Solito: A Memoir

[Solito: A Memoir]
Year: 
2022
Public: 
Publisher: 
Hogarth
Year of publication: 
2022
Pages: 
400
Moral assessment: 
Type: Thought
Nothing inappropriate.
Requires prior general knowledge of the subject.
Readers with knowledgeable about the subject matter.
Contains doctrinal errors of some importance.
Whilst not being explicitly against the faith, the general approach or its main points are ambiguous or opposed to the Church’s teachings.
Incompatible with Catholic doctrine.
Literary quality: 
Recommendable: 
Transmits values: 
Sexual content: 
Violent content: 
Vulgar or obscene language: 
Ideas that contradict Church teaching: 
The rating of the different categories comes from the opinion of Delibris' collaborators

The writer Javier Zamora was born in La Herradura, El Salvador, in 1990. His father fled El Salvador when he was one year old, and his mother when he was about to turn five. Both parents migrated because of the Salvadoran civil war (1980-1992). In 1999, Javier migrated through Guatemala, Mexico and the Sonora desert.

On the back cover we read: "At the age of nine, Javier Zamora embarked on a journey of five thousand kilometers from El Salvador to the United States to be reunited with his parents, leaving behind everything that was familiar to him. In the company of a group of strangers guided by a coyote, the journey that was to last two weeks turned into an impossible odyssey of almost two months, changing his life forever. Solito' is the story of that experience. A book full of love, kindness and gratitude. It is Javier's story, but also the story of millions who had no choice but to leave home."

In this autobiographical novel, the writer himself states that "just like my parents, I didn't stop to think about what happened to me those seven weeks when I traveled from El Salvador to California. I never forgot El Chino, Patricia, Carla, Chele, Marcelo and all the people I met on the way, but remembering them was painful. It wasn't until I started writing poetry and, later, this book (something impossible without the massive help of my psychologist), that I had the courage, and felt sane enough, to revisit these places, the people and the moments that shaped me. I hope that this book will reunite me, in some way, with El Chino, Patricia and Carla, that I will know what happened to them after we parted ways and know what their life has been like in this country. I don't think I ever thanked them. I want to thank them now, as an adult, for risking their lives for a nine-year-old boy they didn't know."

At the beginning, it is already indicated that the events and people mentioned in the book are real. To protect the identity of some of them, he changed their names or used nicknames.

It is a very detailed, costumbrist narration, with a good characterization of the main characters. It is very entertaining. It captures the attention more and more, achieving a quite edifying story: in the face of dangers, everyone helps each other, they pray and thank God when overcoming the different setbacks that arise, they make an effort to take care of their personal hygiene, something difficult in those circumstances, and our protagonists, in a special way, are brave, without ever losing hope. In particular, Javier will try to behave as well as possible, not to complain, not to cry, to eat whatever they give him. The writer clearly expresses the fundamental value of what it means to form a family, to feel loved and always supported.

The language used includes quite a few idioms of the areas they are crossing and, in general, it can be vulgar. There are some violent scenes. The novel leaves a satisfying taste and can clearly be recommended.

Author: Ricardo Isla Bellvis, Spain
Update on: Feb 2024

Other review

Moral Assessment: 

A migrant child, from Salvador. Real story narrated by the child after 20 years. Inspiring story: bravery, hope, family.

Author: Alejandro Cid, Uruguay, 2023