America is a country which throughout its history has united geographically many nations, cultures, and generations. The problems of national identity have always been urgent in the USA, and not only in the terms of location. Along with these problems new ones have been added, due to the fast growth of globalization, and the issue of self identity within another culture became even more urgent.
The novel Make Your Home Among Strangers is an audacious attempt to figure out all these problems. Young Lizet achieves a so-much-desired opportunity to study in a prestigious college in New York. For a daughter of Cuban immigrants it is even more valuable, as it is her chance to enter the world of educated, successful and wealthy people. Lizet faces many other problems while being in the college, among which are academic issues as well, but the most challenging troubles come up when she comes home to the Thanksgiving Day.
Jennine Capo Crucet is of Cuban origin herself, and knows from her personal experience how hard it is to find oneself in modern American reality. Lizet, the protagonist of the novel Make Your Home Among Strangers, bears many biographical facts of the author.
The idea of the novel came to Jennine Capo Crucet during one of the meetings of the organization called One Voice. Jennine was a mentor and had to work with children, who were the first lucky ones in their families to attend college. But on the subconscious level these children were “programmed” that they would fail, and the aim of the meetings was to work with these fears and help these children to realize their importance. Jennine Capo Crucet had experienced the same fears once, but she had managed to overcome them, and her role in the One Voice organization was really important.
One significant instance was the moment when the plot of the novel appeared in Jennine’s head, and as she said herself: “the narrator’s voice came to me – urgent and clear - …and I literally started writing this book, in a small notebook I kept in my bag”. In was 2010, and in 2015 the novel was published.
Later, when the novel became popular and Jennine Capo Crucet started to be recognized, she said in one of her interviews: “I imagined the book to be this fictional road map of the first-generation college student’s experience, one that shows some of the ugly things race and class differences force on us”.
Jennine Capo Crucet continues working on the literary field, and in 2019 the world saw her essays collection called My Time Among the Whites: Notes from an Unfinished Education.