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1 Burnside Ethnic Studies- Latin American

Just Like Us: The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America

by

Just Like Us: The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America Cover

ISBN13: 9781416538981
ISBN10: 1416538984
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A powerful and moving account of four young women from Mexico who have lived most of their lives in the United States and attend the same high school. Two of them have legal documentation and two do not. Just Like Us is their story.

A stunning work of in-depth journalism in the tradition of Random Family, Helen Thorpe's Just Like Us takes us deep into an American subculture — that of Mexican immigrants — largely hidden from the mainstream. We meet four girls on the eve of their senior prom, in Denver, Colorado. Each is bright and ambitious and an excellent student. Their leader, Marisela, dazzles teachers during the day and spends her evenings checking groceries to help pay the bills. She dreams of college and a professional career — but she doesn't have a green card or a Social Security number because her parents brought her across the border illegally.

Marisela's best friend, Yadira, shares her predicament. But they spend all of their time with two girls who are legal — Elissa, who was born in the United States, and Clara, who has a green card. Each of the girls views the others as her equals, yet the world does not treat them that way.

Their situation becomes increasingly painful and complex as the four young women approach adulthood, and Marisela and Yadira watch their two legal friends gain opportunities that are not available to them. All four hold American aspirations, but only Clara and Elissa have the documents necessary to realize those hopes. Their friendship starts to divide along lines of immigration status.

Then a political firestorm begins. An illegal immigrant commits a horrendous crime in Denver, and a local congressman seizes on the act as proof of all that is wrong with American society. Arguments over immigration rage fiercely, and the girls' lives play out against a backdrop of intense debate over whether they have any right to live in the country where they have grown up.

This brilliant, fast-paced work of narrative journalism is a vivid coming-of-age story about girlhood, friendship, and, most of all, identity — what it means to fake an identity, steal an identity, or inherit an identity from one's parents and country. No matter what one's opinions are about immigration, Just Like Us offers fascinating insight into one of our most complicated social issues today. The girls, their families, those who welcome them, and those who object to their presence all must grapple with the same deep dilemma: Who is an American? Who gets to live in America? And what happens when we don't agree?

Synopsis:

Just Like Us tells the story of four high school students whose parents entered this country illegally from Mexico. We meet the girls on the eve of their senior prom in Denver, Colorado. All four of the girls have grown up in the United States, and all four want to live the American dream, but only two have documents. As the girls attempt to make it into college, they discover that only the legal pair sees a clear path forward. Their friendships start to divide along lines of immigration status.

Then the political firestorm begins. A Mexican immigrant shoots and kills a police officer. The author happens to be married to the Mayor of Denver, a businessman who made his fortune in the restaurant business. In a bizarre twist, the murderer works at one of the Mayor’s restaurants—under a fake Social Security number. A local Congressman seizes upon the murder as proof of all that is wrong with American society and Colorado becomes the place where national arguments over immigration rage most fiercely. The rest of the girls’ lives play out against this backdrop of intense debate over whether they have any right to live here.

Just Like Us is a coming-of-age story about girlhood and friendship, as well as the resilience required to transcend poverty. It is also a book about identity—what it means to steal an identity, what it means to have a public identity, what it means to inherit an identity from parents. The girls, their families, and the critics who object to their presence allow the reader to watch one of the most complicated social issues of our times unfurl in a major American city. And the perspective of the author gives the reader insight into both the most powerful and the most vulnerable members of American society as they grapple with the same dilemma: Who gets to live in America? And what happens when we don’t agree?

About the Author

Helen Thorpe was born in London and grew up in Medford, New Jersey. Her journalism has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine, and The Texas Observer. Thorpe has worked for Texas Monthly, The New York Observer, and The New Yorker, where she wrote "Talk of the Town" stories. She is married to John Hickenlooper, the mayor of Denver. Just Like Us is her first book.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

McGuffy Ann, August 5, 2012 (view all comments by McGuffy Ann)
This is an important book for our time. Immigration is a hot topic in America today, morally and politically. This book puts the spotlight on four young Hispanic women as they deal with this issue from the inside.

We meet four lifelong friends: Marisela, Elissa, Clara and Yadira. The girls grew up together, with the dream of an education and life as free Americans, earning the freedom from generations of poverty.

Only two of the girls, Clara and Elissa, have legal immigration status, however. Yadira and Marisela do not have the required, necessary papers to be in America legally. They become adept at working around the system, such as paying for fake social security numbers, enabling them to work.

As the four girl become adults, they are faced with the facts of the consequences of illegal status. Though gifted and college bound, Yadira and Marisela must have the necessary paperwork to further themselves. They cannot even fly without papers. Deportation is a significant and very real concern. They are acutely aware that their legal friends do not have this issue.

Adding to the book is the fact that the author’s husband is the mayor of Denver, while Denver is embroiled in a national immigration battle. The case involves a Mexican immigrant who shoots and kills a police officer.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No

Product Details

ISBN:
9781416538981
Author:
Thorpe, Helen
Publisher:
Scribner Book Company
Subject:
Denver (Colo.) Social life and customs.
Subject:
Denver (Colo.) Social conditions.
Subject:
Ethnic Studies - Hispanic American Studies
Subject:
Anthropology - Cultural
Subject:
Emigration & Immigration
Subject:
General Social Science
Subject:
Ethnic Studies-Hispanic American
Subject:
illegal immigrants; immigration; children of immigrants; Mexico; Denver, Colorado; American dream; immigration status; coming-of-age; girlhood; poverty; immigrant teenagers; personal identity; social issues; Random Family; Adrian Nicole Le Blanc; American
Subject:
illegal immigrants; immigration; children of immigrants; Mexico; Denver, Colorado; American dream; immigration status; coming-of-age; girlhood; poverty; immigrant teenagers; personal identity; social issues; Random Family; Adrian Nicole Le Blanc; American
Subject:
Soldier Girls; illegal immigrants; immigration; children of immigrants; Mexico; Denver, Colorado; American dream; immigration status; coming-of-age; girlhood; poverty; immigrant teenagers; personal identity; social issues; Random Family; Adrian Nicole Le
Subject:
Soldier Girls; illegal immigrants; immigration; children of immigrants; Mexico; Denver, Colorado; American dream; immigration status; coming-of-age; girlhood; poverty; immigrant teenagers; personal identity; social issues; Random Family; Adrian Nicole Le
Subject:
Soldier Girls; illegal immigrants; immigration; children of immigrants; Mexico; Denver, Colorado; American dream; immigration status; coming-of-age; girlhood; poverty; immigrant teenagers; personal identity; social issues; Random Family; Adrian Nicole Le
Subject:
Soldier Girls; illegal immigrants; immigration; children of immigrants; Mexico; Denver, Colorado; American dream; immigration status; coming-of-age; girlhood; poverty; immigrant teenagers; personal identity; social issues; Random Family; Adrian Nicole Le
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
20110531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
416
Dimensions:
8.44 x 5.5 in

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Related Subjects


History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » Hispanic American Studies
History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » Immigration
History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » Latin American
History and Social Science » Sociology » American Studies

Just Like Us: The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$11.50 In Stock
Product details 416 pages Scribner Book Company - English 9781416538981 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Just Like Us tells the story of four high school students whose parents entered this country illegally from Mexico. We meet the girls on the eve of their senior prom in Denver, Colorado. All four of the girls have grown up in the United States, and all four want to live the American dream, but only two have documents. As the girls attempt to make it into college, they discover that only the legal pair sees a clear path forward. Their friendships start to divide along lines of immigration status.

Then the political firestorm begins. A Mexican immigrant shoots and kills a police officer. The author happens to be married to the Mayor of Denver, a businessman who made his fortune in the restaurant business. In a bizarre twist, the murderer works at one of the Mayor’s restaurants—under a fake Social Security number. A local Congressman seizes upon the murder as proof of all that is wrong with American society and Colorado becomes the place where national arguments over immigration rage most fiercely. The rest of the girls’ lives play out against this backdrop of intense debate over whether they have any right to live here.

Just Like Us is a coming-of-age story about girlhood and friendship, as well as the resilience required to transcend poverty. It is also a book about identity—what it means to steal an identity, what it means to have a public identity, what it means to inherit an identity from parents. The girls, their families, and the critics who object to their presence allow the reader to watch one of the most complicated social issues of our times unfurl in a major American city. And the perspective of the author gives the reader insight into both the most powerful and the most vulnerable members of American society as they grapple with the same dilemma: Who gets to live in America? And what happens when we don’t agree?

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