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Publisher's Summary

A raw account of a young American abroad grasping for meaning, this pulsating story of violent protests, illegal border crossings, and loss of innocence raises questions about the futility of borders and the irresistible power of nationalism.  

Illegal tells the true story of love, deception, revolutions, and deportations as it chronicles the trials of John Dennehy. A naïve New Yorker, Dennehy refuses to be part of the feverish nationalism of post 9/11 America. His search for hope takes him to Ecuador, where he falls in love with firebrand Lucia, who perfects his broken Spanish while they find solidarity in the brewing social upheaval. Amid the unrest, Dennehy is arrested and deported to the United States but he has found something worth fighting for.

©2017 John Dennehy (P)2018 John Dennehy

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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engaging and interesting

John Dennehey shared his experiences and life journey when he decided to leave the U.S. and relocate to Ecuador.  Trying to escape nationalism that the US experienced following 9/11, Dennehey decides he wants to become an activist, and not be confined by borders any longer.  Oddly, his moving to Ecuador requires him to cross borders every 90 days or so and be reapproved for entry, otherwise, he is illegal.  In his naivety, he tosses out the easy way to maintain his VISA only to resort to illegal means to stay with the woman he fell in love with and stay in his new home.

This book deals with the violence, political issues and unfairness between classes, ethnicity and lifestyles of two countries (North and South America).  Dennehey matures and sees the world slightly different with the passage of time and experiences, but not before he becomes an illegal alien, liar, and manipulator.

I found the book to be engaging and interesting. While I knew it was difficult for people to enter the US, I never understood how difficult it is for Americans to immigrate until now. Dennehey writes clearly and with passion.  His skill at wordsmithing is excellent.  He is a visual writer leaving no question as to the emotion he is feeling or his experiences – he writes with such passion.

I did find moments in his journey where I really wanted to smack him on the head and tell him to grow up; i.e. his romance with a married woman … among other things.  However, after finishing the audiobook, I reflected on my own youth and realized, sadly, that while I am older and wiser – I too had experienced “dumb” moments in my youth.  I also wished I had had the drive to strike out on my own and make a difference or at least experienced life in a more complete manner.

The narrator, Joe Passaro provided an excellent performance.  The book and Passaro seemed to become one – as if the journey and life experiences were his and no one else.  His voice reflected the same passion and emotion as the writer.  His youthful voice gave credence to the story that an older voice would not have given.

As I said, I enjoyed the book and would highly recommend it.

There were no issues with the quality or production of this audiobook.

Audiobook was provided for review by the author.

Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Enjoyable, sometimes hard to believe story...

Illegal by John Dennehy was a pleasant surprise. I kind of felt like I was listening to an extended episode of A&E's Locked Up Abroad, except Mr. Dennehy wasn't getting locked up (for the most part). You almost expected him to throughout the entire then though! This was a fun listen that takes the reader through the almost unbelievable story of how a disillusioned Mr. Dennehy ended up in Ecuador after school with basically no qualification to teach and no knowledge of the Spanish language and somehow ends up teaching English and living in Ecuador for a number of years and meeting and falling in love with his long term girlfriend, all in the midst of major social upheavals in the country. He was deported and crossing borders back and forth to make his way back to Ecuador and a whole bunch of other crazy stuff. I enjoyed listening to this one and got through it in one day. There were a few slow parts, but with it being a true story, I was happy to see that Mr. Dennehy got little periodic breaks in his crazy life! In all seriousness, it was fast paced, so those few times where things moved a bit slower weren't really a bother to me at all.

Joe Passaro did a great job narrating this story and I strongly believe that it was his narration that made the story that much more enjoyable to listen to and easy to fall into. He brought the characters to life and I would happily listen to more of his narrations in the future. I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher for an honest review.

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Captivating!

This is a must read! John opens his life to the reader in such an honest and vulnerable way, telling the story of love and loss through his fish out of water experiences in his adopted new home. Very well written with an excellent vocal performance. Find out for yourself!

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Wonderful Read

What a wonderful read. Exciting from start to finish. This book really paints a vivid picture in your mind that makes you feel like your are standing right beside John during his journey. Highly recommended!

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Sad That This is a True Story

I was greatly disturbed that the author leaves America, due to the fact that President Bush was re-elected, only to go to a different country, where in turn, commits adultery, lies, cheats, sells drugs, deceive others and continues to go into another country illegally. For anyone to think this type of behavior is ok, has a screw lose and the fact that the author brags about it and repeats the affair (even after he knows she is married) and continues to go into Ecuador without a valid passport, hoping that he doesn't get caught, "then smiles to himself" that he got away with it (he says this several times) makes me cringe. Your behavior is unacceptable and the fact that you brag about it is disturbing.

The narrator did a fantastic job, however!


I received this audiobook at no-cost from Audiobookworm Promotions. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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A Thought-provoking adventure

I bring you a new review for a non-fiction audiobook. After I finished listening to John’s memoire, I said to myself: This is unique, thrilling, thought-provoking! Illegal: A True Story of Love, Revolution and Crossing Borders is one of a kind and I am glad that I got the opportunity to experience this adventure on my own, through the great writing by John Dennehy and the excellent performance by Joe Passaro.

The story opens with John as he is arrested in Ecuador and set up for deportation. It is a very tense opening and the author, John himself, manages to capture the listener’s attention from the first few seconds. But, his story starts on 9/11, when the planes struck, when the towers fell, when US citizens confuse nationalism with patriotism. After George Bush is elected once again as President of the United States and the war with Iraq is on its way, our young John Dennehy leaves the US and goes to Ecuador as a professor.


As Ecuador is in the midst of a revolution, he observes the turmoil and at some point he gets involved himself, as he thinks that he can help. John fells in love and after a few dangerous adventures we find out why he was arrested and now it all makes a lot of sense. But, John‘s trials don’t end there, on the contrary, his adventure just begins…


As the subtitle claims, Illegal is indeed A True Story of Love, Revolution and Crossing Borders and sometimes I wish that I could be as smart, resourceful and contemplative as john Dennehy. His adventure inspired me and opened my eyes to some things and world problems that I have never thought about before. You can read more about the story in the Publisher’s Summary that I added below, but I don’t want to spoil anything…


The narrator, joe Passaro, does a great job and delivers John‘s memoire with talent and passion. He is very good with accents, he uses different voices and inflections while keeping every character unique in the listener’s mind. Also, Joe has the perfect voice for this audiobook performance as he instantly made me think about a 20 years old when I first heard him and that’s exactly what John could sound like.


Illegal: A True Story by John Dennehy and performed by Joe Passaro is a great accomplishment by both author and narrator alike. If you want a short read or listen for the Weekend, this adventure might be just the thing for you, and the fact that everything in it is true, makes it even more special.

I hope that you enjoyed this review and that you'll read more of them here or on theAudiobookBlog dot com.
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Thank you,
Victor

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It's the Journey, Not the Destination!

In this captivating autobiography, John Dennehy transforms from an idealistic recent college graduate into a veteran of traversing seedy borders in South America. Through the author's eyes we experience the maturation of man in a foreign land, which like himself, is changing rapidly. Throughout the story we are granted privy access to the development of his geopolitical beliefs and the ramifications of putting ideologies into action. Propelled by love and an affection for his new homeland, John fights relentlessly to bring the dream into a reality. At times the adventurer is dispirited by his surrounding circumstances, but the hope remains. The gripping account is genuine at its core and will leave you wanting more. From beginning to end, Joe Passaro's narration brings this fantastic tale to life!

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Fascinating story

This is a riveting story about an American living as an Illegal in South America. Very descriptive dialogue that keeps you on edge of your seat. The narrator did a great job telling the story too.

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Timely, Compelling---Loved This

In Illegal, journalist John Dennehy takes readers on a guided tour of the precarious border crossings he took shortly after the reelection of George W. Bush. One such crossing ended with his deportation back to the United States from Ecuador. And yet he was driven to sneak back into that country by a blinding love, and a life that often seemed--and would often prove--too good to be entirely true. His decision to live outside the US was the result of his many brushes with an uptick in nationalism there, including getting beaten up by a mob in the streets of New York because he dared protest the lead-up to the Iraq War.

Illegal is narrative journalism and autobiography that goes by quickly at about 200 pages. But Dennehy uses his own story as a lens through which to address issues much larger than himself. It's not just self-indulgent travel porn. In a very self-aware, earnest way, he asks big questions. Is it possible to maintain your most deeply held beliefs and goals in the face of bruising reality? If goods are allowed to cross borders freely, why can't people (with the minimum amount of necessary security in place)? Are people who they are or are they who we perceive them to be and who they present themselves as? At the outset of Illegal, Dennehy is a recent college graduate with a robust set of ideals. As the story progresses he doesn't lose them but they are tempered. One gets the sense that were the story to begin with an older, more mature Dennehy, he might have been able to get close to anticipating the very mess his country is in now

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A page-turning, border-crossing adventure

If you could sum up Illegal: A True Story of Love, Revolution and Crossing Borders in three words, what would they be?

A brief, but highly engaging listen from start to finish. As introspective as it is engaging. Dennehy, via some great narration from Joe Passaro, takes us over borders and back again, through deportations, close-calls, and nation-shifting protests. A tumultuous love story centers much of the book and inspires many of the more tense moments.

It will leave you questioning why we put so much effort into separation.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!