Both Sides of the Border
Ambassador Books (2021)
Reviewed by Ashley Hooker for Reader Reviews (07/2021)
In “Both Sides of the Border,” Terry Overton has given us a story so relevant that one cannot ignore the immigration issues our country faces. Her story is poignant, yet fresh. She also shows the reader that God has everything to do with our circumstance and outcomes.
In the story, readers learn about a young woman named Dolores and her two brothers, Emilio, and Ernesto. They are from a close-knit family in Honduras and are migrating to the United States to help their family survive and join them later. Dolores and her brothers travel from Honduras to the Mexican border with a guide. From there, they had to cross a river and walk, catch trains, and hide from officials. On the other side of the border in Brownsville, Texas, a young woman named Eva has moved into her new apartment and is about to start a new job. She is excited and ready for this next chapter in her life. Before starting work, she goes on a Mexican vacation by bus. She tours the beautiful cathedrals, eats local cuisine, and develops a close friendship with a man named Steven.
What I learned from this book is that on both sides of the immigration issue, people are hopeful for a new life. Dolores and her brothers are looking for new opportunities in the United States. They believe that there are good people who will give them work. The conversations between the three never mention the dangers that lie in the U.S. Eva believes that Mexico is a beautiful place filled with opportunities. She doesn’t realize the dangers all around her. Her friendship with Steven starts out well. Steven lives in Mexico and informs Eva of the cartel and gangs in Mexico. What she learns about Steven brings this danger closer to home.
“Both Sides of the Border” gives a fresh take on immigration. It made me think about the risk each immigrant takes to come to America. As an American, I tend to forget that there are people in our world that believe we are the land of opportunity. Dolores and her family believed that. Their parents sent their children on a journey that could ultimately take their lives. It was dangerous, but they were willing. Eva reminded me a lot of myself. When I have traveled, I tend to think like Eva. I don’t dwell on the dangers. I see most things through rose-colored lenses. When Eva meets Dolores after a hurricane, she knows her reality was and is not real.
Overall, “Both Sides of the Border” is a book for any age and person. Overton has made me think about why immigration happens and how not everyone gets on a boat and lands at Ellis Island. Before we judge others for leaving their country, we need to walk a mile in their shoes. We need to be aware and willing to help when we can. Immigration affects us all and Terry Overton has succeeded in developing a clear, poignant representation of that fact.