If you have ever watched an episode of Orange is the New Black you have already fallen in love with Diane Guerrero. On the show, Guerrero plays a loveable, yet sassy Latina woman who is serving time in a Litchfield prison. Most loyal Orange fans would pick up her book after binge watching the series and craving more entertainment from the award-winning cast (like I did). While Diane’s story does not completely mirror her character Maritza’s from the Netflix series, her compelling tale of living on her own in America will pull at your heartstrings.
The story begins with a childhood full of love and family, as Guerrero recollects her memories before tragedy hit. As the chapters progress, the struggles of living with undocumented immigrants as parents surface. At such a young age Guerrero came to the realization that at any moment her parents could be taken from her because of a system that could not get them to legal status. She unveils the most tragic memories of being a young girl and coming home to no one. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency had taken her parents away from her. You will not have a dry eye by the end of this chapter. One misfortune leads to another as Guerrero struggles with living on her own, mental illness, career shifts and reclaiming a relationship with her parents thousands of miles away.
The heart wrenching reality of Guerrero’s account from the day her parents were deported will give you a new perspective on the lives of undocumented immigrants in this country. With an open heart, this book illustrates a life that so many people live every day. In the later chapters, Guerrero gives readers an understanding of how difficult it was to put her story out there for the world to read. Reviews from the media are not always kind, but what keeps her positive is when young girls call her an inspiration. Naturally, the book has political undertones, but readers are truly given insight on how the immigration process in this country works.
Overall, this memoir will take you for a ride on an emotional roller coaster. Guerrero’s tale of overcoming tragedy will have you admiring her more than you already did from that Netflix binge. This book will stay relevant for a long time. In a political climate where immigration is at the forefront, Guerrero’s story plays an important role, by giving a voice to the millions that live in fear every day while trying to live peacefully, “In the Country We Love.”
Erika Hodges is a MSU graduate, M3 Group photographer and videographer. She has two furbabies, Kudos the cat and Higgins the dog. She loves traveling, hiking, and spending time with family.