2020 isn’t over yet. Unfortunately. (Sorry for the reminder!) But hey, we’re super close and to celebrate, I have one final book review to share with you before we bid a fond farewell to the hell that was 2020. And that book is… *drum roll* Come On In edited by Adi Alsaid. This is a YA anthology centred around immigration and everything that relates to that. Now this was an important read for me because my late grandad, who sadly passed away last month, emigrated from Poland (technically Germany) as a young boy.
Like many of the fictional characters in this book, it was a struggle for him. He’d left his mother and siblings behind. There was a language barrier and he was bullied in school for it. But he worked exceptionally hard to build a life for himself and I’m proud to tell you that it was a wonderful life. However, there are obviously certain privileges that come with being a white immigrant. And I think that one of the biggest ones is how easy it is to forget where you came from. I think it’s really important that we don’t forget our ancestral history, the people who came before us and how we came to be where we are. And that’s a big part of the reason why I wanted to read Come On In. I wanted to learn more about immigration through fiction and this seemed like a great way to do exactly that.
Many thanks to Harper360 UK for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Come On In: 15 Stories about Immigration and Finding Home
edited by Adi Alsaid
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Date of Publication: 7th January 2021
Format: eBook (313 pages)
CONTENT & TRIGGER WARNINGS:
racial profiling at airports/checkpoints
I have a love-hate relationship with anthologies. Short stories rarely capture my attention in the same way as longer prose. However, that was not the case here. There wasn’t a single story in this collection that I didn’t enjoy. Sure, there were some I connected with more than others but I still enjoyed what each story brought to the table.
The collection itself features a diverse range of authors, all of whom were new-to-me, and tackles different themes or aspects of the immigrant experience. With that in mind, there are obviously a lot of heavier themes here. But don’t let that put you off, there’s a lot of heart here too.
Out of the 15 stories, The Wedding by Sara Farizan was my favourite. It was emotional, empowering and engaging. But my main reason? The grandfather character. I loved that he had such a prominent role in the story and that I could relate to the sentiment behind it. It hit me like a punch in the gut. And once the tears started coming, they didn’t stop. It was cathartic and beautiful and yeah, I just loved everything about it.
Some of my other favourites included:
- All The Colors of Goodbye by Nafiza Azad
- The Trip by Sona Charaipotra
- Volviendome by Alaya Dawn Johnson
- The Curandera and the Alchemist by Marie E. Andreu
- A Bigger Tent by Maurene Goo
- Confessions of an Ecudorkian by Zoraida Córdova
Overall, this is a wonderful collection from an extremely talented and diverse group of authors. I cannot recommend it enough. So thanks once again to Harper360 for giving me the opportunity to check this out. I loved it!
If my review has piqued your interest, please do go and check it out. The hardback is out in January but you can grab the Kindle edition immediately.
Do you like reading anthologies or short story collections? Let me know in the comments!