by John Dennehy

I must admit that when I saw “Illegal” in its crowd-funding days on an American crowdfunding platform which I don’t want to mention by name, I never made much of it. See, I’m not big on memoirs. After I’ve learned that this American Crowdfunding Publishing firm had deicded to give “Illega”l the boot (in a very non-affable manner) I’ve decided to give it a chance. And boy am I glad that I did!

John Dennehy recalls from memory and scribbles, the account of his life in Ecuador as an “Illegal gringo”, during days in which the country have seen turmoil and citizen unrest, coup d’etat and more. He has been living in the heart of it all, a privilege kid from the states, who decided (post 9/11 and the growing nationalism Iraq war) to start a clean slate.

John teaches English in a few Ecuadorian institutes, falls in love with the beautiful Lucia, and become one of the locals in the city of Latacunga, a relatively unknown and un-touristical place.

The writing is virgin, if not naive, which makes this novel so endearing. John account of events is interesting, in a way which will hold you by the collar and literally would not let you drop the book (or Kindle Device). The author emphasizes throughout the novel the difference between reality as he sees it and common perceptions in the US, by publishing the State Department’s travel warnings in regards to countries such as Ecuador and Colombia. We also grow with him, and see how he evovles and get disillusioned with the romance of revolution, connecting the sites in the end of his story to the same nationalism he had fled from, in the states.

A must read for anyone with an open mind, for travel lovers, for “mochileros”, and for even for fiction lovers like myself! 5 stars without any doubt.