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Enrique's Journey: The Story of a Boy's Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His Mother
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Enrique's Journey: The Story of a Boy's Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His Mother

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  7,534 Ratings  ·  1,452 Reviews
An astonishing story that puts a human face on the ongoing debate about immigration reform in the United States, now updated with a new Epilogue and Afterword, photos of Enrique and his family, an author interview, and more—the definitive edition of a classic of contemporary America

Based on the Los Angeles Times newspaper series that won two Pulitzer Prizes, one for featu
Paperback, 300 pages
Published January 2nd 2007 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published February 1st 2005)
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Jane Harris I would consider her attitude to be simplistic in its response. Who IS worthy? Without giving away the ending, the author describes both positive and…moreI would consider her attitude to be simplistic in its response. Who IS worthy? Without giving away the ending, the author describes both positive and negative outcomes. Realistically, she explains that children and their mothers who have been separated for years at a time, rarely experience "happy endings." Decades or more of deprivation take their tole and are not without consequences. That is not to say that these individuals do not "deserve" to be reunited. (less)

Community Reviews

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Mar 13, 2008 Diana rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who want to know more about immigration that just what happens at our border
Stuff I already knew:
-The US/Mexico border sucks and there are lots of shady people making lots of money off of it.
-People leave their countries and come to the US because they are dirt poor and can't support their families

Stuff I didn't already know but learned from this book:
-The Mexico/Guatemala border sounds like it's even worse than ours... not necessarily in terms of how difficult it is to cross, but rather, in the absolute brutality of the gangs and bandits that prey on migrants...
Jan 06, 2014 Carol rated it it was ok
Book rating: social relevance 5 stars, writing 1 star.

Lourdes, a single mother of 2 children, makes the decision to leave her homeland of Honduras for the United States to support her family. She leaves behind Belky (daughter, 8 years old) and Enrique (son, 5 years old) in the care of two different relatives. Eleven years later, Enrique, sets out to find her. The book details Enriques harrowing 4 month struggle to reunite with his mother. The book details the perils of immigrants from trains, ba
Oct 04, 2008 Amber rated it it was amazing
Everyone in the US should read this book in order to understand the dangerous journey that Central American immigrants make in order to work in the US. This is not a book that tries to persuade you to feel one way or another about immigration. It is simply about one boy´s journey through Mexico on top of trains and the perils that surround him. He has many flaws, but a deep desire to reunite with his mother (who immigrated to the US when he was 6) and to send money back home to his family in ...more
Jul 21, 2012 Ryan rated it really liked it
I learned a lot about illegal immigration from reading Sonia Nazario's Enrique's Journey. Nazario, a distinguished journalist for the Los Angeles Times very much takes a "features" approach in her writing, emphasizing the human stories and motivations that create the statistics.

It certainly makes for a compelling read. Enrique's story starts in Honduras with his mother, Lourdes. Lourdes cannot afford to feed and educate her children, so she leaves for "el norte." Her plan is to work hard, save m
Ms. Montaño
Aug 15, 2011 Ms. Montaño rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: all educators and people interested in learning about immigration
Recommended to Ms. Montaño by: Professors at UCLA
"Enrique's Journey" completely challenged my views on immigration and helped me identify the challenges that I face as a teacher. Sonia Nazario begins the book by providing a background of information on the immigration policies of the 80's and 90's. She then takes us to Honduras where a mother is about to leave her children so that she can come to the US and have a better life in order to provide a better life for her children. As the years go by, the mother is faced with the decision to risk ...more
Peter Derk
Dec 22, 2013 Peter Derk rated it did not like it
Well, I hated it.

It's kind of hard to say that because of the book's subject matter. It makes me feel like I'm saying the subject matter wasn't important. It's sort of like being in a writing class where someone writes a non-fiction piece about a past trauma. It's hard to talk about the problems with the piece without feeling like you're invalidating the events and the person in some way.

That said, hated it. It didn't have so much a narrative as it read like a list, a catalouging of atrocities.
Mar 28, 2012 Audrephilia rated it it was amazing
I can't believe how gruesome, violent, and nearly hopeless the journey is from South America to America! I mean, I thought all hispanic people snuck in with a few dangers. The news makes it sound like getting into America is easy as pie for migrants. I was so shocked to read that there's approximately a 0% chance of traveling via train and on foot without encountering horrific violence, debilitating injuries from boarding and unboarding the train, rape, robbery, and/or many other nightmare ...more
May 12, 2009 Lisa rated it really liked it
I liked this book although it read more like a newspaper article than I was anticipating. Having worked with many immigrants from Central America, I found myself amazed at what some of them may have gone through to get to this country, as I had not thought much about the actual process outside of paying smugglers. I was also amazed that the author supposedly did some of the same travels, I have to think she had some sort of protection with her other than papers stating who she was...?

We tend to
Mar 09, 2015 Sheryl rated it did not like it
This is not a book. It's a report. It's straight forward reporting and I admire her efforts to get the full experience, but the ongoing repetition of the same kind of details to make her point was overkill for the general public.
Jun 01, 2016 Nick rated it really liked it
With tireless reporting--the notes on sourcing are more than twenty pages--Sonia Nazario took up in "Enrique's Journey" the story of one of the Central American youths who travel through Mexico. Enrique is an Honduran teenager whose mother left for better prospects in the United States when he was five. She was ahead of her time; the U.S. Border Patrol has reported approximately 1.8 million apprehensions of unaccompanied children (under the age of 18) from October 2012 through April of this ...more
May 28, 2009 Tonya rated it really liked it
Excellent book. I found it to be eye-opening as well as extremely thought provoking. I appreciate Nazario for successfully delivering a heart wrenching and sympathetic account of Enrique's and his family's stories yet still allowing the reader to feel that whichever side of the immigration issue he/she stands, it is ok as long as we realize the true matter is so gray and complicated... in no way black and white and obviously having no short term solutions. The only reason I gave 4 instead of 5 ...more
Mar 09, 2015 Lynne rated it it was ok
This author should stick to her Pulitzer prize winning journalism. The book is written in the short, choppy manner of a newspaper writer. It is repetitive. It supplies way too many names and places that are not crucial to the crux of the story.
The nonfiction story itself is compelling, but not enough to fill 300 pages. Basically, mothers flee Central America, leaving their children behind because they think they can make a lot of money in the United States. They flee in the name of love: they wi
Robert Early
Jun 08, 2012 Robert Early rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I honestly wanted to love this book. I wanted to get lost in the stories of these immigrants. I wanted to feel emotionally connected to them. I wanted to cry. I wanted to smile. I wanted to feel relief. I wanted to feel SOMETHING! Unfortunately, Enrique’s Journey (2006) falls well short of being considered even mediocre in my opinion.

First off, I don’t want anyone to think I’m some heartless monster. I sympathize with Central and South American people who illegally immigrate to the United States
Aug 18, 2014 George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nook-st, non-fiction
ENRIQUE'S JOURNEY, by Sonia Nazario


"Gripping, heroic and important, 'Enrique's Journey' captures the heart. Most Americans or their forebears came to the United States from other countries. They experienced difficult journeys and wrenching family separations—all in the hope of finding a better life in this new land. Enrique's story is 'our' story, beautifully told."—Edward James Olmos, page 229

"She [Enrique's mother] left for the United States out of love. She hoped
Apr 13, 2015 Lorena rated it it was amazing
Shelves: central-america
I live in Oaxaca Mexico, and have lived in Veracruz and Chiapas, three places where refugees pass through from Central America to the north of Mexico, or to the United States. These locations figure prominently in Nazario's amazing book. I read it some years ago, just after I had moved to Mexico. Shortly afterward I visited California and was eating in a big Mexican restaurant in SF. Because I had just recently read "Enrique's Journey" I talked to some of the women who were cleaning off the ...more
Caz Margenau
May 06, 2008 Caz Margenau rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 19, 2008 Cammi rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book and recommend it for everyone out there. It doesn't matter what you think or feel about the illegal immigration issue, you will never be the same after reading this book. It opened up my eyes and helped me understand some of the people that I encounter every single day. It also made me realize, yet again, how good I really do have it. What would lead a mother to leave her children to come to a foreign land, to face death and struggles beyond her imagination? What ...more
Kimberly Smith
Jan 23, 2015 Kimberly Smith rated it really liked it
I give this book 3.5 stars.

EVERY American needs to read this book! Journalist Sonia Nazario has done an incredible job illuminating a huge problem in the world that most Americans know virtually nothing about. There are hundreds of thousands of Central Americans, many are little children, riding the trains, a kind of "super highway" up through Guatemala and Mexico to seek a better life in the United States.

Her writing style reads exactly like what I imagine her installments for the LA Times mus
Jan 05, 2013 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: immigrant, nonfiction
I think everybody in the U.S. with an opinion about immigration should read Enrique's Journey.

When Enrique is five years old, his mother leaves Honduras for the U.S. so she can support her children. But for Enrique the separation is unbearable, and when he is sixteen, he goes in search of her. Too poor to afford a smuggler, he travels the way that the poorest of the poor are forced to travel: by jumping onto freight trains headed north. The dangers of traveling this way are real and devastating:
Apr 10, 2011 Bryan rated it it was amazing
To give her children a better life Lourdes emigrates alone from Honduras to the United States. She promises to return, but time passed and her children never saw her again. Growing up with out her mother was specially difficult to Enrique, who is far from that innocent 5 year old that his mother left 12 years ago. Although, Lourdes children have a better live with the money she sends, it is not enough to heal the pain caused by the absence of the live of a mother. So Enrique decides to reunite ...more
Nov 08, 2011 Megan rated it really liked it
I rated this a four for the amazing story, but I actually thought that the author's writing was a bit repetitive and bland at times. I had no idea that almost 100,000 Central American immigrants ride on the tops of trains through Mexico in order to reach the U.S. each year. The trip is extremely dangerous and many die or are injured. They are robbed and attacked by gangs, immigration officials, coyotes, police and others. They often have only the clothes on their backs, little money and travel ...more
In Enrique’s Journey, author Sonia Nazario details the true experiences of a young Honduran boy as he attempts to cross the border into the United States to reunite with his mother, Lourdes. In an effort to escape extreme poverty and starvation, and to provide a better life for her two young children, Lourdes, a single mother, decided to leave Honduras and try to find work in the U.S. She left her children with relatives and promised to return in a few years. Eleven years later, Enrique found ...more
Arlene Hayman
Jul 05, 2011 Arlene Hayman rated it really liked it
This interesting nonfiction book recounts the harsh experiences of a young Honduran boy named Enrique, who leaves his country in search of his mother who left for the United States eleven years earlier. It is an amazing story of resilience to hardship, and it accurately depicts the deterioration of the family unit through the separations and reconciliations.
In reading this story, I was very moved by the selflessness and bravery of people like Padre Leonardo Guajardo who devoted his life to help
Ashwin Thayer
Mar 16, 2015 Ashwin Thayer rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed Enrique's Journey, the story of a young Honduran boy making the treacherous and danger-filled journey from his home of Tegucigalpa to the fabled United States in search of his beloved mother Lourdes. It had many great small characters along the way, and the fact that it was a true story was extremely compelling. I would recommend this to any student wanting to learn more about immigration
Jan 03, 2014 Jonathan rated it really liked it
Enrique's Journey is a real-life story about a boy growing up in Honduras without his mother, whom was working in the United States. Soon after the main protagonist comes to an age, he takes a dangerous journey to cross the U.S. border to reunite with his mother. I think his story was fairly interesting, especially learning about what some people go through just to live in the U.S.
Sarah Cyr
This was one of the most important books I've read in a few years. Sounds cliche but gives a human story to the immigration debates going on in the country right now. Nazario writes a very balanced, well written account of this particular migrant and his family's story. A must read for anyone interested in digging deeper into the issue of immigration.
Katie Boland
Jan 07, 2014 Katie Boland rated it really liked it
Not the most well written book but definitely helped me understand some issues with immigration better. I had no idea the Guatemala-Mexico border was so terrible. I also didn't know that Mexico deports so many people to Guatemala. A good book to read to gain some respect for what people go through to get here and stay here.
Daisy Rivera
Very exiting story that any one of us with immigrant parents can relate to. It's very sad how such things go on without us even knowing about them but I'm glad his story was told.
Nov 26, 2016 Nicole rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction-read
One of the best pieces of non-fiction I have ever read. Nazario did a incredible job of telling Enrique's story. And in reading this remarkable story, the reader gets glimpses into the lives of thousands of others whose journeys are not much different than Enrique's. The plight of many immigrants venturing to the Unites States is one of undaunted courage driven by desperate poverty. Highly recommended.
Nov 17, 2014 Karen rated it really liked it
This book made me think. About the millions of immigrants crossing the southern border into the United States, and the toll it takes in the form of higher healthcare costs, lost tax revenue, increased pressure on emergency rooms, lower property values, increased violence. These immigrants for the most part are poor and because they are mostly being paid under the table, they don't pay the income tax. In many states they can't own a home so are not paying property taxes. They are crowded into ...more
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I did not like this book at all...... 5 59 Feb 03, 2015 01:24AM  
Fiction Lover's B...: * Enrique's Journey, by Sonia Nazario 1 2 Oct 18, 2012 06:20PM  
Enrique's Journey 1 17 Apr 08, 2012 04:01AM  
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Sonia Nazario has written about social issues for more than two decades, most recently as a projects reporter for the Los Angeles Times. She holds the distinctions of winning the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing, and of being the youngest writer to be hired by the Wall Street Journal.

She grew up both in Kansas and Argentina. She permanently moved to the U.S. as the Dirty War was happening i
More about Sonia Nazario...

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“I figure when I die, I can't take anything with me. So why not give?” 6 likes
“There is a clear pattern in U.S. history: When we need labor, we welcome migrants. When we are in recession, we want them to leave.” 1 likes
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