Solito : a memoir

by Zamora, Javier,

Format: Print Book 2022
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Summary
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * READ WITH JENNA BOOK CLUB PICK AS FEATURED ON TODAY * A young poet tells the inspiring story of his migration from El Salvador to the United States at the age of nine in this "gripping memoir" (NPR) of bravery, hope, and finding family.

"I read Solito with my heart in my throat and did not burst into tears until the last sentence. What a person, what a writer, what a book."--Emma Straub

"A riveting tale of perseverance and the lengths humans will go to help each other in times of struggle."--Dave Eggers

ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Public Library
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times Book Review, NPR, The Washington Post, Kirkus Reviews

Trip. My parents started using that word about a year ago--"one day, you'll take a trip to be with us. Like an adventure."

Javier Zamora's adventure is a three-thousand-mile journey from his small town in El Salvador, through Guatemala and Mexico, and across the U.S. border. He will leave behind his beloved aunt and grandparents to reunite with a mother who left four years ago and a father he barely remembers. Traveling alone amid a group of strangers and a "coyote" hired to lead them to safety, Javier expects his trip to last two short weeks.

At nine years old, all Javier can imagine is rushing into his parents' arms, snuggling in bed between them, and living under the same roof again. He cannot foresee the perilous boat trips, relentless desert treks, pointed guns, arrests and deceptions that await him; nor can he know that those two weeks will expand into two life-altering months alongside fellow migrants who will come to encircle him like an unexpected family.

A memoir as gripping as it is moving, Solito provides an immediate and intimate account not only of a treacherous and near-impossible journey, but also of the miraculous kindness and love delivered at the most unexpected moments. Solito is Javier Zamora's story, but it's also the story of millions of others who had no choice but to leave home.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "This wrenching, thrilling memoir by poet Zamora (Unaccompanied, 2017) looks back at the grueling and sometimes surprisingly exhilarating two months in 1999 during which Zamora, then nine years old, attempted to illegally migrate from El Salvador to the U.S. His parents had already fled for California several years earlier as a result of civil war in El Salvador; Zamora was left behind with his grandparents in a small town. When his parents raised enough money for him to be taken across the border by "coyotes," Zamora set off in the company of six strangers who quickly became his surrogate family. The author writes in the present tense and sticks scrupulously to the point of view of his child self, who is as scared of using a flush toilet as of making a dangerous ocean trip on an overloaded boat, and who, though often lonely, unhappy, and in pain, also relishes the adventure of new experiences. "Staying at a motel. Check. Using a fancy bathroom. Check," he thinks with satisfaction. Unlike the author and the reader, who are constantly aware of just how much danger the boy faces, the young narrator is caught up in his day-to-day activities, always thinking he will be reunited with his parents in a matter of days. Title to the contrary, the boy is not solito: he's part of a group of fellow migrants who, though they've never met him before, ensure his survival under conditions from which he almost certainly would have otherwise died. The adult writer's gratitude to these people is palpable. Readers will come away with a visceral knowledge of the ordeals faced by those who attempt to cross the border into the U.S."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Poet Zamora (Unaccompanied) presents an immensely moving story of desperation and hardship in this account of his childhood migration from El Salvador to the U.S. To reunite with his parents--who left during the Salvadoran Civil War--nine-year-old Zamora was forced to rely on the help of coyotes to get to America in 1999. But, as he relates in affecting detail, the voyage for his group was perilous and trust was a rare commodity. What was supposed to be an easy two-week trip became a two-month nightmare pocked with seedy characters, days spent locked in various hideouts before moving, and a never-ending stream of promises shattered. Between dangerous marches through the desert and being caught at the U.S. border multiple times, Zamora's group was forced to depend on one another for survival. The surrogate family they formed offered Zamora respite from the despair, and he transforms the experience into a stirring portrait of the power of human connection. Rendering the end of their journey in a final heartbreaking scene, Zamora writes, "I can feel my heart in my stomach... I close my eyes and take a long sniff. Their sweat, the smell of loroco and masa, is faint, but it's them." This sheds an urgent and compassionate light on the human lives caught in an ongoing humanitarian crisis. (Sept.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Zamora, Javier -- Childhood and youth.
Unaccompanied refugee children -- El Salvador -- Biography.
Unaccompanied refugee children -- United States -- Biography.
Refugee children -- United States -- Biography.
Refugee children -- El Salvador -- Biography.
Immigrant children -- United States -- Biography.
Immigrant children -- El Salvador -- Biography.
Refugees -- El Salvador -- Biography.
Refugees -- United States -- Biography.
Immigrants -- El Salvador -- Biography.
Immigrants -- United States -- Biography.
Poets, American -- Biography.
Salvadoran Americans -- Biography.
Salvadorans -- Biography.
Border crossing -- Mexican-American Border Region -- Case studies.
Autobiographies.
Publisher London ; New York :Hogarth,2022
Other Titles Solito
Language English
Notes "Read with Jenna"--Jacket.
Description 384 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN 9780593498064
0593498062
Other Classic View