Awhile back I posted about first discovering the Mexican, Gustavo Arellano. I recently finished reading his new book, Orange County: A Personal History. As I said in my previous post, Orange County isn't a place I'd naturally want to read about, but since I'd so enjoyed Ask a Mexican, I decided to give this book a try. I was not disappointed at all. It's a great little history of both Orange County and the author's family. After the introduction, it took me a few chapters to get into the rhythm of one chapter focusing on the county and then one chapter focusing on the family, repeated to the end of the book. The county chapters are genuinely entertaining and mostly* ignored Orange County's somewhat obnoxious television reputation, which is most of what I knew about the county prior to this book. The family chapters are good reading too; I've always enjoyed a good biography and it's interesting to read about the family's transition from Jerez, Mexico to Orange County, U.S.A. Also included are tips on where to eat around Orange County and occasional reminders that all of us can expect to have more Mexican neighbors in the future, wall or no wall.
*I say mostly ignored because there is a whole, entertaining chapter (The "Real" Real Orange County Reel, or: About Those Stupid Television Shows, Why Orange County Is "Hip," and What's Really Real and What's Somewhat Real--for Real!) on the subject, but the book isn't saturated with it.