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Set along the international border between El Paso, Texas, and Cuidad Ju rez, Mexico, AMERICAN TUMBLEWEEDS tells the bittersweet story of a Mexican-American family's struggle to stay together as tradition collides with the social upheaval of 1960s America.
The novel is seen through the eyes of Inez, an innocent and vulnerable thirteen-year-old girl, who suffers the pangs of growing up in more ways than one -- she is a part of two cultures, one that is her birthright and the other that is rooted in school and the teenage friends who are also struggling to find their American identity. Helplessly they "tumble" back and forth over the southernmost border of the U.S. It is a physical divide caused by the politics of nations. But more importantly, it is a cultural and familial separation. For Inez, life in El Paso is full of American rock music and the new personal freedom that comes with it. But it also holds a darker undertow of families torn apart by social mores that separate young from old. Life on the other side of the Rio Grande comes with a high price tag. Inez, isolated from her father, struggles to find some kind of separate peace. But even with her most devoted friends the adjustment in the US of A is a hardship. AMERICAN TUMBLEWEEDS is insightful, timely, and captures poignantly the growing pains of all immigrants whose dual cultural identities lend them both strength and strife.