cover image In the Country We Love: My Family Divided

In the Country We Love: My Family Divided

Diane Guerrero, with Michelle Burford. Holt, $26 (272p) ISBN 978-1-62779-527-2

Guerrero, an actress best known for her roles on Orange Is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, was born in the U.S. to Colombian parents. They lived in the States while undocumented until they were deported in 2001. Guerrero, 14 at the time, was left on her own with no government oversight whatsoever, a harrowing situation that she recounts with honesty, pathos, and bravery. Like many of the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country, her parents worked in countless low-paying menial jobs while in constant fear, knowing that they could be snatched away any time. They tried to obtain green cards and citizenship through legal channels, but were scammed by a con artist. Guerrero, writing with Oprah magazine founding editor Burford, could have been placed in state care, but she was one of the lucky ones: friends and family took her in and helped her get into the Boston Arts Academy. She still suffered in her parents’ absence, growing increasingly depressed with no one to confide in. The depression led to alcoholic blackouts, self-injury, and a near-suicide before she opened up to a therapist and got much-needed help. Guerrero transforms a truly terrible situation into something meaningful, using her story and her role as an Ambassador for Citizenship and Naturalization by the White House to try to help other immigrant families left in this terrible position. (May)