The Distance Between Us
By Reyna Grande
(Washington Square Press, Paperback, 9781451661781, 352pp.)
Publication Date: March 12, 2013
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Reyna Grande vividly brings to life her tumultuous early years in this “compelling . . . unvarnished, resonant” (BookPage) story of a childhood spent torn between two parents and two countries. As her parents make the dangerous trek across the Mexican border to “El Otro Lado” (The Other Side) in pursuit of the American dream, Reyna and her siblings are forced into the already overburdened household of their stern grandmother. When their mother at last returns, Reyna prepares for her own journey to “El Otro Lado” to live with the man who has haunted her imagination for years, her long-absent father.
Funny, heartbreaking, and lyrical, The Distance Between Us poignantly captures the confusion and contradictions of childhood, reminding us that the joys and sorrows we experience are imprinted on the heart forever, calling out to us of those places we first called home.
Reyna Grande is the author of two award-winning novels. Across a Hundred Mountains received an American Book Award, and Dancing with Butterflies was the recipient of an International Latino Book Award. She lives in Los Angeles.
‚eoeIn this poignant memoir about her childhood in Mexico, Reyna Grande skillfully depicts another side of the immigrant experience‚e"the hardships and heartbreaks of the children who are left behind. Through her brutally honest firsthand account of growing up in Mexico without her parents, Grande sheds light on the often overlooked consequence of immigration‚e"the disintegration of a family.‚e
†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††‚e"Sonia Nazario, Pulitzer Prize winner, and author of Enrique's Journey
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‚e(TM) 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‚e(TM)s new girlfriend‚e(TM)s indifference to the three children becomes more than apparent. Though Grande‚e(TM)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‚e(TM)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.)
‚eoeA brutally honest book‚e¶akin to being the ‚eoeAngela‚e(TM)s Ashes‚e of the modern Mexican immigrant experience.‚e
‚eoeReyna Grande is a fierce, smart, shimmering light of a writer with an important story to tell.‚e
‚eoeI‚e(TM)ve been waiting for this book for decades. The American story of the new millennium is the story of the Latino immigrant, yet how often has the story been told by the immigrant herself? What makes Grande‚e(TM)s beautiful memoir all the more extraordinary is that, through this hero‚e(TM)s journey, she speaks for millions of immigrants whose voices have gone unheard.‚e
-Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street
‚eoeThe sadness at the heart of Grande‚e(TM)s story is unrelenting; this is the opposite of a light summer read. But that‚e(TM)s OK, because . . . this book should have a long shelf life.‚e
‚eoeA timely and a vivid example of how poverty and immigration can destroy a family.‚e
‚eoeGrande consistently displays a fierce willingness to ask tough questions, accept startling answers, and candidly render emotional and physical violence.‚e
‚eoeThe poignant yet triumphant tale Grande tells of her childhood and eventual illegal immigration puts a face on issues that stir vehement debate.‚e
‚eoeEloquent, honest storytelling. This book would be fabulous required reading for college freshmen or, even better, for freshman members of Congress,‚e
‚eoeAn important piece of America‚e(TM)s immigrant history.‚e
‚eoeAccomplishes one of the great things books can do: make an abstract idea real.‚e
‚eoePersonal, heart-wrenching, and ultimately triumphant. . . . An engaging writer with a talent for infusing her narrative with personal and affecting characterizations and stories, Grande truly offers an unprecedented look into the immigration experience. . . . The Distance Between Us has the power to change minds and hearts.‚e
‚eoeHeart-warming. . . . Even with the challenges of learning English, earning good grades and fighting her way through turbulent adolescence, Grande emerged as a successful writer whose prose has the potential to touch the generation of youth whose story is so reminiscent of her own.‚e
‚eoeTold in simple, easy to read‚e"yet descriptive‚e"prose. . . . An inspirational book for young Latinos or anyone who has faced adversity. Just keep those tissues handy.‚e
‚eoeShows off Grande‚e(TM)s exceptional writing skill. . . . The writer‚e(TM)s economy of detail enriches the reading. . . . Anyone who reads†The Distance Between Us will find the distance between their insularity and the humanity of immigrants is the two inches occupied in the memoir‚e(TM)s 322 pages.‚e
‚eoeGenerous and humble. . . . Makes palpable a human dilemma and dares us to dismiss it.‚e
‚eoeMany of us find it difficult to practice diplomacy with our relatives. But when typical family squabbles are complicated by national borders‚e"as they are in Reyna Grande‚e(TM)s excellent new memoir‚e"the stakes are raised far higher than ‚e~Who‚e(TM)s cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year?‚e(TM)‚e
‚eoeGrande never flinches in describing her surroundings and feelings, while her resilience and ability to empathize allow her to look back with a compassion that makes this story one that everyone should read.‚e
‚eoeI‚e(TM)ve been waiting for this book for decades. The American story of the new millenium is the story of the Latino immigrant, yet how often has the story been told by the immigrant herself? What makes Grande‚e(TM)s beautiful memoir all the more extraordinary is that, through this hero‚e(TM)s journey, she speaks for millions of immigrants whose voices have gone unheard.‚e
‚eoeA deeply personal coming-of-age story that extols the power of self-reliance and the love of books.‚e
One of the Best Adult Books 4 Teens 2012
One the 15 Best Books of 2012
"Reyna Grande's extraordinary journey towards the American dream will be an inspiration to anyone who has ever dreamed of a better life.‚e
‚e"Ligiah Villalobos, Writer and Executive Producer of La Misma Luna (Under the Same Moon)
"Has the power to change minds and hearts."