63 pages 2 hours read

Reyna Grande

A Dream Called Home

Nonfiction | Autobiography / Memoir | Adult | Published in 2018

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Summary and Study Guide


A Dream Called Home is a memoir published in 2018 by the award-winning Mexican American author, Reyna Grande. The book is the sequel to her bestselling 2012 memoir, The Distance Between Us, which addresses Reyna’s experiences crossing the US-Mexico border as a child. The title alludes to the American dream while also gesturing to varied concepts of home. This summary refers to the 2018 English-language edition published by Atria Books.

Plot Summary

Reyna divides her memoir into two parts. Book 1, “Twice the Girl I Used to Be,” describes her life as a creative writing student at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). Reyna faces microaggressions by white students and faculty and battles feelings of otherness before finding her place in her program. Key moments from this period include her professor mispronouncing her name on the first day of class, moving her troubled sister onto campus, finding writing mentors, and becoming more comfortable with her dual identity through her involvement with a student folklórico group. Flashbacks recounting Reyna’s abuse, abandonment, and immigration are interspersed throughout Book 1.

Book 2, “The Home I Carry,” focuses on Reyna’s post-university years, a period initially marked by professional and personal setbacks. Reyna struggles to find employment as a writer, takes a job teaching middle school that leaves her with little time to write, and has a series of failed romantic relationships, one of which results in the birth of her son. She also contends with her grandmother’s death and the cycle of abuse afflicting her family. Despite these challenges, Reyna tenaciously clings to her goal of becoming a professional writer and building a loving home. She buys a house, becomes a fellow with a prestigious writing program, meets the man of her dreams, and lands a book deal for her first novel, Across a Hundred Mountains. The memoir ends with a short epilogue outlining Reyna’s life in the years following the publication of her book.

Related Titles

By Reyna Grande

Study Guide


Across A Hundred Mountains

Reyna Grande

Across A Hundred Mountains

Reyna Grande