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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
What We Know For Sure by Lia Ocampo are the real stories of immigrants who came to the United States through the Special Immigration Visa initiative for Filipinos who dedicate their careers, usually twenty years but in Ocampo's case it was eighteen, in the service of the United States Embassy in the Philippines. Ocampo begins her story on touchdown in the US and details her initial struggles that were managed especially well as she pieced a life together through hard work, sacrifice, faith, and a little help from her friends. The book has dozens of stories written by others who arrived in the United States under the same visa program but with their own experiences, creating a wide-ranging anthology that allows for an extraordinarily diverse collection.
America the melting pot is brought to full life in What We Know For Sure. Lia Ocampo's story is inspiring as really well written, as are those who follow with their own. I admit that when I first started reading I was perplexed by the sheer volume of contributors who formulate a book that feels a little short for twenty-six tales, complete with photographs. This concern was short-lived as I began to immerse myself in experiences such as Fe Sacro who writes, “Leaving a long-time career and comfortable life isn’t easy. But change can be good, especially if it concerns the future of our children.” I was also moved by Cecille Canlas's story in which she initially struggles, working jobs she's overqualified for, but ultimately she builds a comfortable life for herself in Las Vegas. This is a wonderful book that inspires and delights, and I am so grateful to have read it.