Book Of Unknown America Analysis

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The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez is the story of multiple Hispanic families living in an apartment building in Delaware. The story rotates from multiple points of view, but focuses on the story of the Rivera family and their immigration from Mexico to the United States. Alma and Arturo Rivera have a teenage daughter Maribel, who was permanently brain damaged from a construction accident in Mexico. The family embarked a journey to the United States in search of treatment for Maribel, and although they enjoyed a comfortable life in Mexico, they are thrust into poverty from the moment they arrive. All members of the family struggle with the change, as they speak no English, Alma is lonely, and Arturo’s work at mushroom factory is painful and…show more content…
As the story progresses, Maribel develops a relationship with the neighbor boy Mayor and eventually kiss on the beach. Meanwhile, Arturo is killed in a confrontation with the boy who assaulted Maribel and his father. Maribel and Alma decide to travel back to their home in Mexico, but Alma does realize that Maribel’s condition is improving. Maribel and Alma’s relationship develops and changes throughout the story, starting a distant and not loving relationship, and ending the story with the relationship they had before the accident. This important relationship throughout the story also contributes to the main theme of the novel, which is the pursuit of the American Dream. As the relationship between Maribel and Alma becomes closer and more personal, the reader realizes that keeping the family close is often more important than attempting to live the American dream.

At the beginning of the novel, The Book of Unknown Americans, the relationship between Maribel and Alma is strained and distant. Maribel is struggling from her head injury, and Alma finds it
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