Review of Reyna Grande’s The Distance Between Us
By Isabelle Scott
“The United States is my home; it is the place that allowed me to dream, and later, to make those dreams into realities. But my umbilical cord was buried in Iguala, and I have never forgotten where I came from. I consider myself Mexican American because I am from both places. Both countries are within me. They coexist within me. And my writing is the bridge that connects them both” (Grande 320).
The Distance Between Us is a moving memoir in which Reyna Grande shares her story and experiences from the time she was a young girl living in Mexico—when her parents left her and her two siblings behind while they immigrated illegally to the U.S. for work—to the time when she herself immigrated to the U.S. and her struggles adjusting to a new culture, attempting to find home, find belonging, and find a reality for her dreams.
Through this memoir, Grande grapples with both the literal and metaphoric distances between herself and those she loves—whether through the actual distance of being left behind in Mexico and making sense of a life without parents, the distance when she immigrates to the U.S. herself and leaves a part of her family behind, or the emotional distance as family troubles and challenges arise, threatening her relationships. Over and over again, with her talent for writing, Grande describes her unique life experiences and shares her story with the world.
If you are interested in a moving true story that explores these complex ideas of family, illegal immigration, poverty, dreams, and opportunity, then The Distance Between Us may be the book for you.