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Just Like Us: The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America Hardcover – September 22, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
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"Just Like Us beautifully and powerfully reminds us of the individuals whose lives lie at the center of the chaos that is our approach to immigration. Helen Thorpe has taken policy and turned it into literature." -- Malcolm Gladwell
"With a gaze that is tender and ever alert, Helen Thorpe follows the lives of four young women -- Mexican and American -- so alike in their coming-of-age, but separated by the ironies of geography, the border that cuts through the heart." -- Richard Rodriguez, author of Brown: The Last Discovery of America
"This is a penetrating, fair, and refreshingly personal examination of the passions that fuel the immigration controversy in this country. Helen Thorpe measures the arguments on both sides of this national debate against the actual human costs imposed by the status quo. This book will find a central place in this debate." -- Lawrence Wright, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11
"With a perfect combination of narrative and reflection, empathy and analysis, Helen Thorpe tells both a particular story of four irresistibly engaging young women, and a universal story of the struggle between human aspiration and intractable obstacles. If this book gets widely read, our national conversation on immigration could make a shift from 'shrill and draining' to 'thoughtful and productive.' In this book, the force and power of journalism reach their peak." -- Patricia Nelson Limerick, author of The Legacy of Conquest and Something in the Soil
Top Customer Reviews
Through reading this book, I learned to care about how these girls survived the conflicting laws in the US that seemed, for the most part, to prevent them from achieving the American dream. Thorpe relates to their dilemmas, having been an immigrant herself. She documents how their fiercest opponent, Tom Tancredo, himself offspring of immigrant grandparents, tries to gain political capital by blocking illegal immigrants from receiving decent educational programs, health care, and respect. At the same time, the Mexican immigrants--both legal and illegal--must pick fruit and vegetables, clean dirty buildings, and remodel other wealthy citizens' houses in order to survive.
As Thorpe weaves these girls' lives through the events swirling around them, I found myself staying up late to read one more chapter, or two, or three before going to sleep.Read more ›
We meet them in their senior year. All are good students; two are legal and two are not. All four want to attend college, but the two without papers have problems figuring out how to pay for tuition without access to in-state tuition rates and financial aid. Thorpe describes the many dimensions of their lives, their academic experiences, their jobs, their families and their social lives.
Helen Thorpe also brings in the relevant political issues concerning immigration. She interviews Tom Tancredo, a former Colorado Congressman who has strong opinions about illegal immigration. Thorpe also describes various national votes and proposals and how they affect the girls and the possibilities for their futures in the United States.
Denver has many immigrants from many countries, but when the subject of immigrants comes up, many people think of Mexicans. And, even though Americans of Mexican descent share Colorado's history for generations, many people think of Mexicans as illegal.
Thorpe, as the Denver mayor's wife, is brought into the details of the shooting death of an off-duty policeman, working at a Mexican social club.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Insightful book that contribute greatly to understanding the plight of the undocumented.Published 21 hours ago by Connie Shoemaker
This book provides an realistic inside look at what it's like to be an undocumented teenager in America today.Published 1 month ago by happijep
A timely, well documented book about four Mexican women and their journeys growing up as immigrants in Colorado. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Nancy Hochman
This is a brilliantly written story about four amazing young women. Helen Thorpe writes a powerfully true account of the lives of Mexican immigrants living in Colorado, from... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Carrie B Esposito
I do not know much about the illegal immigrants so this was was interesting. Thorpe's second book was much better written.Published 9 months ago by qal