The Distance Between Us: A Memoir

The Distance Between Us: A Memoir

by Reyna Grande
4.5 12


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The Distance Between Us: A Memoir by Reyna Grande

From an award-winning novelist and sought-after public speaker, an eye-opening memoir about life before and after illegally emigrating from Mexico to the United States.

After publishing two acclaimed and award-winning novels about the Mexican immigrant experience and the families forced to navigate its twists and turns, celebrated author Reyna Grande reveals her own troubled and triumphant story as an illegal immigrant in the heartfelt memoir The Distance Between Us.

Born in Mexico and raised by her grandparents after her parents left to find work in the U.S., at nine years old, Reyna enters the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant to live with her father. Filled with hope, she quickly realizes that life in America is far from perfect. Her father isn’t the man she dreamed about all those years in Mexico. His big dreams for his children are what gets them across the border, but his alcoholism and rage undermine all his hard work and good intentions. Reyna finds solace from a violent home in books and writing, inspired by the Latina voices she reads. After an explosive altercation, Reyna breaks away, going on to become the first person in her family to obtain a higher education, earning a college degree and then an M.F.A. in Creative Writing.

At a time when immigration politics are at a boiling point in America, Reyna Grande is an important public voice for Mexican Americans and immigrants of every origin. The Distance Between Us has the power to change minds and hearts.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451661774
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: 08/28/2012
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 6.36(w) x 9.16(h) x 0.88(d)

About the Author

Reyna Grande is the author of two award-winning novels. Across a Hundred Mountains received an American Book Award, and Dancing with Butterflies was the recipient of an International Latino Book Award. Reyna lives in Los Angeles.

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The Distance Between Us: A Memoir 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! As a teacher I am always searching for books that will help me to understand my students, where they come from, and how I can be a better teacher to them. I have read several books about Mexico and immigration, and I would rate this as one of the best. Reyna Grande has opened her heart and shared her life with us so that we can understand the predicament that so many of our students find themselves in. So many feel rejected by both countries. Adolescence is difficult at best, our immigrant children have even more obstacles to overcome. Language while the most obvious is not the only challenge they face. I love this story because it is a story of success, love and determination. The actions of a teacher made a difference in the life of a child who really could have gone either way. At a time when everyone has an opinion about immigration we need to remember compassion. I have read all 3 of Reyna Grande's books and I am anxiously awaiting her next book! Thank you Reyna Grande!
vbecerra More than 1 year ago
Wow. Where to begin? This book is amazing. It shares the story immigration from the point of view we so rarely hear about, the point of view from those that are left behind. It is empowering to read about the struggles that Ms. Grande encountered and still managed to overcome them to now become a successful writer. Reading about Ms. Grande's difficult life has filled me with the much needed motivation to continue to fight any obstacles that stand in my way and become the most successful person I can be. The American dream has not been so beautifully written until now. You must read it for yourself!
Elaine_Campbell More than 1 year ago
A deeply moving and excellently written memoir that leaves the reader with much food for thought. And for those of us that have often wondered about the lives of immigrants from our neighbor country to the south and the lives of the very poor in Mexico, this book opens a door of knowledge and feeling that can't help but leave an indelible imprint on our very identities. It must have taken great courage to write this book because writing a memoir involves a revisitation to the past and intensive refocusing on some areas one would rather gloss over and not dwell upon. The story begins in Iguala when Reyna is very young. Already her father has left the family and gone to "el otro lado" in search of a better life. Reyna and her siblings, Mago and Carlos, do not see him again for many years. Eventually their mother leaves as well to join her husband, and the children are left with cruel (I would venture to describe the grandmother as sadistic) grandparents. Through the strength and guidance of the elder sister, Mago, the children were able to endure extrenely negative circumstances. When the father leaves the mother for another woman, she returns to Mexico. Yet she is strangely uncommitted to her children; her own needs never having been fulfilled, she is unable to leave that vortex to administer to others, except sporadically. When she abandons the children several times, their father reappears and he decides to risk illegally crossing the border with them. Thus begins a new life and a turning point of the book. All is not sunshine and roses, however. The children are able to regain some of their health; they have access to superior education; but their father is an alcoholic with an explosive, often violent temper and beatings in the home are a way of life. What saves Reyna from repeating the abuse syndrome appears to be her love of beauty and the arts. These may have been the impetuses that led to scholastic, and later, professional achievements. The writing style is condensed (no flacid wandering in this book), the chapters in the main are short, each having a powerful impact, and the similes are always of concrete objects, one even referring to cotton candy. Down to earth, this book does not have a dishonest moment. Highly recommended, but get out your hanky. Even if for tears of joy, it may be needed.
Two2dogs More than 1 year ago
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMEND I loved this book, its a memoir so that makes it more powerful. Immigrants never leave their home country because they want to its ALWAYS for a beter life for themselves and their families. This story tells of the heartbreaking effects it has on the children left behind. I've read all three of Reyna Grande's books and enjoyed them all, I hope with all my heart she continues to write, the Mexican American community needs her!
Miranda More than 1 year ago
When I read this book, time went really fast because the author has the ability to touch other people. Her story is a little sad but she always use a another way to think about her life. I felt touching when she described how her siblings and her are bond to each other because they did not have parents beside them. The bond between the author and her sister is invaluable. Moreover, when the author chose to forgive her father, I could not help crying. It was sad but somehow touching when she wrote’’You made me who I am.’(Reyna Grande 322) The author kept ask herself if she had know what life she would have with her father in the U.S., would she still followed him to this country. It is a deep question because the author faced to many dilemma because of her father’s poor when she immigrated to the U.S. However, her father gave her a chance to be educated. She had the opportunity to write. She even became a english teacher in Pasadena City College. Thus, the answer for her question is yes when she saw her father took his last breath. Although I don’t know if the author is a descriptive or great author or not, the thing I am definitely sure is that her attitude to her life and family makes her tone and writing style beautiful and warm.The memorable quotes about this book :''You made me who I am.''( Reyna Grande 320)This quotes represents a bond between her father and her. That is invaluable. Another quotes is ''But no poverty we felt behind. ( Reyna Grande 250)This shows that what life she had in the U.S. However, she never gives up. That also reminds me how lucky I am because at least I have a god life. I do not need to worry about money. “I’ve been waiting for this book for decades. The American story of the new millennium is the story of the Latino immigrant, yet how often has the story been told by the immigrant herself? What makes Grande’s beautiful memoir all the more extraordinary is that, through this hero’s journey, she speaks for millions of immigrants whose voices have gone unheard.” –Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street I like this book. The author she describes her story in easy way. She did not spoil her life or her succeed. She just tell us how she gets over the difficult she had. That enlightens me a lot. I hope everyone who keep complain about their life should read this book so that they can reflect how fortunate they are. “Reyna Grande is a fierce, smart, shimmering light of a writer with an important story to tell.” –Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail The sadness at the heart of Grande’s story is unrelenting; this is the opposite of a light summer read. But that’s OK, because . . . this book should have a long shelf life.” –Slate I like this book. The author she describes her story in easy way. She did not spoil her life or her succeed. She just tell us how she gets over the difficult she had. That enlightens me a lot. I hope everyone who keep complain about their life should read this book so that they can reflect how fortunate they are.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book that brought back many memories and helped me understand many things I already knew but couldn't put together
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
[ I caaaan't. . . ] <p> "Hm?" She asked distractedly, zitting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautiful Memoir. Highly recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From the very first page and the image of La Llorona readers will be pulled into Reyna's family story. At times heart-wrenching and at other times hopeful, everyone should read. I can see why reviewers and media have loved this book.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book might be helpful for a teenager who lives in a loveless or abusive home. It reads like the diary of a teenager forever hoping that her parents would give her some positive encouragement and love. I was disappointed in the book. I guess I just got tired of her "Woe is me" prose