The Friday 56: Children of the Land by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join us every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you’ve been reading.

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

**Be sure to leave a link to your Friday 56 post in the comments!**

“I felt weak because I hadn’t eaten or slept in almost twenty-four hours. The road was narrow and wound around sharp turns as we edged closer to my town. My father whispered to me that the driver had had a few drinks on the way. I wrapped my thin jacket around my head, mostly because I was cold, but also because I wanted to scream.”

I just finished Marcelo Hernandez Castillo’s memoir, Children of the Land, and am still gathering my thoughts, but this one was incredibly moving and heartbreaking. I immediately added his poetry collection to my TBR because I am hungry for more of his writing. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

From the Goodreads Synopsis:

      “This unforgettable memoir from a prize-winning poet about growing up undocumented in the United States recounts the sorrows and joys of a family torn apart by draconian policies and chronicles one young man’s attempt to build a future in a nation that denies his existence.
      ‘You were not a ghost even though an entire country was scared of you. No one in this story was a ghost. This was not a story.’
      When Marcelo Hernandez Castillo was five years old and his family was preparing to cross the border between Mexico and the United States, he suffered temporary, stress-induced blindness. Castillo regained his vision, but quickly understood that he had to move into a threshold of invisibility before settling in California with his parents and siblings. Thus began a new life of hiding in plain sight and of paying extraordinarily careful attention at all times for fear of being truly seen. Before Castillo was one of the most celebrated poets of a generation, he was a boy who perfected his English in the hopes that he might never seem extraordinary.
      With beauty, grace, and honesty, Castillo recounts his and his family’s encounters with a system that treats them as criminals for seeking safe, ordinary lives. He writes of the Sunday afternoon when he opened the door to an ICE officer who had one hand on his holster, of the hours he spent making a fake social security card so that he could work to support his family, of his father’s deportation and the decade that he spent waiting to return to his wife and children only to be denied reentry, and of his mother’s heartbreaking decision to leave her children and grandchildren so that she could be reunited with her estranged husband and retire from a life of hard labor.
      Children of the Land distills the trauma of displacement, illuminates the human lives behind the headlines and serves as a stunning meditation on what it means to be a man and a citizen.”

15 thoughts on “The Friday 56: Children of the Land by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

  1. This sounds like a very moving and poignant memoir. I do not read a lot of memoirs anymore, but this does sound like one I would really like. I will have to check it out along with his poetry. Thank you for bringing it to my attention! Have a great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

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