Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America

Atria. Sept. 2020. 352p. ISBN 9781982128654. $28. MEMOIR
Hinojosa’s (Raising Raul: Adventures Raising Myself and My Son) latest is illuminating reading in many respects. Mexico-born, the author came to the United States with her family in the early 1960s as an infant. Here, she covers her early life growing up with her family in Chicago, and details her college experiences to explain how she became a reporter. Most important, her book focuses on the experiences of immigrants in America; Hinojosa’s efforts as a reporter of these stories and struggles are also examined closely. She explains how to tell a story in a way that touches viewers but also the effect on her own life, as she discusses facing down media executives, who saw her work on Latino issues as having an “agenda.” Hinojosa describes the documentaries on immigration she has produced and gives a thorough history of the past 30 years of immigration laws and their impact on people coming to this country. Seeing the world through Hinojosa’s eyes, readers travel to the Texas for-profit prisons now housing immigrants who were cited for, in many cases, minor offenses, and those awaiting deportation to countries they left as infants.
VERDICT This riveting account will appeal to anyone with an interest in the history of immigration and current U.S. policies.
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