This is another book I wished I'd enjoyed more, as I did Griest's previous memoir Around the Bloc: My Life in Moscow, Beijing, and Havana. After having explored cultures foreign to her own, Griest decides to spend a year in Mexico, examining the roots of half of her bloodline. The parts where she explores her Mexican and mixed race identities are compelling, but the reportage in most of the book is less so, at least for me.
In fact, one of the people she befriends in Mexico calls her on this very thing, her experiencing Mexico as a reporter and being cold or dismissive of Mexican's feelings and customs. I can't judge her for this; she admits that though she's aware of her negative behaviors she doesn't know how to fix them. I really like that she lets her less desirable characteristics show. I would have liked to have seen more of her personal side. It's always there, but sometimes the book reads like extended essays, rather than a continuous memoir.
Lots of people who like to read nonfiction more than I do will appreciate Griest's reporting on the queer scene in Querétaro, indigenous people and Zapatistas in Chiapas, and the strikes in Oaxaca.