finished reading

I've read the controversy surrounding this novel. I understand why this has stirred up such polarized views. I don't know if I would have read this without all the hype. And it's difficult to separate my thoughts about the book from the brouhaha. As a work of fiction, it is exactly that: fiction. If the author had tried to depict any of the secondary characters as more than stereotypes, the book would have been bogged down and would not have been the fast-paced read that it is. Knowing it's a work of fiction and not an expose, I was more forgiving and accepting and less critical.

From the publisher:
Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.

Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?

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