When Reyna Grande’s father leaves his wife and three children behind in a village in Mexico to make the dangerous trek across the border to the United States, he promises he will soon return from "El Otro Lado" (The Other Side) with enough money to build them a dream house where they can all live together. His promises become harder to believe as months turn into years. When he summons his wife to join him, Reyna and her siblings are deposited in the already overburdened household of their stern, unsmiling grandmother. The three siblings are forced to look out for themselves; in childish games they find a way to forget the pain of abandonment and learn to solve very adult problems.
When their mother at last returns, the reunion sets the stage for a dramatic new chapter in Reyna’s young life: her own journey to "El Otro Lado" to live with the man who has haunted her imagination for years, her long-absent father.
In this extraordinary memoir, award-winning writer Reyna Grande vividly brings to life her tumultuous early years, capturing all the confusion and contradictions of childhood, especially one spent torn between two parents and two countries. Elated when she feels the glow of her father’s love and approval, Reyna knows that at any moment he might turn angry or violent. Only in books and music and her rich imaginary life does she find solace, a momentary refuge from a world in which every place feels like "El Otro Lado".
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Great story - Culturally INCOMPETENT Reading
I think this is a dynamic and well-written book, but I made the mistake of buying on Audible instead of reading the book myself. Big mistake. The reader has a hideous sing-songy disturbingly fake Mexican accent and mispronounces so many words in Spanish throughout the reading from beginning to end, that I would actually like my money back.
It's not the author but AUDIBLE, whose standards for English/Spanish readers is pathetic and embarrassing. Get competent reader forgodsakes!
ANYONE who can read well and pronounce Spanish (Mexican Spanish, please!) competently without using some stereotyped Mexican accent. I think it was unethical and unprofessional of the reader to accept this assignment, and speaks loads about Audible's lack of attention to it's growing English/Spanish bilingual readership. Get a clue, Audible!
Disappointed in Audible
A beautiful story, but narration by Siri
Reyna Grande is an incredible talent, but the narration is completely incompatible with the story style. The narrator is flat and with no Spanish-language pronunciation. It honestly sounds as if you are hearing this story through your car's GPS system.
Another narrator should have been selected.
The book is not the problem. The narration makes it very difficult to listen and become absorbed in this wonderful immigration story.
- Marissa Rodriguez