Train to Nowhere Book Club

     After completing Train to Nowhere:  Inside an Immigrant Death Investigation, a few days were needed to fully comprehend the senseless, traumatic occurrence that author Colleen Bradford Krantz features in her work of non-fiction.  Without bias, Krantz unfolds various accounts and backstories of the people involved in the gruesome deaths of eleven undocumented immigrants.  Not only does Krantz paint a vivid picture through the peppering of the text with actual photographs, but also provides legal documentation and historical backgrounds while detailing the politics involved in the immigration issue.  By the end of this written account, I felt as if I, too, had made feeble attempts to preserve dirt floors, to search tirelessly for repeat immigrant offenders, and literally to bake to death while desperately searching for a better life.
     On a grammatical note, tears welled in my eyes at the accurate punctuation of “20s” (35).  Yet, my anal English-teacher self cringed at the repetitive use of the words “got” and “things” which (in my opinion) would have read much cleaner and clearer with the use of active verbs and concrete nouns respectively as replacements.
    For the purposes of book club, no food or drink allowed.  This meeting does not call for feasting and merriment.  Instead, a productive talk about how an individual can act as an instrument of change regarding the immigration situation in this country.  Furthermore, a viewing of the accompanying documentary Train to Nowhere:   Inside an Immigrant Death Investigation  will only further place the reader inside this journalistic must-read.

Colleen Bradford Krantz

Learn More about Author Colleen Bradford Krantz

A film that brings tears to your eyes . . .

It has to be “Love Story.” I love quite a few older movies, but this from the 1970s is one of the best when it comes to tear-jerkers.
Describe your first kiss.
I just heard a great commercial asking listeners to describe their second kiss. Their point was you can’t remember it. First is best, they argued. I barely remember that first kiss, though, so the commercial was lost on me. I can say it involved a game of spin the bottle in the seventh grade, but wasn’t exactly a romantic highlight in our lives.
Your favorite children’s book, and why . . .
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe would have to be my favorite (along with the others in the Chronicles of Narnia series). As a kid, I loved this world the author created through that wardrobe door. It was a place I wanted to explore myself.

A cause that’s closest to your heart, and why . . .
I lost my big sister to cancer when she was just 34 so cancer prevention and research are close to my heart. As much as that, though, is trying to embrace an attitude of generosity and kindness that was so built into my sister’s nature. I try to donate time and money to a mix of causes that fit into her view of life.
If you could be a character in any novel, who would you be and why?
Probably Brianna from Born in Ice or the other Concannon sisters in the Born In trilogy by Nora Roberts. I love the idea of living in Ireland, which my ancestors left long ago, but Roberts also makes these women very real with real interests/hobbies (besides the men).
Explain the worst job that you’ve held.
I’ve not had any truly horrible jobs, but I guess de-tasselling corn as a high school student might qualify. I grew up in rural Iowa, and walking the fields of seed corn and pulling off the top of the corn plant (the tassel) was a quick way to make good money during the summer. Of course, the corn was usually soaked with dew at the 5:30 a.m. start time so you were too within five minutes. But, hey, there were a bunch of my friends out there too so somehow it was more fun than not.
A quote that motivates you . . .
This sits on my desk, nice and simple: “Dwell in possibility” – Emily Dickinson
The title of the one song you would take with you on that deserted island . . .
“If I Had Words” – a song featured in the movie Babe – but I’d be most happy if it were sung by the farmer and then the little mice. Hey, it’s going to be a long stay on the island. I’d need something to amuse me.
Three Wishes
1) I’d wish that all my family and friends live a healthy and happy life, and when their time comes, that they might go gently.
2) I’d wish for a boatload of money with which to do good around the world. Yes, money might be the root of all evil, but, let’s face it, it can also be a tool for good.
3) I’d wish that all my future wishes would be granted once I’d submitted them and waited a required two-week waiting period to make sure it was a smart wish.
Favorite game you played as a child . . .
Capture the Flag. Not sure why except I love the outdoors and this is best played in a forest.
What would you like readers to take away from your writing?
I want them to walk away understanding a perspective they might not have truly understood before or even considered. In the case of Train to Nowhere; Inside an Immigrant Death Investigation, I wanted those on one “side” of the immigration debate to understand the boy from Guatemala who wanted so badly to have his chance to see the United States. But I also wanted the other side to understand the former Border Patrol/immigration agent who once guarded that line in the sand even though his own ancestors once crossed it to leave Mexico. My goal is to tell both “sides” of any story as fairly as possible.