From Publishers Weekly Master caterer Sarah Laden is barely holding her life together as a widow with two difficult sons—recalcitrant teen Nate and troubled fifth-grader Danny—when the unthinkable happens. Her best friend and neighbor, Courtney Kendrick, is arrested in a child sex abuse scandal. Courtney's husband has vanished; their 11-year-old son, Jordan, is in the hospital recovering from a suicide attempt; and across the street Nate is finding, in Jordan's backpack, evidence of unthinkable abuse. Kittle (Traveling Light; Two Truths and a Lie) crafts a disturbing but compelling story line, as Sarah, Nate and Jordan uncover and come to terms with the horror in alternating chapters. Sarah, for instance, is shocked to learn that she dropped off food for the Kendricks' sex parties; Jordan must decide whether or not he wants to continue a relationship with his mother—who insists she's innocent—if and when she gets acquitted. Kittle's research sits awkwardly in expository dialogue—"One in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before their eighteenth birthdays," intones the detective who will later become Sarah's love interest—but it doesn't slow the momentum. Though the movement is toward healing, there are bumpy roads ahead for everybody in this melodramatic but gripping read. (Jan.)
My Review Readability: This is a compelling read. I started this book late one evening and was up way too late reading! I began reading the book again once I awoke. Overall: Last night before bed I started this book. I read until after midnight and dreamed about this book all night. I woke up and finished the book before noon. It was a disturbing subject matter, but very well written. It kept me wanting to know what happened. It was the story an abused child and his journey to recovery and his experience with the legal, foster care and social services agencies. Being a social worker in a social services agency, I find this type of book very compelling. I rate this book 4.5/5 = Recommended / A good read. ...more
This is the story of migration, love and loss as two women (Adelina and Juana) find the path of their lives crossing. Juana’s family suffers a tragedyThis is the story of migration, love and loss as two women (Adelina and Juana) find the path of their lives crossing. Juana’s family suffers a tragedy which greatly affects Juana’s relationship with her mother. Juana’s father, Miguel leaves to go to the United States to find work and money for the family. Juana and her mother struggle greatly in the absence of Miguel. After two years, Juana leaves Mexico to search for her father.
Juana is befriended by a young woman, Adelina in a Tijuana jail. Adelina was born in the United States and came to Mexico with her boyfriend. The two make plans to leave their life in Mexico behind them and go to the United States. Juana is desperate to find her father and find out why he did not return to Mexico as he had promised.
The story is told in alternating chapters by Juana the young girl living in Mexico in poverty with her mother and Adelina a 30 year old social worker in Los Angeles.
This is a debut novel by Reyna Grande. I love discovering new authors! I can only imagine the Reyna Grande enhanced the story by using some of her personal life to shape this story. When Reyna was 5 years old her parents immigrated to the United States and left her and her siblings in the care of their grandmother. At the age of nine, Reyna immigrated to the United States to be with her parents. She currently resides in Los Angeles. Author’s Website is http://www.reynagrande.com/
My Review: This book was recommended to by my friend, Syd. I thought the writing was good. The book was engaging and had a good flow to the story. The descriptions of life in Mexico were interesting and heartbreaking. I felt a bit confused in the middle of the story by the alternating chapters by the two women, Juana and Adelina. The author quickly brings it all together and it all makes perfect sense. Once everything started to come together, I had a hard time putting the book down. Once again I stayed up too late reading! 4/5 – Recommended/ A Good Read.
I have not read Brick Lane, so I cannot compare this work to Monica Ali’s previous work. This book struggled to hold my attention, especially towards I have not read Brick Lane, so I cannot compare this work to Monica Ali’s previous work. This book struggled to hold my attention, especially towards the middle. I found the characters to be interesting, but never developed to a level where I cared what happened to them. I thought some great issues were touched on in the book such as: immigrant slavery/labor force and mental illness. The diverse restaurant workers all had a story of their immigration, but the lack of development of them was a real missed opportunity to me.
I found myself feeling like I was always getting just a piece of the story. I wanted to know more about Gabe’s mother and her illness/life, more of the story of the lives of the diverse immigrant work force. I didn’t really find Gabe’s recollections of the time he spent with his father at the Mill to add much to the story.
I struggled to keep picking up this book. I wasn’t too concerned about getting back to Gabe. The story does start to gain some momentum towards the end as Gabe spirals into what I can only guess is a manic episode. But as quickly as Gabe’s manic episode began it ends very abruptly without any real intervention. The momentum of the ending came a bit too late for me!
3/5 – OK/ An Average Read (the ending caused me to bump the book up from a less than satisfying rating)