can only be addressed at its source."
The San Diego Union Tribune - Martin Zimmerman
Enrique is far from heroic; Nazario doesn't shrink from the glue-sniffing, the drugs, the anger and the criminality. His story expands in unexpected ways, as does Lourdes', particularly when he finally makes it across the border. Nazario uses his journey to profile the profound consequences – in three nations, among millions of people – when families and societies are ripped apart by economic currents.
The Washington Post - Luis Alberto Urrea
[I]t is safe to say that Enrique's Journey is among the best border books yet written. Based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning series in the Los Angeles Times, it is a stirring and troubling book about a magnificent journey undertaken by a lone boy in a terrible, terrible place. It's not about invading the United States or stealing social services or jobs from American workers. Enrique's Journey is about love. It's about family. It's about home.
Salon.com - Sarah Karnasiewicz
In Enrique's Journey Nazario has crafted a contemporary fairy tale,
complete with fire-breathing freighters, tattooed villains and absent mothers.
And it is those timeless human concerns -- of longing for home, of aching for
family, of connections craved -- that elevate her story out of the thorny
politics of migration legislation and immigration reform. To readers raised on
Disney flicks, perhaps that sounds like a dismissal, but it's meant as nothing
of the sort. Since the brothers Grimm, the most enduring fairy tales have been
formed from human suffering, striving and sacrifice. It matters little that in
Enrique's Journey the characters are Latino housekeepers and not Parisian
princesses. Nazario's storytelling is itself is a magical act, one that
illuminates the invisible -- like phantoms -- in front of our eyes.
Enrique's Journey is insightful and beautifully written and sheds a great deal of light on the horrific journeys immigrants risk to find a better life.
Starred Review. The breadth and depth of Nazario's research into this phenomenon is astounding, and she has crafted her findings into a story that is at once moving and polemical.
Starred Review. This portrait of poverty and family ties has the potential to reshape American conversations about immigration
This is a twenty-first-century Odyssey. Nazario’s powerful writing illuminates one of the darkest stories in our country. This is outstanding journalism. If you are going to read only one non-fiction
book this year, it has to be this one, because you know these young heroes. They live next door.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by JP Enrique's Journey My daughter was required to read this book for school, so I read it after she started asking me questions. It is clearly a sad story much less so when you know that illegals cost taxpayers over 100 billion a year. I wonder how much the open... Read More
Rated of 5
by "Wick" Distortions and Phony informaton. On Wednesday 26 January, 20011; I attended a lecture at a local college by Sonia Nazario.
Thinking I new what to expect I failed to read up on her and her writings and exploits.
For the entire lecture Ms. Nazario murdered the meaning of the... Read More
Rated of 5
by Tom Armbruster Enriques Journey Beware, "Enrique's Journey" is written in a journalistic style, not a literary one. What it does do, is to hammer and hammer -relentlessly- on day to day experiences of a seventeen year old poverty stricken boy, who feels he will find... Read More
Rated of 5
by ramoin hyaybhubhb Enriques journey This book is not great. As soon as I started reading it I got bored. It lost my interest. This book should had never been written or sold,
Rated of 5
by Sophia Bez The summary is more fascinating than the books itself The story is heartwarming. And I was hooked, BUT then the writer tried to do her own thing and failed. The book turned into a bland narration. And I lost my interest halfway through the first chapter.
Rated of 5
by Legal_Ink Not a Simple Solution Excellent, provocative reading! Enrique's Journey is a strong, and rightfully so, emotional appeal for all of us to share our humanity. Though Enrique's story surrounds his decision to come to the U.S., it really is about his slide into darkness,... Read More
About 700,000 immigrants enter the United States illegally each year.
In recent years the demographics have changed with many more
single mothers arriving.
Nearly three-quarters of the 48,000 children who migrate alone to
"el Norte" through Central America and Mexico each year are in search
of a single mother who has left them behind. According to the Department of
Homeland Security, the median age of child migrants is 15; the majority are
male; some are as young as 7 years.
In Los Angeles, 82% of live-in nannies and one in four housecleaners are mothers who
have at least one child in their home country.
According to the Center for Immigration Studies, illegal workers donate
$6.4 billion annually to Social Security, but, being illegal, they will
never be eligible to claim benefits.
Money sent home by Mexican immigrants working in the USA totals around $17
billion per annum.
Humanitarian workers define courage in the 21st century. This book gives voice to their stories, to their ability to survive
in the face of death, to their humanity to one another and to those they seek
Kenn Nesbitt is new Children's Poet Laureate(Jun 12 2013) Kenn Nesbitt has been named the new Children's Poet Laureate: Consultant in Children's Poetry to the Poetry Foundation, which noted that the two-year position...