Circle of Friends Book Club meeting summary for September 2019
September 11, 2019
At September’s meeting, members discussed The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez. This is a story about two immigrant families who become connected in unexpected ways through the relationships of their teenage children. The characters in the story hailed from several countries in South and Central America and described the close-knit community they formed in their new American home. The reasons for immigrating were as varied and diverse as the characters and their traditions and culture provided an intimate view of Latinos living in America. It was revealing to see how some Hispanic immigrants view Americans and how immigrants, in turn, are viewed by their American neighbors.
There was lively discussion in the book club about the author’s creative approach of having multiple people tell their stories, their dreams and the hopes that fueled their lives. Observations were made about the differences in the way that women and men assimilated into American culture. It led several members to talk about their real-life experiences working as teachers of immigrant children and the challenges they sometimes encounter at school. The group, as a whole, agreed that this was an easy read and an interesting story with many layers of meaning.