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Henriquez's The Book of Unknown Americans is a simple novel in its narrative structure, but the themes running throughout it are full of depth and complexity, especially for contemporary American culture.

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As the reader is introduced to the Rivera family, the central characters of the novel, he or she is given the point of view of several Hispanic immigrants. Not only do these chapters that vary in perspective give a glimpse into the various characters but also the various cultures from which these characters come. It is clear that Henriquez desired for her novel to subvert stereotypes regarding Hispanic culture and introduce the complex differences between Spanish-speaking countries.

In addition to calling readers to be more open-minded in their thinking about Hispanic cultures, Henriquez also spends a good deal of time in the novel focusing on Maribel Rivera's traumatic brain injury, which indicates a desire for awareness and care regarding special education.

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