Monday, April 8, 2024

My Side of the River

Although she was born in Tuscon, Arizona, Elizabeth always struggled to feel truly at home in America. Her parents had visas which allowed them to work and stay temporarily in the US but when she and her brother Fernando were born it complicated matters significantly. Her parents dreamed of giving their children an education that they could not get in Mexico. Always scrambling financially they worked long hard hours under the radar doing all the jobs no-one else wanted to do, never accepting government benefits for fear of being deported. At a young age Elizabeth was already a curious and intelligent student. She took to heart her mother’s constant whispers - “to succeed in America, you have to be the best.”  At 15, a miscalculated move left her parents in Mexico, their visa renewal denied indefinitely. Her brother was 8 and remained in their care. Elizabeth, now a top student and mature for her age found a way to stay with a teacher’s family and finish highschool. This girl did not miss a beat. Overcoming severe poverty and sleeping on a strangers couch for years, Elizabeth persevered. She remained Valedictorian, was accepted to a multitude of top colleges and participated in many clubs and activities. It was not easy for this teenager to face the world alone, adding on to the guilt that her brother whom she adored, was growing up without her guidance. This memoir is a beautiful testament to the strength of family. It is also a reflection of our broken immigration policies that often separates loved ones, using these migrant workers and then throwing them away. Elizabeth is a success story but it is clear many are not as lucky. This memoir was fascinating and insightful, offering a glimpse into new perspectives. One of the greatest rewards of reading is nurturing empathy. Keep reading. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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