The book Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario is one of the most appealing books of recent decades. The book dwells upon the journey of a Hispanic boy to the USA. The teenager is trying to find his mother who left him to earn money. The boy receives the money. But the lack of his mother makes him anxious and miserable. He has to face numerous hardships but he manages to achieve his goal and reunite with his mother.
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Apart from providing in-depth insights into the issue of immigration, the book highlights another important issue. The book is concerned with the issue of childhood traumas. Levine and Kline identify many reasons for childhood traumas (18). Loss is one of the most serious traumas a child can face. Of course, people often ‘underestimate’ children’s cognitive ability. Many adults think children do not understand many things. This may be true. However, even though children do not understand something, they feel everything.
Thus, when a child loses one of those he loves, this can lead to serious problems in future (Levine and Kline 5). Of course, the loss of mother is one of the hardest traumas. The book under consideration portrays this kind of trauma. Enrique is devoted to his mother and he “loves her deeply, as only a son can” (Nazario 3).
Of course, when his mother lives, he cannot understand anything, but he suffers as he does not have the closest one beside him. Nazario notes that children idealize their mothers when they are left for good (7). These children cannot fill in the emptiness which makes them suffer and/or seek for love.
There is a very suggestive passage at the beginning of the book. Lourdes’s job is to take care of a three-old child who always cries when her mother goes to work (Nazario 9). This short loss makes the child suffer greatly. Admittedly, Enrique’s sufferings are much deeper. Therefore, the boy decides to go to the USA to reunite with his mother. He has to live through a lot of difficulties (he is starving, he is in danger, he has no one to ask for help) to fill in his emptiness.
It is necessary to note that there are certain ways to address this trauma. Of course, Enrique cannot address a specialist and obtain professional help. He finds his own way to get rid of his problems. Nazario points out that 75% of “the unaccompanied children” go to the USA “looking for their mothers” (3). The book reveals all those horrors and dangers these children have to face.
The book raises many questions. Of course, it is difficult to think of particular measures to undertake to create appropriate conditions in such countries as Honduras. However, one of the major questions raised is concerned with the childhood trauma. It is possible to encourage children to remain in their families without facing lots of dangers.
The book reveals one of possible ways to address the childhood trauma. Obviously, this way is too dangerous. It is essential to think of other ways to address the loss. Children should be able to fill in the emptiness to be able to wait until their closest people return.
Discussion question: Based on the novel, what are ineffective and effective ways to address the childhood trauma of loss?
Levine, Peter A. and Maggie Kline. Trauma Through a Child’s Eyes: Awakening the Ordinary Miracle of Healing. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2006. Print.
Nazario, Sonia. Enrique’s Journey. New York, NY: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2007. Print.