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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

    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!

  2. 4 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!

  3. 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.

  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. 5 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. 5 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. 4 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. 5 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.

  11. 4 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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..

  14. 4 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.

  15. 5 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

    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?

  17. 4 out of 5

    Chiara

    4.75/5 ⭐ While this is technically a memoir, it really is part memoir, part journalism sharing the history of immigration and immigration policy in the US. Hinojosa is an award winning journalist and the anchor of NPR's Latino USA and she tells her own story as a Mexican immigrant and the stories of immigrants in the context of her own reporting. This book is intimate, heart-wrenching, and for me it was extremely informative. I read a chapter a day because while it was an interesting, insightful, 4.75/5 ⭐ While this is technically a memoir, it really is part memoir, part journalism sharing the history of immigration and immigration policy in the US. Hinojosa is an award winning journalist and the anchor of NPR's Latino USA and she tells her own story as a Mexican immigrant and the stories of immigrants in the context of her own reporting. This book is intimate, heart-wrenching, and for me it was extremely informative. I read a chapter a day because while it was an interesting, insightful, and important read - it was not an easy read. Particularly the last handful of chapters in which she reports on the immigrant detention camps and comes to fully face her own past with sexual assault/rape, were not easy to read. Please note her descriptions are detailed and evocative, but not graphic or gratuitous (in my opinion at least). This book goes all the way back to when the author immigrated to the US as a baby in 1962 up through the present. I really liked that this book wove together a personal story and history, and I really learned a lot on the history of immigration policy from this book. One of my biggest takeaways from this book is how much I don't know, and how much I have not noticed and/or ignored, and this is pushing me to make sure I pay attention. The last chapter of this book is a call to action and a story of hope – it was very moving and felt just perfect. This was such an insightful and poignant book - I highly, highly recommend it. I will list a few of my favorite quote sin the comments below. CW: sexual assault/rape, 9/11, terrorism, sexism, racism, miscarriage, Favorite quotes:   “These are my truest inspirations, the ones who may be invisible to you, but who are in fact everywhere around us. Everywhere around you. If you would just open your eyes and see them.”   “I am their legacy. I am writing my own American history, not only making these invisible women visible but also tenderly inviting them in to take up space in my heart. Their longing to be here is one I can understand.”   “A paycheck will never erase being a witness to the humiliation of an innocent human being whose only real crime, like me, was not having been born in the US.”   “Illegal is not a noun”   “To me, being a reporter meant seeing the humanity in everyone, especially people who are perceived as invisible, and then making it hyper-visible to others.”

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bookworm

    I am somewhat familiar with author Hinojosa from Latino USA but did not know her backstory. As Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month draws to a close, I was happy to be able to read this. I was curious to see what I'd learn about her life, background, experiences, what it's like to be a woman of color working as a journalist, and how she got here today. Someone I follow on Twitter talked about how it was also a good story of how we got to where we are, which made me more intrigued. We follow Hinojosa gr I am somewhat familiar with author Hinojosa from Latino USA but did not know her backstory. As Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month draws to a close, I was happy to be able to read this. I was curious to see what I'd learn about her life, background, experiences, what it's like to be a woman of color working as a journalist, and how she got here today. Someone I follow on Twitter talked about how it was also a good story of how we got to where we are, which made me more intrigued. We follow Hinojosa growing up in Chicago through the years as she balances being an "other" in the United States. We also read about her career, climbing the ladder, her life, including her marriage and family. We also read about a history of immigration policy in the US, ending pretty much with the Obama years. Overall, I thought it was okay. While certainly a perspective that is very underrepresnted in the US media, I also thought the book was too "I did this and then this and then did this" as a way of telling the story. It could also bounce back between her life and career to US history/immigration policy which could sometimes be really jolting and I'm not sure the two blended well in the sense of the book itself (but it's not hard to see how it impacted her life and upbringing and career). Some of the book is tough to read (for example, she was sexually assaulted and while not graphic, does not shy away from the topic). She faces misogyny and racism in her life and career. Her work as a journalist puts a strain her family and marriage. In the end, though, it was certainly worth a read, especially if you're an aspiring journalist or even if you're an established one. Viewpoints like Hinojosa's are even more valuable right now and media news rooms really need to do more to find, cultivate and promote reporters who look a little less like Dan Rathers and Walter Cronkites. Library borrow was best for me.

  19. 5 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.

  20. 4 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.

  21. 5 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.

  22. 5 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!

  23. 4 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.⁣

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Maria is many things: Mexican immigrant, journalist, producer, activist, wife, mom, and major chingona! The book not only follows her life, but also gives a history of immigration in this country. It was really powerful to read and learn more about immigration policies and what influenced them. I did know some facts, but I still learned so much. To see the motivation behind the laws as well as who was impacted is important for every American to know. She talks about how US involvement has also i Maria is many things: Mexican immigrant, journalist, producer, activist, wife, mom, and major chingona! The book not only follows her life, but also gives a history of immigration in this country. It was really powerful to read and learn more about immigration policies and what influenced them. I did know some facts, but I still learned so much. To see the motivation behind the laws as well as who was impacted is important for every American to know. She talks about how US involvement has also impacted immigration. We see Maria grow up traveling across the border to visit family in Mexico and we see her kick ass as a journalist and see her in her professional journey. She is courageous. She reports on issues, but gives them a face and truly personalizes her stories. It’s clear that the stories she tells impact her by how she tells them. Reading her memoir felt like she was telling me her story over a cup of coffee. I cried when she experienced hardships or when she shared someone’s heartbreaking story. I cheered and said, “YASS girl!” various times. I could relate to her constant feeling of imposter syndrome and her struggles with mental health. Overall, she inspired me more than I can say. Just seeing her, a fellow Latina, go after what she wants and succeeding at it truly motivated me to keep working on my dreams! Seriously, if you need some inspiration, this is absolutely a must read!! If you want to see the humanity in stories regarding immigration, Katrina, 9/11, political activists, READ THIS! She also is bipartisan in talking about immigration policies and she calls out anyone who needs to be called out. It’s a memoir, a history lesson, an inspiration ❤️Thanks for telling us your story and the stories we need to hear Thank you to Atria Books for my ARC

  25. 4 out of 5

    Donna Boyd

    Thank you to #NetGalley, Maria Hinojosa and the publisher for providing me with a digital copy of this book prior to publication in exchange for my review. Once I Was You is Maria Hinojosa's memoir of her own experience as an immigrant coming to this country from Mexico with her family when she was just an infant. It is an honest, beautifully written book that is very timely in today's political climate. Interwoven with her immigrant experiences are significant events in the history of immigrati Thank you to #NetGalley, Maria Hinojosa and the publisher for providing me with a digital copy of this book prior to publication in exchange for my review. Once I Was You is Maria Hinojosa's memoir of her own experience as an immigrant coming to this country from Mexico with her family when she was just an infant. It is an honest, beautifully written book that is very timely in today's political climate. Interwoven with her immigrant experiences are significant events in the history of immigration in the United States and this helps the reader see that while Hinojosa's experience was a positive one for the most part, others stories are not at all positive. Hinojosa tells the stories of detainees who experienced horrible treatment including physical and sexual abuse and tells their stories in an objective way that somehow makes the horror of what they experienced even worse. Hinojosa is an NPR anchor and has won numerous awards, including two Emmy awards, for her journalism and this book is well worth reading. It is full of learning moments and makes the reader realize that immigration affects each and every one of us.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alice

    A truly inspiring account of Hinojosa's life and career and our country's complicated and evolving relationship to immigration. Hinojosa reminds me of that quote along the lines of "Courage is not the absence of fear but acting in spite of that fear", as she time and again pushes herself out of her comfort zone and beyond what the world tells her she is capable of or deserves -- driven by her talent, curiosity, ambition and deep drive to humanize the subjects of her reports so that viewers/liste A truly inspiring account of Hinojosa's life and career and our country's complicated and evolving relationship to immigration. Hinojosa reminds me of that quote along the lines of "Courage is not the absence of fear but acting in spite of that fear", as she time and again pushes herself out of her comfort zone and beyond what the world tells her she is capable of or deserves -- driven by her talent, curiosity, ambition and deep drive to humanize the subjects of her reports so that viewers/listeners recognize themselves in people they previously perceived as the "other". As a result of reading this book I plan to seek out her podcasts In the Thick and LatinoUSA. I read an ARC and there were a few abrupt-feeling transitions as she moves from job to job or story to story. Also, the link she describes between the de-lousing stations at the El Paso border and Nazi gas chambers is horrifying as well as believable but is mentioned so quickly -- I would love to see a footnoted citation to document and provide further source material for readers. Thank you.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This one was really, really hard. Reliving the last several decades of abuse and atrocities perpetrated against immigrants by the US government was hard. Especially in the current political climate where it is very difficult to find any path to hope. I finished this book on the day Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. The confluence of federal government immigration abuses and atrocities plus the complete and utter ineptitude of COVID response all piled on top of the end of any hope for any court p This one was really, really hard. Reliving the last several decades of abuse and atrocities perpetrated against immigrants by the US government was hard. Especially in the current political climate where it is very difficult to find any path to hope. I finished this book on the day Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. The confluence of federal government immigration abuses and atrocities plus the complete and utter ineptitude of COVID response all piled on top of the end of any hope for any court protections for the marginalized or our"democracy" itself is heavy. Hinojosa rightly says that immigration is not only the story of her life but has only gotten worse and worse as she has covered it. May this be the turning point, both for our democracy and for US immigration policy. Hinojosa is a fighter of the calibre of RBG: thank you for everything you have done in your career. Si se puede.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Gabriela

    Instantly became one of my favorite books. Words cannot express how much I appreciated hearing the voice of a Mexican-American struggle to succeed in a country that keeps telling us that we don’t belong. Constantly trying to prove that we deserve to be here costing us a piece of our mental health. Her battle with imposter syndrome, sexual assault, marriage, owning her bicultural identity, success, ethical journalism. This last one was probably one of my favorite parts. I learned a lot about immi Instantly became one of my favorite books. Words cannot express how much I appreciated hearing the voice of a Mexican-American struggle to succeed in a country that keeps telling us that we don’t belong. Constantly trying to prove that we deserve to be here costing us a piece of our mental health. Her battle with imposter syndrome, sexual assault, marriage, owning her bicultural identity, success, ethical journalism. This last one was probably one of my favorite parts. I learned a lot about immigration, not from left or right, but from facts. She equally criticized Democrat and republican led governments. Her reporting on the human right abuses immigrants are currently facing is so timely. You will not regret reading this book. She’s a badass showing us her humanity, her struggles, heartaches, doubts, and her constant fight to give a voice to the voiceless.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Denise Talen

    This is a book that every one should read. Really. Part memoir, part hard hitting journalism, Maria Hinojosa combines her personal story of immigration as child and her career in journalism with both the hard facts and personal stories of immigration in America today. She does not shy away from pointing out the huge problems found in immigration in US and how this makes the US seem very two-faced. I found this captivating read that really challenged my own thinking on immigration. Knowing the fa This is a book that every one should read. Really. Part memoir, part hard hitting journalism, Maria Hinojosa combines her personal story of immigration as child and her career in journalism with both the hard facts and personal stories of immigration in America today. She does not shy away from pointing out the huge problems found in immigration in US and how this makes the US seem very two-faced. I found this captivating read that really challenged my own thinking on immigration. Knowing the facts and the stories Hinojosa shares makes my heart hurt for immigrants and the US as a whole. If you care at all about immigration, no matter which side you fall on, you should read this book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Teresa Krammer

    I’ve been an avid listener of Latino USA for a little over a year now, so I was really excited to learn more about Maria’s life and her journey as a journalist. As a daughter of an immigrant, I resonated with young Maria, trying to define her identity as a Mexican woman, but a very American woman as well. Maria weaves her story of becoming a journalist with the story of how current immigration policies came to be. Just as with the other Futuro Media podcasts, This book taught me so much more abo I’ve been an avid listener of Latino USA for a little over a year now, so I was really excited to learn more about Maria’s life and her journey as a journalist. As a daughter of an immigrant, I resonated with young Maria, trying to define her identity as a Mexican woman, but a very American woman as well. Maria weaves her story of becoming a journalist with the story of how current immigration policies came to be. Just as with the other Futuro Media podcasts, This book taught me so much more about current state of affairs than I have from mainstream media. An important read for anyone that really wants to further understand the issues at hand.

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