Monday, December 8, 2014

The Jaguar's Children; John Vaillant

The Jaguar's Children; John Vaillant
Houghton, Mifflin Harcourt

In The Jaguar's Children, Hector Gonzalez is convinced by his friend, Cesar Santiago to join him in an illegal attempt to cross the border to the US from Oaxaca in Mexico. The two along with 13 others are hidden in an empty water truck, and at least Hector, we know, has paid 30,000 pesos for his chance at freedom.
As the group makes their journey, it soon becomes evident that Lupo, the driver has abandoned the truck, leaving the immigrants who are confined in the tank with little food or water. Hoping to be rescued, Hector uses a hidden cellphone of his unconscious friend Cesar, in an attempt to send a signal for help.
The story is told solely by Hector through a series of texts and sound files. It’s a very different way to read a novel for sure. The story is compelling, but gets a bit confusing as a there is almost a secret subplot involving Cesar who is trying to smuggle a separate story of his own across the border as well.  This part disappointed me, as I was expecting to learn more about the other illegals and their personal stories as I read and that never happened.  
The tension and desperation is felt throughout the story and that really drew me in. What causes individuals to that causes them to try such dangerous stunts? I was anxious to find out whether those involved would be rescued before it was too late.
The Jaguar’s Children is a good story especially given all the current controversy surrounding illegal immigrants. The story wasn’t perfect, but it did hold my interest pretty well.
4/5 stars (eGalley)

5 comments:

  1. It is always interesting to read stories that show the other side. Thanks for another great review Diane.

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  2. This does sound like a good, relevant story. I can't imagine how desperate people must feel to do something like that.

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  3. Sounds like an interesting read. I recently read The Lemon Orchard by Luanne Rice, which also showcased illegal immigration and the horrors that people face. Eye-opening, for sure.

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  4. I'm really looking forward to reading this book later this month!

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  5. I picked this up at BEA last year (they were really pushing it all the way back then!), but didn't realize it was written in texts and sound files. I'm very, very curious how it will end up reading and am glad to hear an early opinion.

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