Rummanah Aasi
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.

Review: Despite the cheery title, Lucky Boy is a heart wrenching novel that humanizes the issue of illegal immigration. This timely book is told from two point of views of women who come from very different ethnic and socioeconomic differences though they both struggle with motherhood and the meaning of family. Their lives are intersected by one little boy and I'm hesitant to call him 'lucky' given the horrible circumstances that surround him. 
  Soli is an undocumented Mexican immigrant determined to start a new life in America. During her treacherous journey across the border, she ends up pregnant and single. Without other options, Soli lands a job cleaning houses for a well-to-do white family. Soli has an extremely hard time raising her son, Ignacio, without calling attention to herself. In a parallel story, Kavya is a non-traditional Indian daughter who has failed to live up to her mother's expectations. Kavya is desperate to start a family, but she is unable to conceive. Her tunnelvision of having children push her and her husband Rishi apart until they decide to adopt. Soli and Kavya's stories intersect when an accident puts Soli in police custody, Ignacio is taken away from her by social services and placed in foster care; Kavya and Rishi, are then selected as Ignacio's foster parents. 
 It was heartbreaking watching Soli being ripped away from Ignacio. My heart ached for both of them. We also learn of Soli's horrible treatment while she is placed in a detention center for undocumented immigrants. She undergoes physical abuse as well as being continually raped by one of her guards who is there to "protect her".
  I also felt for Kavya and Rishi as they try to learn how to become parents and how they fall in love with baby Ignacio. The heartbreaking journeys of these two women, bound by love of the baby boy, are the center of the novel. All of the characters are drawn complexly and the relationships depicted are nuanced. The expectations of what "happily ever after" should look like and the reality is also nicely explored throughout the book. Along with the heartache, there are moments of hope and light that are full of great depth and insight. Though the ending maybe be a bit melodramatic, I found it completely engrossing and would recommend it.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is strong language, mention of rape and molestation, and sexual situations. Due to mature themes, I would suggest this book to mature teen readers and adults only.

If you like this book try: The Secret Daughter by

2 Responses
  1. This sounds really good and timely. I wish I could read fast enough to keep up with all the good books everyone is reviewing!

  2. Unknown Says:

    Ah bummer. I am an adult (most of the time :P) But I try to avoid content like that. Thanks for warning!

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