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The Distance Between Us
Cover of The Distance Between Us
The Distance Between Us
A Memoir
"In this poignant memoir about her childhood in Mexico, Reyna Grande skillfully depicts another side of the immigrant experience—the hardships and heartbreaks of the children who are left...
"In this poignant memoir about her childhood in Mexico, Reyna Grande skillfully depicts another side of the immigrant experience—the hardships and heartbreaks of the children who are left...
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  • "In this poignant memoir about her childhood in Mexico, Reyna Grande skillfully depicts another side of the immigrant experience—the hardships and heartbreaks of the children who are left behind." —Sonia Nazario, Pulitzer Prize winner, and author of Enrique's Journey
    Reyna Grande vividly brings to life her tumultuous early years in this "compelling . . . unvarnished, resonant" (BookPage) story of a childhood spent torn between two parents and two countries. As her parents make the dangerous trek across the Mexican border to "El Otro Lado" (The Other Side) in pursuit of the American dream, Reyna and her siblings are forced into the already overburdened household of their stern grandmother. When their mother at last returns, Reyna prepares for her own journey to "El Otro Lado" to live with the man who has haunted her imagination for years, her long-absent father.

    Funny, heartbreaking, and lyrical, The Distance Between Us poignantly captures the confusion and contradictions of childhood, reminding us that the joys and sorrows we experience are imprinted on the heart forever, calling out to us of those places we first called home.

    Also available in Spanish as La distancia entre nosotros.
 

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Excerpts-

  • From the book

    Prologue

    Reyna, at age two

    MY FATHER'S MOTHER, Abuela Evila, liked to scare us with stories of La Llorona, the weeping woman who roams the canal and steals children away. She would say that if we didn't behave, La Llorona would take us far away where we would never see our parents again.

    My other grandmother, Abuelita Chinta, would tell us not to be afraid of La Llorona; that if we prayed, God, La Virgen, and the saints would protect us from her.

    Neither of my grandmothers told us that there is something more powerful than La Llorona--a power that takes away parents, not children.

    It is called The United States.

    In 1980, when I was four years old, I didn't know yet where the United States was or why everyone in my hometown of Iguala, Guerrero, referred to it as El Otro Lado, the Other Side.

    What I knew back then was that El Otro Lado had already taken my father away.

    What I knew was that prayers didn't work, because if they did, El Otro Lado wouldn't be taking my mother away, too.

    Prologue

    Reyna, at age two

    MY FATHER'S MOTHER, Abuela Evila, liked to scare us with stories of La Llorona, the weeping woman who roams the canal and steals children away. She would say that if we didn't behave, La Llorona would take us far away where we would never see our parents again.

    My other grandmother, Abuelita Chinta, would tell us not to be afraid of La Llorona; that if we prayed, God, La Virgen, and the saints would protect us from her.

    Neither of my grandmothers told us that there is something more powerful than La Llorona--a power that takes away parents, not children.

    It is called The United States.

    In 1980, when I was four years old, I didn't know yet where the United States was or why everyone in my hometown of Iguala, Guerrero, referred to it as El Otro Lado, the Other Side.

    What I knew back then was that El Otro Lado had already taken my father away.

    What I knew was that prayers didn't work, because if they did, El Otro Lado wouldn't be taking my mother away, too.

About the Author-

  • Reyna Grande is an award-winning author, motivational speaker, and writing teacher. As a girl, she crossed the U.S.–México border to join her family in Los Angeles, a harrowing journey chronicled in The Distance Between Us, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. Her other books include the novels Across a Hundred Mountains and Dancing with Butterflies, and the memoirs The Distance Between Us: Young Reader's Edition and A Dream Called Home. She lives in Woodland, California, with her husband and two children. Visit ReynaGrande.com for more information.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from May 21, 2012
    Award-winning novelist (Across a Hundred Mountains) Grande captivates and inspires in her memoir. Raised in Mexico in brutal poverty during the 1980s, four-year-old Grande and her two siblings lived with their cruel grandmother after both parents departed for the U.S. in search of work. Grande deftly evokes the searing sense of heartache and confusion created by their parents’ departure. Eight years later her father returned and reluctantly agreed to take his children to the States. Yet life on the other side of the border was not what Grande imagined: her father’s new girlfriend’s indifference to the three children becomes more than apparent. Though Grande’s father continually stressed the importance of his children obtaining an education, his drinking resulted in violence, abuse, and family chaos. Surrounded by family turmoil, Grande discovered a love of writing and found solace in library books, and she eventually graduated from high school and went on to become the first person in her family to graduate from college. Tracing the complex and tattered relationships binding the family together, especially the bond she shared with her older sister, the author intimately probes her family’s history for clues to its disintegration. Recounting her story without self-pity, she gracefully chronicles the painful results of a family shattered by repeated separations and traumas

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