This Year's Book

The 2019 LMU Common Book

The 2019 LMU Common Book is Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions, by Valeria Luiselli.

The LMU Common Book program is designed to unite the LMU community in a common intellectual endeavor that goes beyond the classroom. Luiselli’s book will offer a touchstone for discussing meaningful and contemporary issues related to immigration, child detention and border control. Moreover, the book’s accessible and elegant prose provides space for conversations about forms of narrative, rhetoric and stylistics. The Guardian review said, “In this compelling, devastating book, Luiselli documents the huge injustices done to the children by both the American and Mexican governments, and by the public who treat them as ‘illegal aliens,’ rather than as what they truly are: refugees of war.”

Luiselli worked as an interpreter for dozens of children and teen migrants who crossed Mexico to reach the United States, needing help as they pressed their legal cases for asylum. She structured her book on the 40 questions that are asked of those undocumented Central American children facing deportation. “Tell Me How It Ends” was the winner of an American Book Award and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism and the Kirkus Prize for nonfiction.

The Common Book Planning Committee hope that the latest selection serves as a mechanism through which all members of the LMU community – students, faculty and staff – can share a common experience through the uncommon discoveries in reading. Faculty members are encouraged to adopt Tell Me How It Ends in their courses. 

--John Jackson & Mia Watson, Co-Chairs of the LMU Common Book Committee

Publisher's Description

"An indictment of our treatment of undocumented children, a reckoning with our culpability for the dangers they are fleeing, and a damning confrontation between the ideals of the American dream and the reality of American racism and fear, Tell Me How It Ends is required reading for anyone concerned with human rights, human dignity, and our most fundamental responsibilities to each other. Luiselli's encounter with asylum seekers demands we see these children. What we do next is up to us."