A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves: One Family and Migration in the 21st Century

Jason DeParle. Viking, $28 (352p) ISBN 978-0-670-78592-6
In this captivating story, journalist DeParle (American Dream: Three Women, Ten Kids, and a Nation’s Drive to End Welfare) follows three generations of a Filipino family whose lives have been profoundly shaped by migration. The book begins in a shantytown in Manila in the 1980s, where the reader meets Tita and Emet Comodas, who spent nearly 20 years of their married life apart as Emet “tried his luck” in the Middle East to lift them out of poverty and send their daughter Rosalie (born in 1971) to nursing school. Rosalie, in turn, became an overseas worker—in the Middle East and then Texas—and married one; their three children were initially raised mostly by the family in Manila. As the family is reunited in Texas in 2012, when the children are 5, 7, and 9, the narrative shifts to encompass their adjustment to a new country and to living with their parents. DeParle excels in both intimate details and sweeping scale, showing how the Comodases’ experiences illuminate broader phenomena, such as the feminization of migration, technology’s impact on assimilation and the maintenance of far-flung networks, and the role that overseas remittance plays in quality of life in former colonies. The book also ably relates the politics of immigration starting in the 1960s. This well-crafted story personalizes the questions and trends surrounding global migration in moving and thought-provoking fashion. Agent: Chuck Verrill, Darhansoff and Verrill. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 05/24/2019
Release date: 08/20/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 978-1-984877-75-8
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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