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Grande revisits the themes of her acclaimed novels (Across a Hundred Mountains, 2006; Dancing with Butterflies, 2009) to tell the story of her life in this touching and enormously personal memoir. Raised in a small Mexican village after her parents journeyed illegally to the U.S. in search of work, Grande and her siblings were alternately raised by their abusive paternal grandparents and their poverty-stricken maternal grandmother. Filled with stories of hunger and sorrow, Grande's recollections focus on the tension of the Mexican-American border through the eyes of those left behind, bringing a whole new definition to what it means to grow up in a broken home. The poignant yet triumphant tale she tells of her childhood and eventual illegal immigration puts a face on issues that stir vehement debate. Grande is affecting and sincere, but her use of dialogue in the chronicling of some of her very early memories can be disconcerting in terms of veracity. Still, the powerful emotions and important story will carry readers along.--Mondor, Colleen Copyright 2010 Booklist

Publishers Weekly
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Award-winning novelist (Across a Hundred Mountains) Grande captivates and inspires in her memoir. Raised in Mexico in brutal poverty during the 1980s, four-year-old Grande and her two siblings lived with their cruel grandmother after both parents departed for the U.S. in search of work. Grande deftly evokes the searing sense of heartache and confusion created by their parents' departure. Eight years later her father returned and reluctantly agreed to take his children to the States. Yet life on the other side of the border was not what Grande imagined: her father's new girlfriend's indifference to the three children becomes more than apparent. Though Grande's father continually stressed the importance of his children obtaining an education, his drinking resulted in violence, abuse, and family chaos. Surrounded by family turmoil, Grande discovered a love of writing and found solace in library books, and she eventually graduated from high school and went on to become the first person in her family to graduate from college. Tracing the complex and tattered relationships binding the family together, especially the bond she shared with her older sister, the author intimately probes her family's history for clues to its disintegration. Recounting her story without self-pity, she gracefully chronicles the painful results of a family shattered by repeated separations and traumas (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.