My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Unrelenting and fearless, Karla Cornejo Villavicencio weaves intimate personal reflection and a participatory journalistic style all her own into a dynamic, nuanced portrait of life as an Undocumented American. Imperfect and raw in exactly the ways I imagine the author wants it to be, The Undocumented Americans keeps the reader off balance, compelling empathy, incredulity and unbridled, righteous rage – often within the space of a few phrases.
Going far afield beyond the popular, palatable “DREAMer” narrative (the “model minority” of our present day), this book carries a microphone directly to the most invisible, the most voiceless. The Undocumented Americans offers unflinching portrayals of the dehumanizing injustices heaped upon immigrant bodies. Prepare to confront and lament the lie and the cost of the so-called ‘American Dream’ with all its promises, privilege and creature comforts. Don’t come for smiling faces framed in triumphant caps and gowns. Expect instead: swollen feet, bowed backs, wrinkled cheeks, gnarled hands, and brains, so stress-scarred their neural pathways most resemble “trees without branches.”