Vivir el Dream by Allison K. Garcia

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Vivir el Dream by Allison K. Garcia

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

To escape their dangerous life in Mexico, Juanita crossed the United States border with her daughter, Linda, back when Linda was only three years old. Now as a stellar student in college, Linda wonders what hope she’ll have for a future in America as an undocumented immigrant in Vivir el Dream, a novel by author Allison K. Garcia.

This novel brings up thought-provoking points, including moral dilemmas of truth and safety that undocumented immigrants face in the U.S. There’s also the issue that immigrants of color are often singled out while white immigrants from places like Eastern Europe, equally undocumented, are left out of the conversation–concerns and complaints.

The story includes an abundant amount of Spanish terms and dialogue and corresponding footnotes with English translations. I can appreciate the authenticity this brings to the story, and I’m not unaccustomed to books that require some language translation. But the frequency of footnoted words, phrases, and sentences was personally distracting for me here. Though it may not be as much of an issue while I’m reading nonfiction, frequent footnotes tend to hinder the flow of fiction reading for me. Even so, my familiarity with Spanish helped me not to feel too lost as I read.

There was a time or two when the story almost felt “keyword conscious” about the issues raised, maybe not as natural, but the humanness of the main characters would make up for it.

Although I only finished about half of this novel, I picked it up believing it to be an important and timely book, and I still believe so.