CB’s Review: “The Devil’s Highway”: A Hellish Journey

devils-highway-2

Do you know what it’s like to be so excited about a story that you run to tell everyone you know about it? And in your excitement, you may repeat yourself a lot. Or you may tend to over-explain something that may be relatively obvious to others. Or perhaps, the story is so emotionally titillating that you relay it a bit out of order and in an incoherent manner at times. Or even worse, can you remember being so thrilled by your story that you even give away the ending first? Luis Alberto Urrea makes all of these mistakes in his zest to tell the story of the Yuma 14, the Mexican immigrants, who died in 2001 while attempting to cross the brutal Arizona desert in The Devil’s Highway.

Although delivered in a confusing and long-winded manner, author Urrea spends 220 pages describing the complex illegal immigration and border situation between the United States and Mexico through the story of the Wellton 26 (also known as the Yuma 14). Seeking to explain the multilayered, multifaceted elements of illegal immigration, Urrea, a reporter, presents a multitude of viewpoints and characters to reflect the complexity of the issue. From Border Patrol accounts to the walkers who braved the desert to the coyotes and guides who smuggled them across the border, Urrea haphazardly presents their stories, which are often left incomplete.

His kaleidoscope storytelling begs the reader to organize and assemble the facts and information on his or her own into a comprehensible and moving tale of the 14 economic migrants who died during their walk across the “Camino del Diablo” and the 12 others who narrowly escaped death.

Somewhere in Urrea’s attempt to provide a full picture of the tragedy of the Mexican immigrants who got lost in the Southwestern desert, he forgot that his readers understand the very meaning of the word “desert” – hot areas that receive very little precipitation. He repeatedly describes, and often over-describes, the Arizona desert and its harsh conditions. The only thing left for him to do was to provide additional maps throughout the book to correspond with the number of descriptions of the terrain. And yes, that would be overdoing it.

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Get your read on this weekend in NYC

The HARLEM BOOK FAIR is this Saturday, July 19, 2008 from 11:00 – 6:00 p.m. The outdoor festival will be held on Saturday, July 19, from 11 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on West 135th Street between Malcolm X Blvd. to Frederick Douglass Blvd. I’m planning to stop by. Visit QBR for more information.

Fun and educational, what could be better?!
Smooches,
The Caramel Bella




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My Maltese puppy; lazy Sunday mornings; a day at the Beach; Yoga; breakfast anytime of the day; my gurls (and you know who you are); my family (I’m a daddy’s girl); making new friends; Los Angeles & Washington, DC; ocean views; Anguilla; healthy foods that don’t taste healthy; politics; "greenie" things; meditating; natural curls and movies.

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  • profileCARAMEL BELLA: This is my place to write about my adventures and mis-adventures in this thing called life. I discuss my passions: the environment, politics, art & culture, writing as well as yoga, health and spirituality. The one thing you can expect from this blog is that it is not what you expected. Thanks for reading! To reach me email thecaramelbella at gmail.

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