Wednesday, September 1, 2010

First Crossing

So, when you read a collection of stories with one uniting theme, you'll basically end up reading the same story over and over again, right?

All ten fictional short stories in First Crossing: Stories About Teen Immigrants revolve around the act of emigrating out of one country -- such as Cambodia, Haiti, Kazakhstan, Mexico, South Korea, Venezuela -- and immigrating into America. I was expecting the stories to overlap content, but as I kept on going, I was surprised as to how different each teenager's story was. How some girls longed for their home country and other boys followed their parents' dream of a new life right along side them. How each family immigrated for different reasons and in some very different ways -- one involved a boy wedged beneath the hood of a car next to an running engine, yet others were as simple as a very lengthy airplane trip. Some families moved due to better jobs on American soil. Some were moved by companies or opposition to the political powers that be. Others for reasons unknown -- except to the girl's birth mother, whoever she was...

Anyways, even though the fictional stories in First Crossing are united by the immigration process and the human desire to be understood, they all stand out boldly as their own complete narratives. Each award winning author writes in his or her own powerful way that does not work to ban immigration or to promote it. The focus of each story is on the teenager's life and their unique experiences that reveal the ugly truths and the humorous turns that life can give in an unfamiliar culture.

I wasn't expecting to want to read First Crossing from cover to cover. Rather, I was foreseeing myself to get through two or three chapters and then move on to something else in my towering-to-read-stacks. Boy, was I wrong! I couldn't put it down. Even when my body was screaming at me to go to bed or go make dinner, I had to finish each chapter and stop myself from starting the next.

Brookline High students, you have one week left to read this novel. Don't wait to the wee hours of the morning the night before school starts. You might just enjoy the multiple stories this book has to offer!

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