Enrique's Journey

Introduction

First published in 2006, and updated and revised in 2014, Enrique's Journey is a national best-seller by Sonia Nazario, about a 17-year-old boy from Honduras who travels to the United States in search of his mother. It was first published in 2006 by Random House. The non-fiction book has been published in eight languages, and is sold both in English and Spanish in the United States. A young adult version was also published in 2014 aimed at children 10 to 14 years old and reluctant older readers.

It is based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning series of articles in the Los Angeles Times published in 2002.[1]

Background

Nazario spent nearly 4 years reporting and writing Enrique’s Journey. After doing months of research, she met the book's 17-year-old protagonist, Enrique, an undocumented immigrant, at a shelter for migrants in Nuevo Laredo. She spent time shadowing him there and hearing about his remarkable trip north. Nazario reconstructed Enrique's dangerous trek from Honduras to the U.S. by making the same 3,000-mile journey, much of it on top of 7 freight trains, up the length of Mexico. She then retraced his journey a second time. Each trip took 4 months.

Summary

When Enrique was five years old his mother, Lourdes, leaves Honduras to find a job in the United States. The move allows her to send money back home to Enrique so he can go to school past the third grade. Lourdes promises Enrique she will return quickly. But she struggles in America. Years pass. He begs for his mother to come back. Without her, he becomes lonely and troubled. When she calls, Lourdes tells him to be patient. Enrique despairs of ever seeing her again. After eleven years apart, he decides he will go find her. Enrique sets off alone from Tegucigalpa, with little more than a slip of paper bearing his mother’s North Carolina telephone number. Without money, he will make the dangerous and illegal trek up the length of Mexico the only way he can–clinging to the sides and tops of freight trains.

With gritty determination and a deep longing to be by his mother’s side, Enrique travels through hostile, unknown worlds. Each step of the way through Mexico, he and other migrants, many of them children, are hunted like animals. Gangsters control the tops of the trains. Bandits rob and kill migrants up and down the tracks. Corrupt cops all along the route are out to rob and deport them. To evade Mexican police and immigration authorities, they must jump onto and off the moving boxcars they call El Tren de la Muerte–The Train of Death. Enrique pushes forward using his wit, courage, and hope–and the kindness of strangers.

Lourdes, Enrique's mother decided to move to the United States from Honduras in order to support her two children financially. She hoped to get enough income to take her children to good schools and be able to provide for their basic needs; she also hoped they could live a better lifestyle than she did.

Enrique was too young to understand that Lourdes left and that she was not planning to come back soon,Although the family knew about it, they were not able to explain to Enrique. He was cared for by different relatives and he finally ends up with his paternal grandmother. He starts to sell food to meet the family expenses. Due to frustrations and anger towards his mother, he turns to drugs and he ends up being kicked out because his grandmother could not stand his behavior. Enrique's experiences motivates him to take a dangerous journey to look for his mother because he believes she is the only one who can understand and take good care of him.

Enrique's older sister Belky was left under the care of her auntie who took good care of her, sent her to a private school and eventually joined accounting college.Although she had fill support unlike Enrique,she still missed having her mother around like her neighbors and classmates.

Maria Isabel, Enrique's girlfriend was very supportive even though she knew he turned to drugs for comfort. When Enrique settled in the United States, he received the good news that Maria had a baby girl and named her Jasmin. Enrique was very happy to be a dad and he sent money to support them. Enrique worked hard and saved enough to hire a smuggler to move Maria Isabel to the United States, then Jasmin later joined them.[2]

Awards

The series of Los Angeles Times articles that was the genesis of the book won more than 20 journalism awards.

Enrique's Journey has won both the 2006 Christopher Award and the 2006 California Book Award in Recognition of Literary Excellence, Silver Medal. It has been adopted by nearly 100 universities as their freshman or common read.

See also
  • Freighthopping
Sources
  • http://enriquesjourney.com/about.html
References
  1. ^ 2003 Pulitzer Prizes - Featured Writing
  2. ^ Mc Bride, Melanie. "Enrique's Journey". gradesaver.com. Retrieved 24 November 2015. 
External links
  • Random House homepage for Enrique's Journey

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