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Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America

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“Maria’s perspective is powerful and vital. Years ago, when In the Heights was just starting off-Broadway, Maria got the word out to our community to support this new musical about our neighborhoods. She has been a champion of our triumphs, a critic of our detractors, and a driving force to right the wrongs our society faces. When Maria speaks, I’m ready to listen and lear “Maria’s perspective is powerful and vital. Years ago, when In the Heights was just starting off-Broadway, Maria got the word out to our community to support this new musical about our neighborhoods. She has been a champion of our triumphs, a critic of our detractors, and a driving force to right the wrongs our society faces. When Maria speaks, I’m ready to listen and learn.” —Lin-Manuel Miranda Emmy Award–winning journalist and anchor of NPR’s Latino USA, Maria Hinojosa, tells the story of immigration in America through her family’s experiences and decades of reporting, painting an unflinching portrait of a country in crisis. Maria Hinojosa is an award-winning journalist who has collaborated with the most respected networks and is known for bringing humanity to her reporting. In this beautifully-rendered memoir, she relates the history of US immigration policy that has brought us to where we are today, as she shares her deeply personal story. For thirty years, Maria Hinojosa has reported on stories and communities in America that often go ignored by the mainstream media. Bestselling author Julia Alvarez has called her “one of the most important, respected, and beloved cultural leaders in the Latinx community.” In Once I Was You, Maria shares her intimate experience growing up Mexican American on the south side of Chicago and documenting the existential wasteland of immigration detention camps for news outlets that often challenged her work. In these pages, she offers a personal and eye-opening account of how the rhetoric around immigration has not only long informed American attitudes toward outsiders, but also enabled willful negligence and profiteering at the expense of our country’s most vulnerable populations—charging us with the broken system we have today. This honest and heartrending memoir paints a vivid portrait of how we got here and what it means to be a survivor, a feminist, a citizen, and a journalist who owns her voice while striving for the truth. Once I Was You is an urgent call to fellow Americans to open their eyes to the immigration crisis and understand that it affects us all. Also available in Spanish as Una vez fui tú.


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“Maria’s perspective is powerful and vital. Years ago, when In the Heights was just starting off-Broadway, Maria got the word out to our community to support this new musical about our neighborhoods. She has been a champion of our triumphs, a critic of our detractors, and a driving force to right the wrongs our society faces. When Maria speaks, I’m ready to listen and lear “Maria’s perspective is powerful and vital. Years ago, when In the Heights was just starting off-Broadway, Maria got the word out to our community to support this new musical about our neighborhoods. She has been a champion of our triumphs, a critic of our detractors, and a driving force to right the wrongs our society faces. When Maria speaks, I’m ready to listen and learn.” —Lin-Manuel Miranda Emmy Award–winning journalist and anchor of NPR’s Latino USA, Maria Hinojosa, tells the story of immigration in America through her family’s experiences and decades of reporting, painting an unflinching portrait of a country in crisis. Maria Hinojosa is an award-winning journalist who has collaborated with the most respected networks and is known for bringing humanity to her reporting. In this beautifully-rendered memoir, she relates the history of US immigration policy that has brought us to where we are today, as she shares her deeply personal story. For thirty years, Maria Hinojosa has reported on stories and communities in America that often go ignored by the mainstream media. Bestselling author Julia Alvarez has called her “one of the most important, respected, and beloved cultural leaders in the Latinx community.” In Once I Was You, Maria shares her intimate experience growing up Mexican American on the south side of Chicago and documenting the existential wasteland of immigration detention camps for news outlets that often challenged her work. In these pages, she offers a personal and eye-opening account of how the rhetoric around immigration has not only long informed American attitudes toward outsiders, but also enabled willful negligence and profiteering at the expense of our country’s most vulnerable populations—charging us with the broken system we have today. This honest and heartrending memoir paints a vivid portrait of how we got here and what it means to be a survivor, a feminist, a citizen, and a journalist who owns her voice while striving for the truth. Once I Was You is an urgent call to fellow Americans to open their eyes to the immigration crisis and understand that it affects us all. Also available in Spanish as Una vez fui tú.

30 review for Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lupita Reads

    “America has always put forward a public veneer of loving immigrants and their role in this country, but in reality, the underside of immigration, the hidden hatred, and internalized oppression and silence, has made our relationship with the notion of being immigrants much more embattled; a permanent secret war of words and hatred against itself.” Something that I am relatively new to is the notion that books can give you the language to help explain an emotion or a similar experience you’ve been “America has always put forward a public veneer of loving immigrants and their role in this country, but in reality, the underside of immigration, the hidden hatred, and internalized oppression and silence, has made our relationship with the notion of being immigrants much more embattled; a permanent secret war of words and hatred against itself.” Something that I am relatively new to is the notion that books can give you the language to help explain an emotion or a similar experience you’ve been through. This idea that you can read something in a book & understand something about yourself you didn’t understand before. The negative side of my brain feels embarrassed to admit how new to this idea I am. The side of my brain that tells me I am most likely wrong about a lot of things & that I should stay quiet. Reading this book I recognized those similar negative voices I hear in my brain. Maria Hinojosa, an Emmy Award-Winning journalist details throughout her memoir all the ways in which she’s had to carve space out for herself as a Latina in mainstream media wanting to report on the untold stories of Americans that the media often wants to ignore. How often she has pushed through similar voices in order to fully step into herself and her true power. A power we all have- the ability to know who we are, where we come from & to never compromise our beliefs for anything or anyone. There are so many layers in this book. The peeling back of historical information of anti-immigration rhetoric. The peeling back of the reality of where that rhetoric has landed us as a society in our treatment & views of immigrants. How it has contributed to how out of touch most American’s are with what truly is happening right here in our nation. Maria does not shy away from any of what she has witnessed first hand as a journalist. Through her memoir, she shows us that we must remember & grapple with our history & roots.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Madeline

    3.5 stars rounded up! Review to come soon. TW - sexual assault and rape - In her memoir, Maria Hinojosa chronicles her life from her entry into the United States, to becoming a successful journalist who focuses on breaking news and issues relating to immigration and the Latinx community. I had no idea who Hinojosa was prior to reading her memoir, and throughout her story, I was constantly impressed by how tenacious she is in going after what she wants, even as she struggle with imposter syndrome (v 3.5 stars rounded up! Review to come soon. TW - sexual assault and rape - In her memoir, Maria Hinojosa chronicles her life from her entry into the United States, to becoming a successful journalist who focuses on breaking news and issues relating to immigration and the Latinx community. I had no idea who Hinojosa was prior to reading her memoir, and throughout her story, I was constantly impressed by how tenacious she is in going after what she wants, even as she struggle with imposter syndrome (very relatable!). While this could have been a memoir focused entirely on her career, Hinojosa also blends in the history of immigration policy in the United States. I especially appreciated learning about Hinojosa's early career and some of the issues and events that she covered as a journalist. I didn't know about many seminal events related to Latin America and immigration that occurred in the 1980's and early 90's, so I appreciated learning more about them through Hinojosa's storytelling. Hinojosa also does not shy away from detailing her personal life, which really helped humanize her incredible story. I appreciated her honesty as she opens up about her experience of sexual assault, and the struggles she faced in her personal relationships, and as a mother. It was really eye-opening to read about her constant fear of having her Green Card taken away—it is something I could never imagine, and I valued her honesty and openness. Hinojosa also mentions some of the struggles she faced when attempting to fit in to a majority white and affluent workplace, which are especially important to consider now as many industries are coming to terms with how welcoming or safe their workplace is. While I really enjoyed reading about Hinojosa's experiences, I do think the narrative flow is a bit jumpy at times, as Hinojosa struggles to balance her personal life, career, and the historical asides that make up this memoir. At times I was confused about the timeline between events, especially when connecting her career and personal life. Even so, if you are interested in learning about journalism, immigration, or are just interested in learning about Hinojosa's life, then definitely pick this book up! There is a lot to learn here, and I am still in awe of Hinojosa's trailblazing career. Thanks to Atria and Netgalley for providing me with an eARC!

  3. 5 out of 5

    BookOfCinz

    History is written by the victors, which means we should question the version of history that has been handed down to us In Maria Hinojosa’s memoir Once I Was You she is able to tell her story while forcing us to look at the history Mexicans have had with the US. I loved that throughout the memoir she constantly shines a light on the history of the US immigration policy and how deeply unfair it is. Did you know, “When the US won the Mexican-American War in 1948, Mexico was forced to cede nea History is written by the victors, which means we should question the version of history that has been handed down to us In Maria Hinojosa’s memoir Once I Was You she is able to tell her story while forcing us to look at the history Mexicans have had with the US. I loved that throughout the memoir she constantly shines a light on the history of the US immigration policy and how deeply unfair it is. Did you know, “When the US won the Mexican-American War in 1948, Mexico was forced to cede nearly half of its territory- land that later made up California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming- for $15 million as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo” … yeah, I didn’t know this either. I do not need to tell you the austerities continues to this day with how ICE is treating persons who are undocumented. To say this book is timely would be a lie because what Maria Hinojosa details in her book- as it concerns migration and the treatment of Migrants have been happening since the beginning of time. It is so important that people read books like these that forces us to look the awful history. I cannot say I have heard about Maria Hinojosa before getting this book, but in reading this blurb my interest was piqued. I love a rich memoir and that is exactly what you get with Once I Was You . Reading about the author’s journey from living in South Side Chicago to being on CNN was nothing short of inspiring. It is clear that she’s got a heart for her country -MEXICO and its people- MEXICANS and it was beautiful to see how she used her platform to create awareness and fight. I loved how Maria Hinojosa brought us into her life, pulled back the curtains and showed us her deepest hurt, what motivates her and why she continues to fight. A truly beautiful memoir that I will continue to think about for years to come. Thanks so much Atria Book for sending me this ARC, bless up!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Oscreads

    I enjoyed reading this book. It definitely has its moments and I’m grateful for the new things I’ve learned while reading this book. Full Review Coming Soon...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Donna Hines

    Immigration affects everyone! This is so vital for today's discussion on immigrants, naturalization, and what's so often lost in examination- EMPATHY! Remember we are all united as one- humanity, diversity, land of the free and home of the brave? Remember the Constitution, Democracy, and No one power Rule?! If only we can go back to normal -that time when every day wasn't centered upon one man but rather one world. While I wish this didn't discuss political agendas it cannot be explained without pol Immigration affects everyone! This is so vital for today's discussion on immigrants, naturalization, and what's so often lost in examination- EMPATHY! Remember we are all united as one- humanity, diversity, land of the free and home of the brave? Remember the Constitution, Democracy, and No one power Rule?! If only we can go back to normal -that time when every day wasn't centered upon one man but rather one world. While I wish this didn't discuss political agendas it cannot be explained without political agendas and they're vast in number on both sides of the aisle. Maria was able to hold this train of thought on a more personal level, a vibrant appeal, and emotional love fest that needed to be told. It's said for those of us who have been victimized by this system that we cannot just sit back, we cannot rest, we must tell our stories as it's in the telling that we experience, learn, grow, and change our ways. This was the case with Once I Was You because when you set aside politics, set aside profits, and you set aside the fight or flight response what do you have left? That's what we need to remember as many of these individuals being affected by the legislation including the DACA are just that-Children! Never forget we must work together. Thank you to Netgalley for this exclusive e-read copy! #LoveFest2020 at Atria Books

  6. 4 out of 5

    KOMET

    Maria Hinojosa's book, "ONCE I WAS YOU: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America" is an honest, poignant, and forthright story of Maria Hinojosa's lifelong odyssey, her career as a journalist now spanning 4 decades, and the failure of America to develop a truly humane immigration policy along the U.S./Mexico border over the past century. I first became aware of Maria Hinojosa and her work 20 years ago as a National Public Radio (NPR) listener. She always brought a perspective on people, the U Maria Hinojosa's book, "ONCE I WAS YOU: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America" is an honest, poignant, and forthright story of Maria Hinojosa's lifelong odyssey, her career as a journalist now spanning 4 decades, and the failure of America to develop a truly humane immigration policy along the U.S./Mexico border over the past century. I first became aware of Maria Hinojosa and her work 20 years ago as a National Public Radio (NPR) listener. She always brought a perspective on people, the U.S., and the world largely overlooked in the conventional U.S. news media that I found intriguing and compelling. I also followed her later work as an investigative journalist with the PBS news program 'NOW.' If anything, Maria Hinojosa is representative of the type of journalist America needs more than ever nowadays, to point out our failures to live up to our democratic ideals as enshrined in the U.S. Constitution so that we can recommit ourselves to forming "a More Perfect Union", while speaking truth to power, and celebrating what is positive, life affirming, and beautiful about America. That is, its cultural diversity and its ability to embrace "its better angels" and scorn the darkness.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Esosa

    In this memoir, Hinojosa breaks down her journey to becoming an award winning journalist; her initial struggle with her identity as a Mexican American; and the heartbreaking realities of the U.S immigration crisis. I LOVED the first half of this book - I was completely hooked by Hinojosa’s story, her writing and the structure of storytelling were just so captivating to me. I also really appreciated her unbiased approach to many of the issues discussed. The immigration crisis covered in this book In this memoir, Hinojosa breaks down her journey to becoming an award winning journalist; her initial struggle with her identity as a Mexican American; and the heartbreaking realities of the U.S immigration crisis. I LOVED the first half of this book - I was completely hooked by Hinojosa’s story, her writing and the structure of storytelling were just so captivating to me. I also really appreciated her unbiased approach to many of the issues discussed. The immigration crisis covered in this book spans many past U.S governments and presidents and her demand for accountability and justice is the same throughout. In the last 100 pages or so of this book, it felt like the structure of the writing changed. The content was still very informative but the stories and people were not connecting in the same way as previous parts of the book which kind of threw me off a little. Overall though, this is a very enlightening and inspiring memoir. Definitely recommend this one if you’re interested in journalism, politics or U.S immigration studies. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with an ARC!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nidia

    I received this book as an ARC through the Goodreads giveaway, my opinions are my own. ****** Maria Hinojosa is a beautiful, talented writer skillfully weaving her own history with the history of immigration in the United States. In the book Maria Hinojosa paints a vivid picture of living as an immigrant in the United States. She revels in the love and beauty that comes when immigrants from across the world come together. She fondly describes the community her family found with other immigrants in I received this book as an ARC through the Goodreads giveaway, my opinions are my own. ****** Maria Hinojosa is a beautiful, talented writer skillfully weaving her own history with the history of immigration in the United States. In the book Maria Hinojosa paints a vivid picture of living as an immigrant in the United States. She revels in the love and beauty that comes when immigrants from across the world come together. She fondly describes the community her family found with other immigrants in Chicago and later her joy over ranchera music that signaled the arrival of Mexicans in NYC. At the same time she unflinchingly relates the struggles and injustices faced by that same group then and now. It's easy to dismiss reports that are filled with numbers but Hinojosa literally adds a human element to the data. She tells the story of the actual people behind the data and so restores the humanity that systems of power have historically worked to try to strip away. I loved the addition of these stories, the happy and the tragic, showing the many dimensions of humanity and what is at stake when that common humanity is ignored. As she sets out to tell the story about her personal life and career, Hinojosa's telling of her experiences is pure, raw honesty. She lays bare the insecurities that haunted her, traumas that plagued her, and love that saved her. These portions of her book, where she is so visibly struggling with culture and career, were especially powerful for me as a first generation Mexican-American. I related strongly to the struggles with self-esteem, imposter syndrome, and the need to prove worthy of parents' sacrifices as well as of one’s heritage. To see her be so vulnerable about such an intimate part of herself, and then see her swallow her fear time and again, was SO inspiring and meaningful for me. Reading these parts of her memoir was like seeing a reflection of myself that I didn't know I was looking for. I HIGHLY recommend Once I Was You to everyone. I already know that this will be a book I return to again and again for the rest of my life. There is truly something to be said about books finding you at the precise moment you need them.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    I first heard of María Hinojosa from listening to her podcast In the Thick, and I've always enjoyed hearing from her since then. I was excited to learn she was releasing a memoir, so I got my hands on this one as soon as I could. There are several different aspects to this book - it's a memoir blended with a historical account of US immigration, and other journalism stories. It's an intense read, and it took me a bit to read all of it. María is so honest and caring, and I appreciate that she dec I first heard of María Hinojosa from listening to her podcast In the Thick, and I've always enjoyed hearing from her since then. I was excited to learn she was releasing a memoir, so I got my hands on this one as soon as I could. There are several different aspects to this book - it's a memoir blended with a historical account of US immigration, and other journalism stories. It's an intense read, and it took me a bit to read all of it. María is so honest and caring, and I appreciate that she decided to share here story with us. CW - racism, rape, mention of miscarriage, detention center, cancer and death

  10. 4 out of 5

    Leticia

    As a longtime fan of Maria Hinojosa and Latino USA, I loved listening to her narrate her memoir. It is a compelling and heartfelt look at her experience as a Mexican immigrant and how her family's experiences shaped her road as a writer, journalist and producer. She pairs compelling stories about her life growing up, her relationships and her career with stories and history about US immigration policies and stories from refugees and migrants to demonstrate the complex stories that each person ha As a longtime fan of Maria Hinojosa and Latino USA, I loved listening to her narrate her memoir. It is a compelling and heartfelt look at her experience as a Mexican immigrant and how her family's experiences shaped her road as a writer, journalist and producer. She pairs compelling stories about her life growing up, her relationships and her career with stories and history about US immigration policies and stories from refugees and migrants to demonstrate the complex stories that each person has that make up a migrant experience. At the end of the book, Maria read the acknowledgements and it was so clear what a collective community she has supported and been supported by. I highly recommend this book!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Maggie (babewithabookandabeer)

    This book was phenomenal. Thanks to the recommendation of @lupita.reads, I requested this book from @netgalley @atriabooks. Maria shares her intimate experience growing up Mexican American on the South Side of Chicago and offers a personal and illuminating account of how the rhetoric around immigration has not only long informed American attitudes toward outsiders, but also sanctioned willful negligence and profiteering at the expense of our country’s most vulnerable populations—charging us with This book was phenomenal. Thanks to the recommendation of @lupita.reads, I requested this book from @netgalley @atriabooks. Maria shares her intimate experience growing up Mexican American on the South Side of Chicago and offers a personal and illuminating account of how the rhetoric around immigration has not only long informed American attitudes toward outsiders, but also sanctioned willful negligence and profiteering at the expense of our country’s most vulnerable populations—charging us with the broken system we have today. It’s very wide-reaching and gives a plethora of statistics, policy explanations, and political critiques which made it an all-encompassing read for me. But it is is intimate at the same time because she talks passionately and kindly about her own imposter syndrome, Latinx guilt tied to productivity and success, and her sexual trauma and how it intertwines with her personal desire and relationships. I seriously loved this book. If you don’t believe me, take a look at all the incredible blurbs.

  12. 5 out of 5

    booksandbark

    María Hinojosa knows that storytelling is political. She often writes that she wants to tell human stories, stories featuring the lives and struggles of real people. And that’s exactly what she’s done: over the course of a prolific career, she has given voice to the most marginalized among us, especially Latinx Americans. At NPR, CNN, and her own nonprofit news organization, Futuro Media, she has continually fought to tell the stories of immigrants, while facing discrimination and backlash herse María Hinojosa knows that storytelling is political. She often writes that she wants to tell human stories, stories featuring the lives and struggles of real people. And that’s exactly what she’s done: over the course of a prolific career, she has given voice to the most marginalized among us, especially Latinx Americans. At NPR, CNN, and her own nonprofit news organization, Futuro Media, she has continually fought to tell the stories of immigrants, while facing discrimination and backlash herself. In Once I Was You, however, it is her own story—as an immigrant, a survivor, and a Latina—that is on full display. Hinojosa’s memoir covers a broad swath of her life, from her journey to the United States from Mexico at three years old to her current reporting on the border crisis. Her personal story is interspersed with cutaways to U.S. immigration history. Although it often reads as a blow-by-blow of her life—her first (white) boyfriend, move-in day at Barnard College, fights with her husband—what is most compelling about Hinojosa’s story is her own struggle to tell it. While Hinojosa is a prolific and talented woman who has hustled throughout her life, balancing jobs and stories with kids and family, she recounts facing pushback at every stage in her career as a journalist. At the same time she was winning awards for her coverage of Latinx life in America with CNN, she was belittled and pushed off air in favor of younger, prettier, whiter anchors. While she was gaining national recognition for her groundbreaking radio show, Latino USA, NPR consistently tried to cancel it, and silence her voice, in favor of “less niche” shows. Her story is a stark reminder that even those who uplift and amplify the voices of the marginalized are not exempt from a culture that devalues women, people of color, and immigrants. For Hinojosa, preserving her journalistic voice meant founding her own news organization to ensure Latino USA‘s future when major media outlets refused to renew it. However, this much-needed narrative is lost in many parts of the book. Storylines about Hinojosa’s father and family, reporting on the border crisis, and strained marriage trail off or pop in seemingly out of nowhere. U.S. immigration history, too, makes an appearance every once in a while, choppily occupying the last ten or fifteen pages of a chapter that was otherwise deeply focused on Hinojosa’s personal life. The book’s title, Once I Was You, also falls a little flat: while Hinojosa positions herself in parallel to the young children detained at the border, her position as the daughter of a college professor, a documented immigrant, and a member of the middle class ensured her privileges that were never available to many of those kids. Despite its flaws, Once I Was You is required reading for anyone interested in the behind-the-scenes of intersectional, human-focused storytelling. It’s the memoir of a living legend and a trailblazer in her field. Go read it. I was honored to receive an advance review copy courtesy of the publisher, Atria Books. I am also a student at Columbia College, the sibling school of Barnard College, where Prof. Hinojosa teaches. Neither of these factors has affected my opinion of the book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mellie

    Once I Was You is a must read memoir. I grew up listening to Maria Hinojosa on the radio, and most recently she has been one of my main sources for political and social updates via Latino USA and In the Thick. In truth, for a long time, it was rare to see a strong, intelligent, and fearless Latina on the news, and Maria is that rare gem. Unsurprisingly, her memoir is just as special. It seamlessly weaves her personal journey as an immigrant with the history of US immigration policy and social mov Once I Was You is a must read memoir. I grew up listening to Maria Hinojosa on the radio, and most recently she has been one of my main sources for political and social updates via Latino USA and In the Thick. In truth, for a long time, it was rare to see a strong, intelligent, and fearless Latina on the news, and Maria is that rare gem. Unsurprisingly, her memoir is just as special. It seamlessly weaves her personal journey as an immigrant with the history of US immigration policy and social movements. And, let's be honest, any Latinx identifying individual or immigrant will likely tell you, you can't really separate a personal journey from politics. Policies and movements directly and indirectly impact our daily experiences and Maria captures that brilliantly. I also appreciated her vulnerability. On the outside, I would never have guessed Maria was also struggling with self acceptance and power dynamics within her career. Yet, she too faced with many of the same emotions and obstacles women must overcome as they rise in their careers. It made me think about why some of the most influencial women can sometimes doubt themselves while in the midst of success. What part of human nature encourages this type of thinking? There are so many topics to discuss within this book and I could likely go on for a bit. So I'll leave you with this: If want to learn more about a fearless female leader, if you want to be inspired, or if you want to read something that may be out of your comfort zone I highly recommend this memoir. You will not be disappointed. (TW: sexual assault, rape, politics). Thank you to NetGalley for an advanced copy of this memoir in exchange for my honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Esta Montano

    Maria Hinojosa is my absolute favorite journalist: I listen to and watch just about everything that she produces. I find her to be inspiring and down to earth. I have learned a lot from her work as she tells stories that lie outside of the mainstream. I had high expectations for this book but was a little bit disappointed. This book is not quite a memoir: Hinojosa does relate her life experiences and personal history in a compelling way that humanizes her. She relates her struggles breaking into Maria Hinojosa is my absolute favorite journalist: I listen to and watch just about everything that she produces. I find her to be inspiring and down to earth. I have learned a lot from her work as she tells stories that lie outside of the mainstream. I had high expectations for this book but was a little bit disappointed. This book is not quite a memoir: Hinojosa does relate her life experiences and personal history in a compelling way that humanizes her. She relates her struggles breaking into and remaining in her field, and reveals her status as a rape survivor. However, the book is also largely a history of the US in terms of immigration. Parts of this are interesting but much of this drags on and on so that I found myself bored and skimming through these sections. Hinojosa's writing style is unlike that of many other memoirs that I have read and enjoyed. It is more factual, (perhaps because she is a journalist rather than a novelist), and there is little imagery or other literary techniques to draw the reader in..

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alej

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 3.5 for this read. I found it difficult to follow the timeline of events that correlate with Maria Hinojosa's career and experiences. I also found it challenging to compare Maria to immigrant children who are facing assault and violence at the border, since her family comes from education and her journey to America began with her father seeking a career here. A very different picture than those seeking asylum only to be placed in detention centers where more violence is inflicted on them. Howeve 3.5 for this read. I found it difficult to follow the timeline of events that correlate with Maria Hinojosa's career and experiences. I also found it challenging to compare Maria to immigrant children who are facing assault and violence at the border, since her family comes from education and her journey to America began with her father seeking a career here. A very different picture than those seeking asylum only to be placed in detention centers where more violence is inflicted on them. However, I do appreciate and value Maria's conversations surround immigration, being a woman and a Latina in a White Male driven field, and how she found a home in her husband German and NYC. I am grateful for her words and vulnerability on sexual assault, and her use of Spanish throughout the book. Her Mexican identity did deeply shape her lived experience. This book is worth reading for anyone trying to get an understanding of immigration policy in the US and how damaging it is. At one point Maria Hinojosa says anti-immigration is American, in so many words. I feel that deeply.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sumner

    I cannot understate how wonderful, important, inspirational and meaningful this book is. It’s my story, my sister’s, my mother’s. It’s like never feeling enough and coming to terms with all the identities that we can hold has people and living our life with ganas and succeeding anyways. As a major fan of Maria Hinojosa, and avid listener to In The Thick and LatinoUSA, this book was so much more than I expected. I cried, I laughed, and I relished in her successes as if they were mine.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    This was a really good and interesting read. Several parts memoir and a few parts critique of our immigration system, with sharp things to say about incarceration and family separation, this is relevant and timely and just what we need as we begin to think about what immigration should look like post-Trump. Does contain description of sexual assault.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Eylem Ozkaramanli

    Amazing memoir.... Journalists eye on immigration facts in US as well as women rights, children rights and many corruption issues..... Very powerful, saddening, eye opening and heart warming at the same time. Maria Hinojosa, is a wonderful story teller...

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dc

    a massively important book. thank you maria. we have so much work to do as a nation — this book holds the blueprint of how to start. we need to start immediately.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ricki

    This memoir took a while for me to get into, but I truly learned a lot of about the state of immigration in the US.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Candi Sary

    Hinojosa’s heart is wide open on every page of this beautiful, powerful memoir. Her own story of becoming a journalist is inspiring, but it’s the story she tells about American immigration that makes this book so important.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Viola

    : Maria Hinojosa, you have just come out with the book Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America. It is a heartrending book. It is a beautiful story of not only your life — and, of course, it is a memoir — but, through you, the issue of, among other things, immigration, starting with your own family story. You grew up on the South Side of Chicago. But you talk about almost having been separated from your mother when your family migrated from Mexico in the 1960s. Can you talk ab : Maria Hinojosa, you have just come out with the book Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America. It is a heartrending book. It is a beautiful story of not only your life — and, of course, it is a memoir — but, through you, the issue of, among other things, immigration, starting with your own family story. You grew up on the South Side of Chicago. But you talk about almost having been separated from your mother when your family migrated from Mexico in the 1960s. Can you talk about what happened and this whole issue of child separation and how it plays out in the election, not only for the Latinx population, because you say that it’s not only immigration the Latinx voting population cares about, but actually across this country? MARIA HINOJOSA: Yeah. So, Amy, you know, I didn’t fully understand my own story, because this is what trauma looks like. You know, you think you know a story. I knew something had happened at the airport. What I didn’t know was the level to which it escalated. So, essentially, my dad — may he rest in peace — Dr. Raul Hinojosa, was recruited by the University of Chicago. He was a brilliant man. He helped to create the cochlear implant. That’s how we end up in Chicago. He goes first, and a few months later my mom and the four of us kids come by plane. So we had privilege. We came by plane, from Mexico City to Dallas, Dallas to Chicago, via airplane. And we had our green cards. I was a baby in my mother’s arms. And what we thought was — what I had thought was some kind of a communication, you know, that happened, actually, in the moment when we all lived through the babies and children that we heard screaming, the toddlers in those cages, we heard those voices in 2018. That’s when my mother called me. My mother, already in her eighties, calls me, crying, as we say in Mexican Spanish, a moco suelto. Ella dijo — “Mami, ¿qué pasa?” “No, mijita, es que that was almost me.” I’m like, “Mom, what are you talking about?” ”No, mijita, es que that was almost you. The babies that have been taken, they almost did that to you.” And I was like, “What?” So, there was — there are these policies, Amy — that’s what I write about in Once I Was You — that, on the books in the state of Texas, allowed immigration agents to search our bodies to see if we were clean enough to come into the United States. Sound familiar? Body cavity searches that were happening, potentially at the airport. That’s why I was almost taken. The immigration agent says, “Your daughter has a rash, and so we’re going to put her into quarantine. You can go ahead on to Chicago.” And my mother has a mental breakdown right there and then, freaks out, calls on her privilege, starts screaming at the immigration agent. And that’s why I’m in this country, because she lost it. And in that phone call, my mother said, “I wasn’t just a big mouth.” She said, “I went into a state of trauma. That’s why I started screaming at him.” So, imagine my surprise, Amy, that I have a relationship — now I understand why I do the work that I do and the way that I do it, which informs the work Once I Was You. It is, yes, a memoir. Thank you for saying it was magnificent, Amy Goodman, once who was my boss. I love you. Thank you for saying that. You know, what I’m trying to say here is that it is not only my story; it is a policy, right? It is historical policy. The narrative is we love immigrants. The policies are, not so much. So, how does that apply to this moment? As I said, Chuck is exactly right. There is this entire generation, like, let’s say, in Arizona, where I was exactly 10 years ago. Those were the young people who were activists, who are now running for office and who are inspiring other young Latinos and Latinas to go to the polls. I’m not surprised that the issue of immigration is not number one. That’s my job. That’s my job as a journalist, is to be pushing that policy all the time, because immigrants who are suffering from that actually cannot vote, right? It’s the ones who vote who are thinking about these other issues. So that’s my responsibility. And on the issue of immigration, we do not have a so-called immigration issue in this country. There is zero net immigration. Refugees are down to what? Ten thousand? Fifteen thousand? It is basically at a zero. What this country has — and we shall see whether or not Joe Biden and Kamala Harris respond to this — is an international human rights crisis. We have women whose uteruses have been taken, and their children have been taken from them. And this is not a one-time thing. It’s been happening since they took Indigenous children away, since they took the children of enslaved Africans away, since they took the children of Japanese Americans during the internment. We have been — this is part of our history. And only we, and possibly this politician, if he wins, can change that. JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Maria, speaking of this whole issue of tearing families apart, the latest report that the numbers of children held in detention, not just by the Trump administration but also by the Obama administration, was much greater than had been officially recognized up until this point. Could you talk about how your reporting — your decision to get into journalism and the path that you took to get into journalism to report these untold stories? MARIA HINOJOSA: You know, Juan, first of all, thank you to you, Juan. I’ve been shouting you out on every single interview. Everybody needs to read Juan and Joe Torres’s book, News for All the People. Thank you, Juan. I understand why I do what I do. You helped me understand that. I am part of Frederick Douglass, who is — you know, I’m lucky enough to be five blocks away from a statue of him right here in Harlem. He is the man who helped me to understand why I’m doing what I’m doing. You helped me to understand that. So, the issue of immigration, Juan. You know, why is it that this country, on the one hand, is saying that it appreciates immigrants and, on the other hand, acts in total indifference to us? And you’re exactly right. One of the hardest — not hard, because I’m a journalist. I’m not a member of a party. I don’t really care about party politics. But, you know, to have to actually pull out the research and just be like, “Whoa, the last president — I mean, yes, Ronald Reagan, but the last president who actually increased numbers was George H.W. Bush, former head of the CIA.” He increased immigration numbers, increased TPS, increased refugees. So, Bill Clinton was the one who created the wall. He started the wall. He ran on an anti-immigrant platform. So, both — a pox on both of their houses. Now, this is where it gets tricky in terms of this moment, in terms of this election, because I think, really, for many Latinos and Latinas, that issue of immigration, they feel it again en la carne propia because it is their parents who cannot vote. And so, that is something that is motivating them to get to the polls and speak out. I don’t see that generation, of being directly impacted by these human rights violations and these immigration policies, sitting down and sitting on their hands. And you’re right, Juan, I was the one who went into the detention camps in 2011 and pointed the finger at Barack Obama. And while we all love Barack — you know, he’s amazing — the truth is, is that this is his Achilles’ heel. It will follow him and Joe Biden forever, until they fully apologize for what they have done, and say, “And we’re going to do better.” It’s not that hard, Juan, when you look at the level of dehumanization that we are all living with. Babies and children right now are being held in cages in the United States. They are not being fed. They are being psychologically tortured. There is torture occurring today, right now, on the backs of women, children, men, adolescents, simply because, like me, we were not born in this country. And it needs to stop. AMY GOODMAN: Maria Hinojosa, we want to thank you so much for being with us, award-winning journalist, author of the new memoir, Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America. Maria is founder of Futuro Media, host of Latino USA and co-host of the podcast In the Thick.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Once I was You,,,,no you are not a legally orphaned refugee child, Maria you never were. You entered legally with a parent who was a legal immigrant, with a professional job , not a legally orphaned child because we all know some of these children will never see their parents again,,this child did not and will never have the chance to attend an Ivy League college as you did What else do you have in common?

  24. 5 out of 5

    Oiza Cavallari

    How timely it was to read this as its Latinx Heritage Month. First many thanks to Atria book and the author for the opportunity to read the Advance Reader copy Emmy Award–winning journalist and anchor of NPR’s Latino USA, Maria Hinojosa, tells the story of immigration in America through her family’s experiences, what it means to be a survivor, a feminist, a citizen, and a journalist who owns her voice while striving for the truth. Maria shares her intimate experience growing up Mexican American o How timely it was to read this as its Latinx Heritage Month. First many thanks to Atria book and the author for the opportunity to read the Advance Reader copy Emmy Award–winning journalist and anchor of NPR’s Latino USA, Maria Hinojosa, tells the story of immigration in America through her family’s experiences, what it means to be a survivor, a feminist, a citizen, and a journalist who owns her voice while striving for the truth. Maria shares her intimate experience growing up Mexican American on the south side of Chicago and documenting the existential wasteland of immigration detention camps for news outlets that often challenged her work.⁣ ⁣ While there are trigger warnings of rape, assaults, immigration and Deportation This is a book that every one should read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Marian P

    Once I Was You is an interesting memoir written by award-winning Latinx journalist, Maria Hinojosa. Hinojosa uses the lens of an interaction with a young Honduran girl at the McAllen, Texas airport as a way into the subject of immigration. Hinojosa has etched an extraordinary career as a top-ranking journalist for such agencies as CNN, NPR, and her own network Futuro Media. The book recounts Hinojosa’s life in Chicago after immigrating to the United States at age one with her family. It also int Once I Was You is an interesting memoir written by award-winning Latinx journalist, Maria Hinojosa. Hinojosa uses the lens of an interaction with a young Honduran girl at the McAllen, Texas airport as a way into the subject of immigration. Hinojosa has etched an extraordinary career as a top-ranking journalist for such agencies as CNN, NPR, and her own network Futuro Media. The book recounts Hinojosa’s life in Chicago after immigrating to the United States at age one with her family. It also integrates the history of various Latinx immigrant group histories, especially the sets of circumstances that drive them from their home countries. Hinojosa left Mexico City in 1961, as her father was a research physician at the University of Chicago. By the time she left to attend Barnard College in New York she had become thoroughly politicized to many leftist movements in Latin America. Thus, when she cut her teeth as a journalist at WKCR, she began making a name for herself running Spanish-language music shows and later reporting on leftists struggles in Nicaragua and El Salvador. Later, Hinojosa began a long career with NPR, CNN, and eventually running her own media organization Futuro Media. I appreciated learning about Hinojosa’s struggles in the media as she is truly one of our finest Latinx journalism trailblazers. The book meaningfully depicted her struggles both at work and at home; however, the background sections on Mexican immigration, Central American struggles, and U.S. immigration policy might have been more fully developed as it suffered somewhat from underdevelopment and/or organizational issues. Despite that shortcoming, the book provides excellent insight into Maria Hinojosa’s personal life and career trajectory.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea (bookedwithc)

    Once I Was You is the memoir that we all need right now. Maria Hinojosoa is a gifted storyteller and reporter, who always centers the human in any story. This is exactly what she does in this book. She humanizes herself by sharing her struggles with imposter syndrome, the at-times unease in her marriage, the PTSD she’s suffered from her reporting, and her experience as a survivor of sexual assault. In addition to providing readers with a front row seat into her life, she also brings the facts ab Once I Was You is the memoir that we all need right now. Maria Hinojosoa is a gifted storyteller and reporter, who always centers the human in any story. This is exactly what she does in this book. She humanizes herself by sharing her struggles with imposter syndrome, the at-times unease in her marriage, the PTSD she’s suffered from her reporting, and her experience as a survivor of sexual assault. In addition to providing readers with a front row seat into her life, she also brings the facts about our nation’s history of immigration. Maria reminds us that, “Anti-immigrant feeling was and has been a naturally occurring, cyclical phenomenon in this country. It’s not a Republican or Democrat thing; it’s an American thing (until we decide it’s not).” She also makes it clear that language matters -- illegal is not a noun and no human being can be illegal. << In case you needed reminding. I truly cherished this read. I first discovered Maria Hinojosa on Latino USA, which is one of my favorite shows because it provides a platform to elevate our Latinx community, our lived experiences, and our stories. I’ll admit that prior to this book, I knew little about Maria’s career path, but it was inspiring to read about her hustle to carve a space of her own and her relentless commitment to amplifying the voices that often go ignored by mainstream media. Overall, this was a great book and I highly recommend giving it a read. It’s also timely with the recent reports of inhumane treatment happening at the detention camps along our US-Mexico border, which Maria has been reporting on for over a decade. Thank you to NetGalley and Atria Books for an e-ARC of this book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tess Blanch

    Once I Was You is Maria Hinojosa’s memoir, how she crawled her way to becoming an award winning journalist that brings humanity into her reporting. This book will give you a glimpse of the history of Mexican immigrants in the US, the atrocities committed to them just because they were not born in the US, the way they were used, abused, threatened, broken down and how until today nothing ever really changes. But what surprised me while reading this book was that even if you have your green cards Once I Was You is Maria Hinojosa’s memoir, how she crawled her way to becoming an award winning journalist that brings humanity into her reporting. This book will give you a glimpse of the history of Mexican immigrants in the US, the atrocities committed to them just because they were not born in the US, the way they were used, abused, threatened, broken down and how until today nothing ever really changes. But what surprised me while reading this book was that even if you have your green cards and US passports, they can still take it away from you just because you don’t look like American and you are not born in the US. Being a woman, more so a Latina, in an industry predominant run by men and white people, Maria gave us a glimpse of the industry she lives and breathes, sacrificing her personal life, mental health and the struggles she experienced just to find the truth and give voice to those who doesn’t have one. Despite the name she carved for herself and her status, she still feels small, insecure, always doubting and never believing in herself. Some people might ask why I am reading this and what is to me that these things were happening when I am far away cocooned and sheltered in my own little world and that these things doesn’t really concern me. Yes but as a human being, we learn, we emphatize, we listen, we understand their plight and if we give an ounce of respect to every human being we meet who has a different color than us, then we do our share in making this a better world, if not for us then for our children and the generation to come. Thank you Netgalley for the e-copy.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nuha

    Thank you Atria Books and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader's Copy! Now available. Up close and personal, "Once I Was You" is an unflinching look into award winning first generation Mexican American journalist Maria Hinojosa's journey in the United States. Starting with being screened out for potential measles and being heroically protected by her mother, Hinojosa has had to navigate notions of white American supremacy in the classroom, relationships and in the newsroom. As she grows up, Hinojosa Thank you Atria Books and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader's Copy! Now available. Up close and personal, "Once I Was You" is an unflinching look into award winning first generation Mexican American journalist Maria Hinojosa's journey in the United States. Starting with being screened out for potential measles and being heroically protected by her mother, Hinojosa has had to navigate notions of white American supremacy in the classroom, relationships and in the newsroom. As she grows up, Hinojosa becomes more and more aware of the structural inequities that drive immigration policy in the United States. Unflinchingly brave, she presents a case that highlights one of the chief contradictions of the Democratic party - that however progressive it may seem at the moment, Clinton and Obama have led some of the most regressive national crime policies that criminalized undocumented immigrants. Such policies laid the foundation for the current state of ICE today. Yet for all its political analysis, this is a memoir at heart and the best moments come when we see Hinojosa grappling by herself to come to an understanding of what it means to be a Latinx woman, a daughter, a wife, a mother in the United States today. These are the moments where we see her vulnerability and humanity at its best and these are the moments where we feel most connected and most emotional. A well balanced, informative and poignant read!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mari’s Book Club

    Maria Hinojosa is an award winning journalist and a big influence in the LatinX community.⁣ In her memoir she recounts her life as a Mexican immigrant living in Chicago. She shows us a very strong but also vulnerable Maria Hinojosa. Her vulnerability really helped me connect on a deeper level as a reader. ⁣As she recounts details of her personal and love life, she also takes us on a journey of her experiences as a journalist. It felt like an easy to follow timeline of events that occurred in the Maria Hinojosa is an award winning journalist and a big influence in the LatinX community.⁣ In her memoir she recounts her life as a Mexican immigrant living in Chicago. She shows us a very strong but also vulnerable Maria Hinojosa. Her vulnerability really helped me connect on a deeper level as a reader. ⁣As she recounts details of her personal and love life, she also takes us on a journey of her experiences as a journalist. It felt like an easy to follow timeline of events that occurred in the US. Hinojosa made me feel like I was there witnessing the events with her. She described the stories she witnessed with such detail and vivid imagery that it made it simple to follow her thoughts and her feelings as she reported them. ⁣The book is full of historical facts but is written in a very accessible way. It is not complicated to follow along. And not in one bit did it feel overwhelming to have so much history, on the contraire, you end this book with the sense that you learned something. ⁣ ⁣ She touches on issues like immigration, police brutality, and issues in brown and black communities.⁣ I personally couldn’t stop crying when Hinojosa explained in detail all the inhuman conditions that undocumented families are suffering in Detention Camps. ⁣ ⁣ I had an amazing experience reading this memoir. It really was a page turner for me.⁣

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ray Sinclair

    So much more than a memoir. With the skill of the seasoned journalist she is, Hinojosa provides an array of angles on her life as a Mexican-American working at the top of U.S. news media. It’s about the person – adolescent character-building events in Chicago, horrific sexual initiation, bouts of depression and work-related PTSD, and the work/life balance issues journalists face. It’s about the jobs -- a determined, fiercely-principled, and award-winning broadcast journalist who spent hours defe So much more than a memoir. With the skill of the seasoned journalist she is, Hinojosa provides an array of angles on her life as a Mexican-American working at the top of U.S. news media. It’s about the person – adolescent character-building events in Chicago, horrific sexual initiation, bouts of depression and work-related PTSD, and the work/life balance issues journalists face. It’s about the jobs -- a determined, fiercely-principled, and award-winning broadcast journalist who spent hours defending journalistic ethics to the CBS, CNN, and NPR media executives who were all too willing to subvert them for audience share. It’s about being a being a professional woman of color – the racism and misogyny she faced every day. It’s about American history – its deep ambivalence about and brutal treatment of undocumented (not “illegal”) immigrants since its start. And it’s about journalism – Hinojosa’s network reporting of some of the biggest national and international stories of the last 50 years, the preservation of human stories, especially immigrants’, through long-form documentaries, and starting a Latinx media company of her own after realizing she’s been aged out of the mainstream. So many complexities -- so skillfully related.

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