A couple of weeks ago, I noted that my coming Orange County: A Personal History was positively reviewed by Kirkus, one of the two major book review journals in the publishing world. Today, I found out that the other one just weighed in: Publishers Weekly. And not just any review: my book received a coveted starred review, which is about as easy to get from the company as nice words about illegals from the Minuteman Project.
The review is here, but I include it after the jump in its entirety:
Readers get two stories for the price of one in this witty and informative memoir. Journalist Arellano (¡Ask a Mexican!) chronicles the sweet-and-sour story of his family's assimilation into American culture, while also recounting a historical narrative at odds with the bucolic ideal of a place that's been mythologized for decades. “We're so American, so Orange County, that we're even prone to romanticize a past that never existed.” Arellano's structure keeps the narrative moving along at a snappy pace, alternating the threads of the story so “odd chapters constitute the memoir, even chapters tell the history, and one complements the other.” Readers get solid background on the beginning of master-planned communities during the 1920s, the little remembered Citrus War, Orange County's embarrassing 1994 bankruptcy and special mix of conservatism coupled with a dollop of big-time religion. “A 2005 Harper's article named Orange County the country's second hotbed of evangelical Christianity after Colorado Springs,” Arellano writes, and of the 100 megachurches in the U.S. with the largest congregations, four are in Orange County. Arellano explores a place he calls the “Petri dish for America's continuing democratic experiment” and delivers a prescient view of the new American landscape.
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Yeah, I'm as shocked as you. Remember, folks: the book comes out Sept. 16, and my first book signing is Sept. 18 (many more details to come) through Libreria Martinez. If you're so inclined to buy, buy with them, por favor.