By: Amanda Eyre Ward
Published: January 20, 2015
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Best-Selling author, Jodi Picoult has said, "This is the timeliest book you will read this year...This one's going to haunt me for a long time." I would have to agree with her. No matter what your political views of immigration and poverty are, this is a book you must read. The story it tells will leave a significant impact on your heart.
In alternating chapters we are introduced to Carla, a child living in horrible conditions with her grandmother and twin brothers in Honduras. Carla's mother is in Texas and sends money and American clothes to help care for their needs. In the next chapter we follow Alice, wife of Jake, who has just had their newly adopted baby taken away from them when the birth mom changed her mind a day later. Jake and Alice are their 40’s and are the owners of a famous BBQ in Austin, Texas. From the outside, they live an idyllic life, except all they want is a baby and can't have one.
Each chapter shares more details of Carla and Alice's despair and sadness. Carla just want to be WITH her mom and Alice wants to BE a mom. After unbelievably horrible situations, Carla continues to battle and stay strong. In weekly phone calls, she begs her mother to come home and each time her mother declines, promising to send money. At times I became so angry I wanted to scratch the mom's eyes out for the pain and heartache she was causing Carla. In one chapter, Carla and her brother are living off of a paste of flour and water and her mother sends a beautiful party dress for Carla. Carla states,
"When would I wear such a thing?
What did my mother think my life was like?
You could not eat a dress."
A series of events leads Carly to finally, at just eleven years old, pack up and make the dangerous trek to America. Her story of perseverance, faith, and hope was beyond amazing.
Alice continues to grieve the loss of the baby they thought was theirs, not realizing her husband is also grieving and losing hope in their marriage. Alice takes on being a "Big Sister" to a floundering teenager and believes that will help her fill the emptiness in her heart. But a teenager isn't a baby and her husband isn't on board with this new plan. After helping her sister through a devastating loss, Alice is able to come to grips with her life and what may or may not lie ahead.
When Carla and Alice's story come together, you won't believe it and the emotions will pour out of you as you realize that both of them never lost faith and all their pain and suffering was worth it for this one moment.
This story of Carla's trek to the border shares the dangerous conditions thousands are willing to put themselves and their families in just to reach their dream of living and working in America. Factories, dairy farms, construction firms, etc are constantly looking for laborers, even here in Iowa and immigrant workers seem to be the only ones willing to fill the need. After reading this story, I am looking at these families differently. Their children are in our schools and communities and I had never thought about the difficulties they left behind. Is living in America really their dream? Was it all they hoped it to be? Even if your beliefs are to send immigrants back to their homeland, you won't be able to deny the feelings Carla's story will invoke and the realization that all of us live under THE SAME SKY. Amanda Eyre Ward has told an important story and one that should be read and discussed. I think this would make an excellent choice for book clubs or classes studying sociology. It is the kind of book you won't forget. Amanda Eyre Ward is new to me, but I will definitely want to check out her other books soon.
|Amanda Eyre Ward - source|
She lives in Austin, Texas with her family. For more, visit her website, HERE. You can also find her on Facebook, HERE, and Twitter, HERE.
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