Diary of a Reluctant Dreamer: Undocumented Vignettes from a Pre-American Life

Alberto Ledesma. Mad Creek, $17.95 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-0-8142-5440-0
As a teacher and administrator at University of California, Berkeley, Ledesma doesn’t fit the stereotypical image of the undocumented immigrant. But that’s the point of this book, which is part graphic memoir and part cri de coeur. Ledesma and his parents, who brought him over from Mexico in 1974, were given legal status by Ronald Reagan’s 1986 amnesty bill. The tension and need for camouflage that preceded their change in status, as well as the rising nativist backlash, fuel his politically barbed autobiographical cartoons. Much of Ledesma’s concern is directed at the people for whom the possibility of being unmasked as “undocumented” remains a constant threat—no matter how hard they work, how civically dedicated they are, and what professional achievements they attain. Although his art is rudimentary and his writing can be repetitive, this is a powerful document of the unspoken anxieties felt by Americans like him who worry that their immigration status and history will overshadow everything else in their lives. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/24/2017
Release date: 09/01/2017
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