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"Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope" by Jenna Bush-Hager

PUBLISHED DATE: September 28, 2007

ISBN: 978-0061379086

PAGES: 304

In 2006 Jenna Bush interned with UNICEF and worked with young people in crisis. She documented her experiences there, but turned her encounter with one young woman, living with AIDS, into the focus of this book. Ana, of course, is not the woman's real name. Jenna explains that she is telling this story with the young woman's permission.

Ana's mother died of AIDS, leaving Ana's grandmother to raise the her and her sister. Ana's Uncle "touches" Ana and her sister...the text alludes that the Uncle was raping the sisters, but it is unclear. I felt that this should have been clearer as Ana was infected with AIDS at a young age, and could have passed it on to the Uncle and/or other victims. As the audience for this book is intended for young people, and ones who could be suffering similar fates to Ana, this distinction could have provided tools and been more informative. I wasn't sure if the purpose of this story was to make middle to upper-middle class Americans aware of the prevalence of stories like Ana's throughout Latin America or to help young people like Ana get help.

This wasn't the best or worst book. I think for me, the best part of the story was trying to imagine the dynamic between a former president's daughter, and this very troubled young mother. I'm not sure if this book is exploitative, or helping marginalized teens.

Recommendation: If you'd like to read about marginalized teens, there are books that are written better and more compelling. Clearly, the selling point here is that a former President's daughter did humanitarian work, and then wrote about it. If that interests you, then you should read this book.

Audience: Young Adults and up

*I borrowed this book on my library Overdrive account.

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