One day when Diane Guerrero was 14, she returned home from school to find her family’s Boston home deserted. Her parents, undocumented immigrants from Colombia, had been taken away by immigration officials and locked up to await deportation. As a U.S.-born American citizen, Guerrero could stay in the states and finish high school, but she had to rely on the kindness of family friends for a place to stay. Separated from her family by thousands of miles, she struggled with depression and substance abuse.
Eventually, she pursued acting — a passion she had nurtured for years but discarded as too risky — and earned roles on successful shows like Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin. Her memoir In the Country We Love is both a thoughtful coming-of-age story and powerful testimony in the current debate on immigration in the United States.
“With just about every script, in almost every corner of the set, I was faced with the truth: This was my parents’ life. My mother had sat in handcuffs; my father had once worn an orange jumpsuit like the dozens that sat folded in our wardrobe department. For the other actors and me on our show, this was all fantasy, the re-creation of a world we knew little about; for Mami and Papi, it could not have been any more real or painful.”
Diane Guerrero is an American actress, and is best-known for her roles on Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin. Guerrero grew up in Boston, and remained in school there after her family was deported; as an adult, she is an outspoken activist for immigration reform.
Length: 272 pages
Main Setting: Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Secondary Settings: Colombia; New York City, New York, U.S.
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