BOOK REVIEWS

Reaching Out Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-11-07 
Review Score: 5 out of 5 star From 34 user ratings
ISBN:0618038515
LANGUAGE:English

"I loved this book as much as each of the two previous volumes of Francisco Jiménez's trilogy. His story is an inspiring one and perfect for middle and high school students. I would teach this book as part of an interdisciplinary unit on college readiness and the benefits of bilingualism. There are many threads a teacher could pull out to discuss the many elements that one's success rely upon: incredibly hard work, determination, a mindset that invites mentorship. I'm sure that in both his fictional and professional personas, Francisco Jiménez has mentored and inspired many young people and that his work will continue to do so." said.

"Reaching out is a book that teach young adults how life was back in time. Francisco is a migrant worker who struggle with his family to have a better life in California. Working in the fields and also attending to school was a big challenge, and knowing that he would struggle he decided to take it. Along with his difficult time, he learns how to appreciate the good moments and his experiences in life. Meanwhile he studies and works at the fields, he had friends and other people who support him and believed in his potential. As a result of his dedication to school, he succeeds in Santa Clara University for four years;later he still attended to Columbia University. In conclusion on this story, it teaches why we should appreciate what we have now. More thyan one person can identified with the struggle that the family had and how we can connect to the author's hope of having a better life." said.

"This is the third book in Francisco Jimenez's life story and it was enjoyable but not nearly as good as the first two. This one seemed a lot more preachy and the religious undertones got to me. But mainly I found myself having a harder time empathizing with him. In the previous books I felt like he was a kid and he sounded like a kid who cared about his famly. I empathized with his struggles in school and the challenges that he faced growing up. In this book he just seems like he's going back and forth between feeling super guilty about leaving behind his family and praising his college and its priests for everything and this dichotomy drove me nuts. I guess I just didn't really like the author as much anymore. He was an endearing kid but his adult life story just didn't resonate with me as much. " said.

""On Easter Sunday, thousands of us entered Sacramento. We swarmed the capitol steps, where Cesar Chavez announced that Schenley had agreed to recognize the union. We all clapped and shouted with joy "Si se puede!" for several minutes. After thanking the unions, the church, and all the students and civil rights workers who had helped win this one victory, Cesar Chavez told us: 'Es bueno recorder que debe haber valor, pero tambien que, en la victoria, debe haber humildad.' It is well to remember there must be courage, but also, that in victory there must be humility.
As he continued speaking, I looked at the banner of the Virgen de Guadalupe and felt deeply the suffering and pain of migrant workers. What can and should I do in my life to help them? I asked myself. I did not have the answer yet."

I am using Jimenez's trilogy for my webquest. Sandra Cisneros said about him, "I thank Francisco Jimenez for honoring all brave children who grow up poor in America."
" said.

"I found this surprisingly touching. I never read memoirs, and when I first started reading this, I was a bit turned off by the simple prose and Jimenez's straightforward way of recounting his life. I usually enjoy things more literary and flowery, but this story ended up to be extremely moving and striking in its simplicity.

It is not overwrought and does not pretend to be more than it is, the story of a boy who grew into a man in college and felt all the tension that comes from feeling torn between family and one's own personal achievement and success.

It is story of faith and hope in God, of great love and sacrifice on the part of family, of coming to cherish and trust new friends, of facing financial hardship and racial discrimination and somehow staying resilient in the face of all this adversity.

A beautiful and true story of what it means to persist and succeed with humility. As an educator, who is required to teach this text to my students and who is herself from CA with immigrant parents, I am very excited to share this story with my students.
" said.

"Last fall, my senior year of college, I had to take a Latin American Studies course to fulfill my graduation requirements, so I chose US Hispanic Authors. The first book in this "trilogy" (all of them stand alone, but they are autobiographical, so a trilogy for chronology's sake), The Circuit was required reading. These books are all about the author's coming of age, and they begin with his illegal trip in to the US across the border from Mexico. Not only is he now an illegal immigrant in fear of deportation, but he and his family speak no English, and they find work as migrant workers.

Francisco Jimenez is now an author obviously, so these stories are a success tale. There are many sad things that happen, and I cried often, but most importantly these stories are an inspiration for poor children, for Mexican immigrants, and for people who are trying to learn English. These books inspired me, as a teacher, and gave me insight into what children in these circumstances might be going through. I recommend all three of these books to anyone considering a career working with people (teacher, psychologist, social services, etc.) They really changed my life.

To add to their value, these books are very well written, short but meaty, and can be broken into short stories. These would be appropriate to read to students as short stories. As you can tell, I'm totally crazy about these books.

5 stars for all three of them. READ THEM.
" said.

" This is one of the few books that I have read in Spanish, and it is also one of the most inspirational books that I have ever read. " said.

"I was really surprised when I started to read "Reaching Out" and couldn't put it down. On the surface, there doesn't seem to be anything especially compelling--the author's style is simple and spare, he doesn't gush emotion or fully talk about family problems, the plot events are never truly dire (the reader is never worried, for example, about him flunking out of college) or enraging (unlike what one might expect, racial conflicts are not the book's focus--in fact, they're curiously absent). Underneath, however, the author's direct prose and conversational tone--which never plays with the reader's emotions--brought me closer to his situation.

The memoir begins with the author facing the difficult dilemma of leaving his hard-working and financially struggling family to attend college. Although he makes the choice to go to further his education, he deals with feelings of guilt and inferiority. At school he has to deal with long-distance family problems (his dad suffers from depression), challenging coursework (Jimenez comes across as a work-a-holic who truly wants to excel, and builds this conflict up nicely without going overboard), and coming up with money to pay for his education (he works as a custodian in his hometown, types papers for other students in school, and still sends money to aid his family).

What's great about this memoir is that it could have easily been a story of difficulties--the author faced many huge hurdles over the course of his college years--but what it really is is a story of empowerment. Jimenez never dwells on the problems in his narrative; instead, he is more focused on highlighting the accomplishments he was able to achieve (first and foremost, graduating college!). At the same time, however, Jimenez himself never comes across as boastful--his humility and reflection convey a sense of wonder, rather than a self-aggrandizing attitude. This is really the novel's greatest strength--the main character who is neither a braggart or a victim--but instead, comes across as a normal, hard-working human being.

My only slight quibble with the book is in an odd place--the dialogue Jimenez has recreated...for himself! While the other characters sound and act like fully-fleshed out characters, Jimenez's personal dialogue sometimes come across as obvious and constructed--like he's focusing on the wisdom of the response another character will say rather than his own words that preceded it. Overall, however, this was an enjoyable read, with a strong, but never overdone, message.
" said.

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