From Publishers Weekly
Urrea, a Mexican-born American, worked from 1978 to 1982 for a Protestant aid group in Tijuana, and he wrote these fragmentary, evocative tales of heartbreak and hope for the San Diego Reader after he returned to the region in 1990. "Poverty is personal: it smells and it shocks and it invades your space," Urrea declares, and he admits to being thrilled by both the goodness and the squalor he knew intimately. He visits the dumps where people live, their possessions a bed and a car-battery-powered television. He travels with a Tijuana cop, working "a city of famed vice," and learns how the cop extracts sexual favors from American women. In one arresting chapter he records his father's death in a car accident, the tragedy compounded by police and funeral costs and a battle with the father's insurance company. Urrea ends with a manic, magic "Christmas story," about a gift giveaway organized by a San Diego rock radio station and attended by a band called the Trash Can Sinatras. There Urrea reunites with Negra--who as a little girl made a shrine out of the doll he gave her, and who says, "I never forgot you, Luis." Photos not seen by PW .
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Urrea, a San Diego native, recounts his experiences in Tijuana and other areas on the U.S.-Mexico border from 1979 to 1991. He meets residents of the Tijuana city dump, visits rural orphanages with American missionaries, and goes on calls with a Tijuana police officer. Urrea's candid style does not sensationalize these situations; each of his Mexican acquaintances is an individual whose story is told with respect and understanding. As a personal and insightful view of Mexican border residents and their lives, Across the Wire is a more detailed and cohesive treatment of the topic than Debbie Nathan's Women and Other Aliens ( LJ 5/1/91). Highly recommended. --Gwen Gregory, U.S. Courts Lib., Phoenix
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.