The publication of this novel stirred up a much needed debate about authenticity, representation, and cultural appropriation. There are valid points on both sides of this argument, and context is everything, but my problem with this book isn't so much that Cummins doesn't represent the community she is writing about. Worse, she is exploiting it to craft a genre crime/suspense thriller that removes the very compelling and immediate issues of asylum and abuse of immigrants into the realm of escapist entertainment. Her protagonist is an upper middle-class Mexican woman who forms a close relationship with a drug cartel kingpin. Not exactly your typical asylum candidate. Her escape and the cat-and-mouse play between these two forms the plot--another damsel in distress. True, she provides some compelling descriptions of the dangers and fears of getting across the border, but does so in service to a genre not known for its realism. Escapism is fine, but there are life-and-death issues in the real world that deserve better treatment.

kmcdouall's rating:
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