I love reading about social justice issues and about hot topics. I also love the audio-version of memoirs or comedy books from well-known celebrities–think Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Mindy Kaling’s books! In comes a perfect combination of the two from Diane Guerrero, of Jane the Virgin and Orange is the New Black fame. In the Country We Love: My Family Divided was the first (audio)book I finished during the recent #24in48Readathon and it was an excellent choice! (Plus, the new season of Orange is the New Black came out on Netflix this weekend, so talk about perfect timing! Have you already binged the whole season yet?)
In In the Country We Love, Guerrero tells the story of when her parents and older brother were deported from the United States and forcibly sent back to their home country of Colombia. Left alone at the age of fifteen, Guerrero, who was born in the US, is then forced to navigate life, including college admissions (and loan process!), loans, relationships, and her career, without the support or guidance of her parents. She talks about the stigma associated with deportation, how she hide her family’s deportation even from her closest friends, how she ultimately committed to acting as a career, including some less than stellar auditions, and how she got her first big break to star as Maritza Ramos in Orange is the New Black. However, throughout all that, Guerrero is still forced to reconcile the blame she places on her parents for breaking up their family; during this memoir, she reflects on a time in her life where she didn’t speak to her family for over a year, and, ultimately, her mending relationship with her mother.
Y’all. For a book that has some potentially triggering or controversial, political content, it was actually incredibly funny. Guerrero is a rather comedic actress, in my opinion, and she definitely breaks that quality to her writing. As I mentioned, I listened to the audiobook, which just adds another dimension of personality and emotion to the story. You get to hear Guerrero act in different accents, enunciate and emphasis words/phrases in the way she saw fit, and you are definitely more drawn into the emotion of her story–whether that is the sadness and anger around her family’s deportation, or her laughter when talking about some of her audition stories or experiences on set. In addition to being a great read, Guerrero ends her story with important (and inspirational!) information on how to become politically active–particularly as it pertains to immigration and deportation.
Writing this story couldn’t have been easy, but I’m truly thankful that Guerrero has decided to share her story, her heartbreak, and the very real pain deportation causes for families, in order to better educate the world and our country–particularly in today’s political climate.
Best binged with: a pineapple daiquiri…something reminiscent of Guerrero’s role on Jane the Virgin, a cocktail waitress at a tropical, Miami resort!
[This book and review was a personal choice, and was not given to me to review.]