Monday, October 23, 2017

New Book Spotlight: “Diary of a Reluctant Dreamer: Undocumented Vignettes from a Pre-American Life” by Alberto Ledesma

 From the Publisher

In this hybrid memoir, Alberto Ledesma wonders, At what point does a long-time undocumented immigrant become an American in the making? From undocumented little boy to “hyper documented” university professor, Ledesma recounts how even now, he sometimes finds himself reverting to the child he was, recalling his father’s words: “Mijo, it doesn’t matter how good you think your English is, la migra will still get you.”

Exploring Ledesma’s experiences from immigrant to student to academic, Diary of a Reluctant Dreamer presents a humorous, gritty, and multilayered portrait of undocumented immigrant life in urban America. Ledesma’s vignettes about life in the midst of ongoing social trauma give voice to a generation that has long been silent about its struggles. Delving into the key moments of cultural transition throughout his childhood and adulthood—police at the back door waiting to deport his family, the ex-girlfriend who threatens to call INS and report him, and the interactions with law enforcement even after he is no longer undocumented—Ledesma, through his art and his words, provides a glimpse into the psychological and philosophical concerns of undocumented immigrant youth who struggle to pinpoint their identity and community.

About the Author

Alberto Ledesma grew up in East Oakland and received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from UC Berkeley. He earned a Ph.D. in ethnic studies in 1996 and is a former faculty member at California State University, Monterey Bay, and a lecturer in ethnic studies at UC Berkeley. He has held several staff positions at UC Berkeley during the last decade, including director of admissions at the School of Optometry, and writing program coordinator at the Student Learning Center. Ledesma is the graduate diversity director for the Arts & Humanities Division in the College of Letters & Science at UC Berkeley.

Alberto Ledesma

 Praise for Diary of a Reluctant Dreamer

“Mexican-American scholar/writer/artist Ledesma recounts his own experience of ‘the immigrant experience,’ with its tiers of risk and layers of aspiration. . . . Affecting, highly charged, and deserving of broad attention.” Kirkus Reviews 

“This is a powerful document of the unspoken anxieties felt by Americans like [Ledesma] who worry that their immigration status and history will overshadow everything else in their lives.” 
Publishers Weekly

Diary of a Reluctant Dreamer is an eye-opening glimpse into a mostly hidden way of life.”
Foreword Reviews

“Alberto Ledesma’s gorgeous drawings have fascinated me for a long time. Now his stunning work has become a book for the ages.” —Luis Alberto Urrea

“Ledesma writes with piercing insight about the intersection of citizenship, identity, gender, and familia, and he makes a compelling argument for an American identity that is more expansive than most of us have dared to imagine.” —Daisy Hernández, coeditor of Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism

About the Publisher

Mad Creek Books is the new literary trade imprint from The Ohio State University Press. With a mission to foster creativity, innovate, and illuminate, Mad Creek Books will champion diverse and creative literary writing. A platform for artistic, daring, and innovative literary books—in nonfiction, fiction, and poetry—books on the imprint will push boundaries, explore new areas, and generate new ideas. Mad Creek Books is a place for exciting literary work and will publish writers from all experiences and backgrounds, representing the true diversity of the literary landscape.

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