I’ve really enjoyed this novel so far. As I’ve been reading the first part, I have encountered myself noticing how the reader is not really presented with any kind of suspense. Instead we are simply following a family through their road trip through the United States. As we join them in this journey, we learn about their family interaction, the relationship between the mom and the dad, music, photography, literature and the political climate in relation to the immigration crisis at the southwestern border. All this is narrated through the eyes of the wife. I must say that when I first saw the title of the novel, I was expecting something that would focus on tackling the child migrant crisis but after reading this first part it seems that this is the backdrop of the story. It is a novel with immigration. It’s a backdrop of the family road trip where the family also observes the wide variety of Americans in the country, witnessing things such as the way they live and their political and social beliefs. As the family is witness of this immigration crisis through listening to the radio, they also have a crisis of their own. This crisis revolves around the marriage presented, which is slowly dissolving throughout the family road trip. Though physically they are together, emotionally and internally the mom and dad seem to be lost in the direction of their marriage.
Throughout the journey the mother also reflects on how she wants to work and present her project on the border situation. As the trip progresses, she realizes that she wants to document the stories about the missing migrant children, something that is brought to her attention after hearing of the disappearances of the two girls that are part of the legal case that she has become interested in. The mother wants her project to humanize these children, as she shares that she does not want her project to use the suffering and unjust treatment of these innocent beings for political intentions, sob stories or to follow a narrative of us vs them or how she states it “patriots versus illegal aliens”. The mother is in search to give a human face to these beings who are victims of a terrible situation. This crisis that is touched on in this book clearly reminds me of the situation that is still happening presently and is still greatly politicized today.