Julián Castro is another of the 2020 Democratic Presidential candidates. But his 2018 book, An Unlikely Journey, isn’t about the campaign. It contains no specific platforms or policies. Instead, it’s one man’s unique origin story. Unless you count that his identical twin brother, Joaquin has nearly the same story.

Castro grew up in San Antonio, Texas, a third-generation Mexican American. His grandmother, called Mamo, crossed the border as a 7-year-old orphan. She later had an illegitimate daughter, Castro’s strong mother Rosie. And then Rosie had her twins with a married man, who had another family on the opposite side of town.

Rosie raised her sons in the poorest of the poor neighborhoods. She relied on Mamo for child care, and worked full-time to support the family. Despite these difficulties, she and her sons were able to rise up enough to give back to their community. It’s an inspiring story.

My conclusions

Two elements tie the Castro generations together—education and politics. Rosie brought her sons along as she fought for the rights of San Antonio’s Mexican Americans. So their involvement in politics and community service isn’t surprising.

And when he was a kid, Castro knew that Mamo regretted not completing more of her education. His family talked often about the importance of school, and Rosie also demonstrated it in her own actions. Knowing this, it’s no surprise that Julián and Joaquin both attended a high-quality university and each achieved a post-graduate degree.

I appreciated learning more about the genuine concern Julián Castro feels for his fellow man. His story has some complexity that he didn’t dive into deeply. For example, he could have written more about his mayoral and cabinet secretary experiences.

However, Castro throwing his hat in the President election ring seems based in a desire to be of service. Reading this book didn’t clarify whether he’s the man for the job this time, but it did introduce me to his life and the work he’s already done.

Castro is self-effacing about his mistakes in life, and comfortably confident in his overall success. His writing style is simple and easy to read. And finishing a book in two days is always a good thing for me. If you’re looking for information about the 2020 candidates, this one should be on your list.