Saturday, December 5, 2009

Border Crossing by Jessica Lee Anderson

The book "Border Crossing" is a heart breaking story about a teenager who has to deal with many conflicting issues and feels that he has no one to turn to. Manz's lives in Rockhill Texas; he is half- Mexican and half -Anglo; and his biological father was a Mexican who worked in an orchard to provide for Manz and his mother. His father "Loco" was killed in a car accident, which he believes was suicide. Manz's mother Dolores has also gone through many personal traumatic experiences, one being the death of her baby, Gabriel. She is an alcoholic and is so consumed in her own tragedy, that she doesn't notice her sons cry for help, until it's too late. The only time her drinking is under control is when her boyfriend Tom is around. Tom is a truck driver and his job requires for him to be on the road for long periods of time.

Manz's best friend is Jed, whom lives at home with an abusive father. Both boys keep themselves occupied by finding small jobs around their town. They find a summer job rebuilding a fence for a cattle ranch outside town.There Manz meets a girl named Vanessa; she works in the ranch's kitchen. They seem to get along but he isn't sure if he could trust her with his feelings of paranoia.

Manz hears voices, has visions, and feelings of paranoia. He fears that the Border Patrol want to apprehend him. When he sees the Border Patrol officers gathering illegal immigrants, the voices tell him that he's next. His mother notices the signs of mental illness, which are similar to what his father experienced before his fatal accident. She urges Manz to get help but he refuses. The voices keep getting louder and he doesn't know who to turn to for help.

"Border Crossing" is a book about dysfunctional families, illegal immigration and mental illness. It is written in first person narrative, giving readers a vivid impression of what Manz was experiencing with schizophrenia as it worsened.
This was a very interesting book and I highly recommend it. As I read it, I felt the pain and desperation that Manz was feeling as he lost his grip on reality.


schenieka hoskins said...

What a heart whelming story! It seems like one of those teary eyed books, but those are the best for to me! I think this a dynamic story and can be soothing for many young adult readers. From your post, I fell that many young readers may read this book and even see themselves unfortunately. It seems as if the book tackled many obstacles that face families today. However, I hope it has a positive ending. I would also pray that it shows that suicide is never the way. Most importantly, maybe it will give young readers more humility. Some kids who often suffer from personal home problems are teased and tormented in school. Therefore, hopefully this book would shed light on the need for individuals to be sensitive to others situations because you never know what is going on in the home.

Andra said...


Wow! This novel sounds like it has everything in it!

I think I could personally use this book or at least parts of in my health class. If the father did commit suicide and there were signs, I could highlight those in my class. In addition, we also discuss schizophrenia during our mental health unit. Students might get a better understanding of the disease through Manz's eyes. More often than not, reading a book or listening to a speaker talk hits home more than me standing in front of the classroom discussing the diseases.

I also think students would be able to relate to Manz. He has a dysfunctional family, which is so common today. In addition, his mother an alcoholic. Students with alcoholic parents will be able to relate to Manz.

This sounds like a great read! Do you think it is best for middle school or high school students? Also, do you believe it is gender neutral?


Alex H. said...

I think it's a great book for both boys and girls. Schizophrenia is an illness that can effect anyone as young as twelve. In my opinion the book is appropriate for middle school.

Andra said...