My (Underground) American Dream

  • by Julissa Arce
  • Narrated by Julissa Arce
  • 8 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

What does an undocumented immigrant look like? What kind of family must she come from? How could she get into this country? What is the true price she must pay to remain in the United States?
Julissa Arce knows firsthand that the most common, preconceived answers to those questions are sometimes far too simple - and often just plain wrong.
On the surface, Arce's story sounds like a how-to manual for achieving the American dream: growing up in an apartment on the outskirts of San Antonio, she worked tirelessly, achieved academic excellence, and landed a coveted job on Wall Street, complete with a six-figure salary. The level of professional and financial success that she achieved was the very definition of the American dream. But in this brave new memoir, Arce digs deep to reveal the physical, financial, and emotional costs of the stunning secret that she, like many other high-achieving, successful individuals in the United States, had been forced to keep not only from her bosses, but even from her closest friends.
From the time she was brought to this country by her hardworking parents as a child, Arce - the scholarship winner, the honors college graduate, the young woman who climbed the ladder to become a vice president at Goldman Sachs - had secretly lived as an undocumented immigrant. In this surprising, at times heart-wrenching, but always inspirational personal story of struggle, grief, and ultimate redemption, Arce takes listeners deep into the little-understood world of a generation of undocumented immigrants in the United States today - people who live next door, sit in your classrooms, work in the same office, and may very well be your boss. By opening up about the story of her successes, her heartbreaks, and her long-fought journey to emerge from the shadows and become an American citizen, Arce shows us the true cost of achieving the American dream - from the perspective of a woman who had to scale unseen and unimaginable walls to get there.


What the Critics Say

"There are so many moments in Julissa's journey that numbed my body and transported me fully into her harrowing experience. Her story broke my heart and then made it jump for joy." (America Ferrera, actor, producer)
"Arce takes us on a breathtaking climb to the highest pinnacles of Wall Street while holding fast to a deep secret. The path to her success at Goldman Sachs is certainly inspiring. But it is the telling of her story with humor, grace, and insight that is the real achievement." (Lisa Endlich, author of New York Times best-seller Goldman Sachs: The Culture of Success)
"A heart-rendering testament to the resiliency and determination of one woman who dared to dream. It crosses borders - literally and metaphorically." (Turney Duff, New York Times best-selling author of The Buy Side)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


Her journey is one that many of my students travel and I pray this book will inspire them to exceed their own dreams.
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MUST READ/LISTEN! Loved the rawness of it all

If you could sum up My (Underground) American Dream in three words, what would they be?

Profound, intense, honest

What was one of the most memorable moments of My (Underground) American Dream?

Over 11 billion dollars are paid in taxes by undocumented immigrants in the US. Money that they will never benefit from.

What does Julissa Arce bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Hearing the heartbreak in her voice as she described her profound loneliness.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Cry because my mother was an immigrant like Julissa, and she too was afraid of her own shadow. But unlike them I'm not afraid, also unlike them I was born an American and for that I am forever proud and grateful to my parents.

Any additional comments?

Thanks Julissa for sharing such a personal, emotional and relatable story that has truly touched my heart.

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- Jacqueline Camero

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-13-2016
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio