When Reyna Grande’s father leaves his wife and three children behind in a village in Mexico to make the dangerous trek across the border to the United States, he promises he will soon return from "El Otro Lado" (The Other Side) with enough money to build them a dream house where they can all live together. His promises become harder to believe as months turn into years. When he summons his wife to join him, Reyna and her siblings are deposited in the already overburdened household of their stern, unsmiling grandmother. The three siblings are forced to look out for themselves; in childish games they find a way to forget the pain of abandonment and learn to solve very adult problems.
When their mother at last returns, the reunion sets the stage for a dramatic new chapter in Reyna’s young life: her own journey to "El Otro Lado" to live with the man who has haunted her imagination for years, her long-absent father.
In this extraordinary memoir, award-winning writer Reyna Grande vividly brings to life her tumultuous early years, capturing all the confusion and contradictions of childhood, especially one spent torn between two parents and two countries. Elated when she feels the glow of her father’s love and approval, Reyna knows that at any moment he might turn angry or violent. Only in books and music and her rich imaginary life does she find solace, a momentary refuge from a world in which every place feels like "El Otro Lado".
©2013 Reyna Grande (P)2013 AudioGO
Inspirational, emotional, vivid
I found Reyna's story tragic as it was inspirational - the longing of a young girl to belong to a family, to hold on to anything at all after her childhood was constantly in uphieval
Yes. This book was so sad, but by no means self-pitying or self-agrandising. I could see the poverty through Reyna and Mago's eyes when they traveled back to Mexico.
This book is well worth the time, money or credit. It focuses primarily on Reyna's childhood, but touches on her experiences as a teenager and young adult trying to make her way in the world. Even some family members who are despised due to their choices that created so much chaos become three-dimmentional, growing even as Reyna and her siblings did.
It is moving, neither wallowing in self-pity nor waving banners of "see how much I've overcome!" I hope Audible will publish Miss Grande's novels, as she is a wonderful writer.
I would definitely read the book, again and again, but I would not listen to the audio again. The narrator often read too quickly, and mispronounced many Spanish-language words. It was distracting very distracting to the story.
Her Spanish-language pronunciation was awful. She rolled her R's very well, but mispronounced simple words like mamá.
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