The book Catfish and Mandela by Andrew X. Pham talk about the failed expectation by the immigrants in the United States. Immigrants move to the United States in pursuit of the American with the hope of changing their lives, economically, socially and even academically. However, the moment they arrive in the country reality sets in and soon most of them realize the country is not as heaven as portrayed. More often than not the hopes and expectations turns to frustration and hopelessness as the dream remain just that, a dream. In essence, Pham believes that despite America bringing hopes to the immigrants during their early stages of arrival in the country, the country abandons them before they develop a strong foundation. The idea is captured where he writes “America fished us out of the ocean like downing cockroaches and fed us and clothed us.”
The character that resonates with me in this book is Anh. She is a mother with hopes of flying to the United States to secure the future of her family. Every mother loves her family, especially children and would wish to secure them a good future. Anh represents any parent who wishes their children a happier life than themselves. All her dreams are relocating to the United States and raising her family in the land of opportunities. However, she experiences difficulties in understanding the American culture and feels unloved by her children. Nonetheless, she still loves them and cares for them.
The biggest lesson from this book is we should control our expectations so as to limit heartbreaks when we do not meet them. Anh had too many hopes and believed the life in the United States would bring her joy. However, she faces new challenges like culture shock and disintegration in her family.
Just like Catfish and Mandela, In the Country We Love by Diane Guerrero also has the theme of failed expectation of the immigrants. The author of the book Dianne Guerrero, a daughter of immigrants, narrates her ordeals that begin when she is fourteen. One day she arrives home from school only to find her parents not around. Diane writes “I returned home from school to discover that my hardworking immigrant parents had been taken away.” This is the instant that changed her forever as she had to start to live independently. In chapter two of the book, Diane narrates the history of her family and points out that they lived in poverty in their native country, Columbia. The family lacked basic sanitation facilities like toilets, clean water or even electricity. Her parents then move to the United States with hopes of securing a good life for themselves and their children’s future. However, the family finds this dream elusive as they have to struggle to get the US citizenship and only their daughter Diane is eligible for the US citizenship since she is born in the country.
Diane is my favorite character in this book due to several reasons. First, she struggles against all the odds to become one of the most celebrated actors in the United States. Secondly, she expresses her genuine love to her parents and the separation by the government weighs her down. Nonetheless, she keeps working hard despite the challenges and ends up one of the success stories.
Resilience is the primary lesson from In the Country We Love. Diane withstands all challenges in her life and becomes a successful actress. The book teaches us to remain focus and resilient if we have to achieve our dreams.