Reviews for Hunting Season : Immigration and Murder in an All-American Town

Booklist Reviews 2013 September #2
*Starred Review* Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ojito achieves another award-worthy feat, this time for her treatment of the minefield issue of immigration. Her focus is on a tragic 2008 incident in which a group of teenage Long Island boys intended only to harass an illegal Ecuadoran immigrant. But the encounter resulted, instead, in the man's death. After conducting extensive research and listening painstakingly to everyone involved who was willing to speak to her, Ojito then writes with such clarity and evenhandedness that this could be about an emotionally neutral topic--say, apple pie. Yet even as she maintains a dispassionate though not unfeeling distance while relating everyone's points of view, she does tie everything to the overarching concerns that shape each of the boys and their lives. The fact is, they have families who care about them and who tried to raise them to be decent people. And the deceased, Marcelo Lucero, also had a loving family and his own plans for the future. In Ojito's hands, the aggregate effect of their stories is one that is far more profound than the diatribes of pundits on both sides of the complex, deeply human question of immigration reform. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 September #2
A disturbing account of how attacks on Latino immigrants became a teenage sport in one suburban town, whose bigotry is seen here as typical of much of America. Ojito (Journalism/Columbia Univ.; Finding Ma˝ana: A Memoir of a Cuban Exodus, 2005), who was part of the team that won the Pulitzer Prize for reporting on race in America while at the New York Times, takes an in-depth look at the entwined issues of racism and anti-immigration sentiment. Where once new immigrants headed for large cities, now the destination is often suburbia. In this account, it was an influx of Ecuadorians to Patchogue, N.Y., that aroused hatred to the point of mayhem and manslaughter. The author tells her story through key players in the drama, among them Marcelo Lucero, an Ecuadorian who was stabbed to death; Angel Loja, his companion, who was also attacked; Julio Espinoza, the "pioneer" Ecuadorian emigrant to the town; the librarian who started an outreach program to the town's Spanish-speaking immigrants; and Jeff Conroy, the teenager stabber, and his six buddies who, on a November night in 2008, were out "hunting for beaners," as they called their search for Latinos. In the background are politicians, TV pundits, lawyers, police officers, ministers and, importantly, parents. As Ojito reports, the message that many young people in Patchogue receive over the dinner table is that immigrants are despicable pests and that hunting them down meets with parental approval. The author lets participants tell their own stories, and their words reveal much about their attitudes. Conroy, who received a long sentence, was surprisingly willing to talk to the author, and his father and several Ecuadorian parents are well-portrayed in the later chapters. A dark reminder that anti-immigrant sentiment has a long history in this country and that the immigration issue is not going away any time soon. Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2013 November #1

The primary victim in the 2008 tragedy described in this book was an undocumented Ecuadorean immigrant man who was attacked by a group of Long Island youths, but the act rocked a community and transformed a fairly average teenage boy into a convicted killer. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Ojito (Finding Ma├▒ana: A Memoir of a Cuban Exodus), who was a Mariel boatlift immigrant, expertly conveys the details of the crime, the international background of the victim and perpetrators, and the case's legal outcome and sentencing. Data sources include interviews, written works, and legal transcripts concerning the case. While this is basically a case study of murder in a generally safe and wealthy but highly segregated New York county, the narrative contains multiple complex themes involving immigration, bigotry transmitted generationally, hate crimes, and juvenile mayhem. Well documented, objective, and very readable, this title sends a powerful message about the need for tolerance, respect, and openness as public virtues and the important role that civic leaders and even libraries can play in fostering these values. VERDICT A vivid, journalistic account that will mostly appeal to those with a serious interest in immigration issues rather than to casual true crime readers. [Note: The events of this book were also the subject of the recent documentary Not in Our Town.--Ed.]--Antoinette Brinkman, formerly with Southwest Indiana Mental Health Ctr. Lib., Evansville

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