A raw account of a young American abroad grasping for meaning, this pulsating story of violent protests, illegal border crossings and loss of innocence raises questions about the futility of borders and the irresistible power of nationalism.
Illegal tells the true story of love and deception, revolutions and deportations as it chronicles the trials of John Dennehy. Naïve New Yorker, Dennehy refuses to be part of the feverish nationalism of post 9/11 America. His search for hope takes him to Ecuador, where he falls in love with firebrand Lucia, who perfects his broken Spanish while they find solidarity in the brewing social upheaval. Amid the unrest, Dennehy is arrested and deported to the United States but he has found something worth fighting for.
Plot: Dennehy’s timely memoir recounts the author’s disillusionment with American nationalism and subsequent travels to Ecuador. Dennehy provides an intriguing perspective on national borders, the impetus that drives individuals to risk illegally immigrating, and the experience of doing so.
Prose: The author writes with candid hindsight, polished structure, and unadorned prose.
Originality: Dennehy offers a unique perspective on immigration, as he presents his story of leaving the U.S. in search of greater belonging and personal truth.
Character Development: As a character within his own story, Dennehy writes with compelling honesty about his past ignorance and evolving understanding of country, borders, and identity.
Date Submitted: July 12, 2018