Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Book Review: Lucky Boy

Lucky Boy

I loved this book. I can't say that enough. It was unbelievable. 

This book couldn't be more timely with the state of the world right now. In America, people are being deported every day. Children and families are being torn apart. It seems as if every day we are being told that another politician that wants to "crack down" on illegal immigration. Don't worry though this book review will be 100% free from political views. 

This book tells the heartbreaking story of an undocumented young woman, Soli, who risks everything including her life for a new life in America. The risk for her are far dangerous than she could imagine, or you could believe for that matter. She is pregnant and has decided to make this harrowing journey. She crosses over the California Border from Mexico. Where she lands in the city of Berkley. 

This book highlights an ever growing problem in America. The story is told in conjunction with a narrative of a young couple that is of Indian descent. We learn that their names are Kayva and Rishi. They desperately want to have a child, but so far have been unsuccessful. Infertility has become a source of pain in the young couple's marriage.

Their paths cross when Soli is jailed for illegal immigration, and fraud for letting  Kayva and Rishi adopt her son.  The couple ends up getting their miracle baby, little Ignacio. Unfortunately, this turns into a bitter, painful, and brutal custody battle between both parties. (couple and mother)

This story grabbed me from the very beginning. I couldn't have pictured a story that would evoke so much emotion in me. It is hard for me to imagine that in America, children can be separated from their parents who came here illegally. It seems so unamerican and cruel. 

The author did a great job at developing characters from two different walks of life. Soli, who is a poor woman from Mexico. Coming to America because life was far from perfect. She has suffered greatly in America. This suffrage has only fueled her deep-rooted bitterness. The only good thing that she has had is her son. Whereas, Kavya has had a pretty good life. She is married to a very lucky man who has a great career. Her life isn't perfect, and her culture has caused much pain in her life. She still longs to be a mother. Little Iggy is fulfilling her dreams to be a mother. 

I also enjoyed how the author captured the sacrifices of motherhood within this book. The joy, pain, and hurt are a constant in this book. First, we see Soli, who is struggling with incarceration, giving her child up for adoption, a move she regrets. Then secondly, we see Kavya who desperately wants to be another. She wants to be perfect, be better than her mother. These women seem to be so different, but they aren't really. They are both mothers, each flawed and beautiful. 

Ultimately the book asks the question, which mother should the child stay with. The ending this book was realistic. Although it caused me to ponder which mother had rights to this precious boy. Even though I found the ending to be good, I still have deep lingering questions about who truthfully cares for this child. While both sides may have good intention, neither seems to look out for the interest of the boy. 

The only bad thing about this book was its length. At times I felt like the chapter could have been left out, the book could have been trimmed. It didn't take away from the story much though. 

I highly recommend this book to everyone. This book is complex, deep, layered, and rich. It will become an instant favorite. 

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest and 100% unbiased review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I encourage you to read the book for yourself and decide if you don't like it or not. 

Goodreads Description: 

Solimar Castro Valdez is eighteen and dazed with optimism when she embarks on a perilous journey across the US/Mexican border. Weeks later she arrives on her cousin's doorstep in Berkeley, CA, dazed by first love found then lost, and pregnant. This was not the plan. But amid the uncertainty of new motherhood and her American identity, Soli learns that when you have just one precious possession, you guard it with your life. For Soli, motherhood becomes her dwelling and the boy at her breast her hearth.

Kavya Reddy has always followed her heart, much to her parents' chagrin. A mostly contented chef at a UC Berkeley sorority house, the unexpected desire to have a child descends like a cyclone in Kavya's mid-thirties. When she can't get pregnant, this desire will test her marriage, it will test her sanity, and it will set Kavya and her husband, Rishi, on a collision course with Soli, when she is detained and her infant son comes under Kavya's care. As Kavya learns to be a mother--the singing, story-telling, inventor-of-the-universe kind of mother she fantasized about being--she builds her love on a fault line, her heart wrapped around someone else's child.

Lucky Boy is an emotional journey that will leave you certain of the redemptive beauty of this world. There are no bad guys in this story, no obvious hero. From rural Oaxaca to Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto to the dreamscapes of Silicon valley, author Shanthi Sekaran has taken real life and applied it to fiction; the results are moving and revelatory.

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