The Iguana Tree by Michel Stone

The Iguana Tree by Michel Stone
Published by Hub City Press
Review copy provided by the publisher in conjunction with TLC Book Tours

Hector and Lilia are married and have a beautiful one-year-old daughter they adore. Unfortunately, life in Mexico is incredibly difficult for them, and in order to provide a better opportunity for his wife and daughter, Hector decides to illegally cross the border into the United States. When Hector arrives in South Carolina after a harrowing journey, he finds the job and opportunity he prayed for, and he lets Lilia know that soon he will save enough money to bring her and their daughter to the US. Lilia, however, has other plans, and the decisions she makes will change their lives and their family in shocking, irreparable ways.

What a gem of a novel The Iguana Tree is. From the moment I picked up this book, I fell in love with the beautiful writing, these desperate, headstrong, determined characters, and the picture that Stone painted of how difficult and complicated the issue of illegal immigration truly is. When I say from the moment I picked up the book, I mean that literally in the way that I fell in love with this family from the first page, as the book starts off with them both still in their home in Mexico, at a time when Hector and Lilia were as in love as possible and they had a beautiful but incredibly difficult life with their daughter and Lilia’s aunt. When Hector leaves, he carries so much hope with him throughout his journey it was almost as if I could reach into the pages and feel that hope with him – that is how well Stone captured his emotions and translated them to me as the reader. I loved Hector immediately and hoped so hard that things would work out and he would be reunited with his family in a short amount of time.

Some of Lilia’s actions and decisions were incredibly frustrating for me, but Stone also painted the picture of extreme desperation in Lilia. The choices she made were the choices that nobody would ever dream of making, and would only do the things she did out of the belief that there was truly no other viable option. One thing I loved about The Iguana Tree was how deeply it caused me to think about the tough subject of illegal immigration. Through Hector and Lilia’s story, Michel Stone shows the reader that there are no easy answers to this ongoing issue. The fact that people do go through what Hector and Lilia went through every single day, and many don’t live to tell the tale, is distressing and difficult for me to swallow. It breaks my heart that we still have not figured out as a country the answer to this debate, and as a result, human beings like Hector and Lilia pay the price for our inability to get this thing right. It is painfully sad and very sobering but The Iguana Tree brings the issue to light in a very real way.

Even though this is a novel about a difficult subject and as a result is very sad, I loved this book so much and ultimately Stone managed to convey a message of hope even through the end, when it seems that all might be lost. I embraced this novel with my whole heart and I highly recommend you read it too.

16 thoughts on “The Iguana Tree by Michel Stone”

  1. I love books that make me think about issues like this and, of course, when they have great characters. I definitely want to read this book! I think I posted on someone else’s review that the cover made me think of The Lonely Crossing of Juan Cabrera which I had to read in jr. high… for that reason, I think, I always imagined that Hector’s immigration to the U.S. was by boat.. and when I read here that he was from Mexico (which I’m sure I read on other reviews but didn’t process) it hit me that he probably didn’t travel by boat, LOL! And the blue on the cover of this book is ground, not water, haha..

    1. LOL no he did not travel by boat! He was stacked in a false-bottom bed of a toy truck with many other men like sardines. I loved the characters in this one and I highly recommend you read the book, Jenny!

  2. What a beautiful review! It totally captures the heartrending choices that Hector and Lilia had to make, and like you, I found the book to be very moving and solidly written. I can’t imagine having to do the things they did, for a freedom that we often take for granted. Great review today! You said all the things that I wanted to say in a really unique way.

  3. Trying to purge the “very sad” part of this post out of my mind!! I’ve been really curious about this one and hope to pick it up eventually. So glad to hear you loved it. Hope can be a powerful thing…

    1. It is a sad story, to be honest, but ultimately the ending is left pretty open and one can only hope that things work out the way you want them to. I loved it though.

  4. I am glad that there are peopple whom care like all of you, God bless you, and may one day things change for all in good way if there is hope is in peopple who take the time to help those in need that is what North America is a big brother to all nations and is only peopple like you whom make a difference in society.

  5. i have only read the first 50 pages. I was immediately hooked on the book from the 1st page. Im not much of a reader but when I read a book its because it is exceptional. I highly recommend you get yourself a copy.

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