The Book Of Unknown Americans Summary

Decent Essays

Cristian Henríquez’s novel The Book of Unknown Americans explores a variety of topics throughout her first three chapters. The themes of family most often come up when revisiting the opening chapters of one, two, and three: whether that being in the form of parental care or in sibling pressure. Through the perspective of Alma, Mayor, and Rafael, all Hispanic Americans, the author presents these “unknown” people and their lives in the opening chapters. The first of the chapters is Alma, the name of the mother of the Rivera trio (the others being her husband Arturo and her daughter Maribel) along with this chapter comes the theme of expectation versus reality and a parent’s compassion for their children. The chapter opens up with the Rivera family arriving in Delaware from Mexico. The family settles into their new residence and encounters endeavors in a convenience store: Arturo’s miscommunication with the clerk for prices of the goods and the neck tattooed teenager, I am assuming is Garrett, essentially stalking Maribel. Alma, the speaker, opens up the first chapter with a rather ambiguous quote, “I assumed that everything that would go wrong in our lives already had.” (Henríquez, 1). Alma foreshadows disappointment and struggles that will inevitably will happen. Her disappointment is evident throughout the chapter from the cinderblock compound of an apartment and the whole ordeal with the convenience store. Alma expected the United States to be like in the “movies” and is

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