A gripping tale of adventure and searing reality, Lucky Boy gives voice to two mothers bound together by their love for one lucky boy.
Solimar Castro Valdez is 18 and drunk on optimism when she embarks on a perilous journey across the US-Mexican border. Weeks later she arrives on her cousin's doorstep in Berkeley, California, 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-30s. 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, storytelling, 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.
©2017 Shanthi Sekaran (P)2017 Penguin Audio
Mother, knitter, reader, lifelong learner, technical writer, former library assistant & hematologist.
Like other reviewers, I felt that the plot of Lucky Boy was timely, but for me the telling of it was just average in the hands of this author. Solimar Valdez embarks on a dangerous and violent journey from Mexico to the United States in hopes of a better life, even though she will be undocumented. She arrives at her cousin's house in California, unexpectedly pregnant, finds a job as a nanny, and gives birth to her son, Ignacio. Kavya and Rishi, a young Indian couple, want to be parents but are unable to conceive. When Soli is arrested as an illegal immigrant, Kavya and Rishi become foster parents to her son Ignacio, and the story unfolds.
This book was interesting because it presented the protagonists' stories, with no easily identifiable good guys or bad guys among the main characters. Some of the descriptions of Soli's incarceration in the detention center are truly harrowing, and it's easy to understand her need and intense desire to be reunited with her son. I had a tougher time accepting the depth of Kavya and Rishi's desires to truly become parents as they were not characterized as well. They seemed too frivolous too often. At times the writing was overwrought and melodramatic, which was unnecessary in a story with plenty of its own innate drama. I kept reading to learn Ignacio's fate, but that was the only reason I finished the book.
Loved every second of the audiobook even though at times it broke my heart. The characters were unforgettable and the issues brought up with this story give it even more depth.
As a voracious reader for over 60 years, and a former foster child, I was interested in the premise of the story so I decided to listen. Turns out this was one of the best books I have ever read/listened to, and I'm sure I will listen/read it again and again though I never do that. I will also read/listen everything Sekaran has written and everything that Nankani and Ortega have narrated. This audiobook and its written version are a tribute to love and a gift to the listener/reader just when we need it most.
I haven't read the print book but this book I think is stunning either way. The author's style is just wonderful and I really fell in love with the characters.
I haven't listed to any of the author's books before, nor any books by the narrator.
I think it would be Kavya and her husband, they were such warm and caring people and really had their heart on their sleeve. They experienced such a devastating event that I don't know many people that would be able to come back from it or keep going.
Beautifully written! Wonderfully narrated, both the Mexican voices and the Indian voices. It was hard to put it down. Shanti Sekaran is a very talented writer.
The exaggerated and stereotypical accents were unnecessary and insulting. People from Mexico do not speak like the reader's ineffective attempt at authenticity.
The narration was excellent, but I didn't like the way the story ended or the sympathetic portrayal of one of the main characters, Soli. She made her own problems and had an entitled and arrogant attitude. She was only concerned with herself and what she wanted.
"A beautiful, moving yet challenging tale"
So many emotions in one story: motherhood, love, determination, fear, pain. Such a timely novel to enjoy and prompt thought.
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