The Jaguar's Children by John Vaillant is not a fun book to read. In fact it is a disturbing book but that's exactly what's good about it. Sometimes we need to be disturbed. A group of illegal immigrants pay to be smuggled into the U.S. They are sealed into a water tank truck. The truck breaks down just this side of the border and the driver abandons them. Scenes of trying to survive inside the tank alternate with one immigrant's memories of what led him and a friend to try to enter the U.S. illegally. This book is a reminder that we in the U.S. can never really understand what it's like to feel true desperation and it gives some insight into what life is like in Mexico, which we erroneously think of as merely that lazy little country to the south.
My only complaint about the book - without giving away the ending I will say that it ends rather abruptly. The main question is resolved but it would have been nice to know what happened in the next few days or even the next few minutes. Still, this is a very minor thing and - I don't often say this - I think everyone should read it.