In The O.C.

Luis Alfaro reviews Gustavo Arellano’s new book, a memoir called Orange County: A Personal History. Arellano is is the author of Ask A Mexican, based on his famed columns and radio interviews. This new book charts his family’s history, its travels from El Cargadero to Anaheim, and the challenges that come from living in this ultra-conservative, anti-immigrant enclave. Here’s a snippet from the review:

The opening pages of “Orange County” provide an assessment of the place today. It’s still affluent and politically powerful with a large conservative base. According to a recent census, however, the demographics are shifting; the population is now roughly 60% white, 30% Latino/Hispanic (a number that has nearly doubled in the last 15 years), with a rapidly growing Asian community. Thirty percent of its residents are foreign-born.

And yet, writes Arellano, it’s not just television that has failed to paint a realistic portrait of Orange County. Also to blame are the founding fathers and historians who “follow a tight OC Story, almost positivist in predetermined steps and outcome. . . . We don’t care for the facts — we print the legend.”

You can read the rest here.