The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez

The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez

A Border Story

eBook - 2019
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Winner of the 2020 Pacific Northwest Book Award | Winner of the 2020 Washington State Book Award | Named a 2019 Southwest Book of the Year | Shortlisted for the 2019 Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize

What happens when an undocumented teen mother takes on the U.S. immigration system?

When Aida Hernandez was born in 1987 in Agua Prieta, Mexico, the nearby U.S. border was little more than a worn-down fence. Eight years later, Aida's mother took her and her siblings to live in Douglas, Arizona. By then, the border had become one of the most heavily policed sites in America.
Undocumented, Aida fought to make her way. She learned English, watched Friends, and, after having a baby at sixteen, dreamed of teaching dance and moving with her son to New York City. But life had other plans. Following a misstep that led to her deportation, Aida found herself in a Mexican city marked by violence, in a country that was not hers. To get back to the United States and reunite with her son, she embarked on a harrowing journey. The daughter of a rebel hero from the mountains of Chihuahua, Aida has a genius for survival—but returning to the United States was just the beginning of her quest.
Taking us into detention centers, immigration courts, and the inner lives of Aida and other daring characters, The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez reveals the human consequences of militarizing what was once a more forgiving border. With emotional force and narrative suspense, Aaron Bobrow-Strain brings us into the heart of a violently unequal America. He also shows us that the heroes of our current immigration wars are less likely to be perfect paragons of virtue than complex, flawed human beings who deserve justice and empathy all the same.

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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PimaLib_SWBooks Jan 03, 2020

“Look at this,” Aida Hernandez would say to visitors, lifting her shirt to reveal knife scars crisscrossing her belly. “I died, and I lived.” However miraculous she might find it, nothing in life is that simple, as this compelling account proves. Aaron Bobrow-Strain chronicles the efforts of this Mexican-born, US-raised mother to reconnect with her young American son. Aida is a border casualty. Her family split between Agua Prieta, Sonora and Douglas, Arizona, she was reared amid poverty and domestic abuse. She had a child at sixteen, was deported to Mexico, nearly murdered, incarcerated in the US, and crippled by PTSD. Extensively researched, *The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez* illustrates the challenges of historic cross-border relations and economic realities, domestic violence, questionably punitive US policies for undocumented entrants, plus humanitarian efforts to assist along the militarized border. It’s unforgettable. - Christine Wald-Hopkins, Southwest Books of the Year 2019, Pima County Public Library

g
garnette
Jul 23, 2019

I had considered myself reasonably well informed about border, immigration, and Border Patrol issues before I listened to the audiobook version of this, but nothing ever tied it all together like this before. As a work of non-fiction, this is game-changing, a story well told that educates but never sounds preachy or political. Just the facts, but all the facts it takes to paint the complete picture.

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