(4 / 5) – Worth It!
Entering into someone’s lived experience through what feels like journal entries feels a bit invasive, but it certainly provides a deep, vivid and penetrating reading experience.
Marcelo Hernandez Castillo writes with unfiltered vulnerability in his memoir entitled, “Children of the Land.” Telling the story he, and generations of his family have lived, through life as an undocumented immigrant from Mexico in the United States of America. There is nothing easy about reading this book, nothing comforting or which leaves the reader with a sense of justice in the country whose pledge of allegiance touts, “liberty and justice for all.” Yet, it is a memoir of poetic beauty interwoven with the raw edges of an invisible life in a country willing to exploit, but never welcome.
Reading Hernandez Castillo’s memoir felt like opening his journal and accessing his deepest thoughts and reflections on open wounds that continue to bleed and puss yet which continue to shape his life and activity in an unjust world. It was a gut-wrenching read that required pauses and interruptions with less “peeled back” content in order to both be fully present to Hernandez Castillo’s truth as well as absorb the value and transforming truth of his life.
There are many shadow sides to America, from our history of genecide, slavery, to exploitation of immigrants. Within these pages lies a story as old as our country, yet one that remains on the edges of our collective consciousness devoid of understanding and compassion. “Children of the Land,” provides the reader a connective narrative to empathy and clarity which has the power to transform. It is a book worthy of praise and read by all.