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Publisher's Summary

Dan-el Padilla Peralta has lived the American dream. As a boy he came here legally with his family. Together they left Santo Domingo behind, but life in New York City was harder than they imagined. Their visas lapsed, and Dan-el's father returned home. But Dan-el's courageous mother was determined to make a better life for her bright sons. Without papers she faced tremendous obstacles. While Dan-el was only in grade school, the family joined the ranks of the city's homeless. Dan-el, his mother, and his brother lived in a downtown shelter, where Dan-el's only refuge was the meager library. There he met Jeff, a young volunteer from a wealthy family. Jeff was immediately struck by Dan-el's passion for books and learning. With Jeff's help, Dan-el was accepted, on scholarship, to Collegiate, the oldest private school in the country. There Dan-el thrived. Throughout his youth Dan-el navigated these two worlds: the rough streets of East Harlem, where he lived with his brother and his mother and tried to make friends, and the ultra-elite halls of a Manhattan private school, where he could immerse himself in a world of books and where he soon rose to the top of his class. From Collegiate Dan-el went to Princeton, where he thrived and where he made the momentous decision to come out as an undocumented student in a Wall Street Journal profile a few months before he gave the salutatorian's traditional address, in Latin, at his commencement. Undocumented is a classic story of the triumph of the human spirit. It also is the perfect cri de coeur for the debate on comprehensive immigration reform.
©2015 Dan-el Padilla Peralta (P)2015 Audible, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Dan-el Padilla Peralta’s story is as compulsively readable as a novel.... From homeless shelter to Princeton, Oxford, and Stanford...he documents the America we should still aspire to be." (Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter, president of the New America Foundation)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Mark on 05-29-16

this genuine memoir kept my interest

The author writes and reads his story, from inner city homelessness to an Ivy League College. I had loved The Short of Tragic Life of Robert Peace, which prompted me to try this, too. This, Peralta's book, is so different. While Dan-el is a brilliant scholar, he is just a regular guy in so many ways. This is not a riveting book, but it is an authentic glimpse into another person's life, a life I was curious about. I teach some students like Dan-el, and felt this book would be valuable to me as a teacher. It was. The beginning of this book was a little slow, but picked up when Dan-el got to high school and college. He did need to deal with his race, and the fact that he had no legal papers. He had to deal with safety issues of living "in the hood." But he also had to deal with so many other normal issues of growing up - finding yourself and finding your comfort zone. Even had he not been an illegal, black immigrant, being a nerdy, intellectual boy is tough when you are growing up! The author is both ordinary and extraordinary, and to me, that was the appeal of this author's life story. I am glad I got to know him through his memoir.

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4 of 5 people found this review helpful


By HR L. on 02-23-16

A Very Likable Young Man

Any additional comments?

This book was engaging and captivating. It made me root for Dan-el an his family throughout and even tear up a few times. What I liked the most was the way the author described his friends and family. In fact, I liked that part so much I thought there was not enough of it. It felt like the book was too concise and that it could have gone into more details about the relationships between Dan-el and the other characters.<br/><br/>The author's narration was excellent and gave an added dimension to the experience of listening to this book.

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4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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