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Reviewed by Carmen Tenorio for Readers' Favorite
An Immigrant's Journey by Roger Andersen is a story about a young Norwegian lad named Enok Opsal who decided to seek a better future in America. He dreamed of a life of freedom and prosperity. Arriving in New York with $25 to his name, he struggled to find his footing. He tried to settle in by taking on difficult work that he didn't like as he needed to survive and save some money. It was through a construction-related job that he forged a career that gave him not only work satisfaction but more importantly the financial stability that enabled him to get married and raise a family. His work took him all over the West, the South, and New England as part of a crew that constructed railways and started electrification. He later went on his own by having a lumber company and a small construction firm. Despite his success, his love for Norway never waned and this prompted him to travel back to his original home on occasion. On his retirement, he also acquired a property in New Jersey to recreate the Norwegian farm lifestyle that he had experienced before arriving in the United States. Although he loved farming he finally moved to be with his sister-in-law because of his advanced age.
An Immigrant's Journey by Roger Andersen gives us a micro-level perspective of a migrant during the era that saw the veritable American melting pot from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. The author has used his grandfather's personal experiences to weave a novel around a foreigner's struggles, hardships, and adventures as he tried to find his purpose and settle down in early twentieth-century America. The story illustrates the pioneering attitude and the hope that was shared by many immigrants at that time as well as the accomplishments and triumphs that Enok Opsal achieved. Cultural nuances like cuisine, traditions, and clothing are vividly described which will elicit reader appreciation. The use of photos contributes to the authenticity of the story and it sometimes feels as if you are traveling back in time. Enok's journal entries also serve as a timeline for the plot, which allows the reader to be an intimate part of the journey. This novel tells us that America has a lot to offer beyond better opportunities and financial freedom as a reward for hard work. It can also be a place for seeking and living dreams of adventure to help create your narrative where you see yourself living a more well-balanced, fulfilling, and happy life. America is what it is today because of the hard work of people who came before this generation existed. Highly recommended for those who like historical fiction.