In this captivating memoir, Elizabeth Camarillo Gutierrez recounts her childhood as the U.S. born daughter of immigrants and what happened when, at fifteen, her parents were forced back to Mexico.
Born to Mexican immigrants south of the Rillito River in Tucson, Arizona, Elizabeth had the world at her fingertips as she entered her freshman year of high school as the number one student. But then, Elizabeth's own country took away the most important right a child has: a right to have a family. As her parents’ visas expired, they were forced to return to Mexico, leaving Elizabeth responsible for her younger brother, as well as her education. Determined to break the cycle of being “a statistic,” she knew that even though her parents couldn’t stay, there was no way she could let go of the opportunities the U.S. could provide.
Armed with only her passport and sheer teenage determination, Elizabeth became what her school would eventually describe as an unaccompanied, homeless youth, one of thousands of underage victims affected by family separation due to broken immigration laws. For fans of Educated by Tara Westover and The Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande, My Side of the River explores separation, generational trauma, and the toll of the American dream. It’s also, at its core, a love story between a brother and a sister who, no matter the cost, is determined to make the pursuit of his own dreams easier than it was for her.