Title: Lucky Boy
Author/s: Shanthi Sekaran
Publication Date: January 10th 2017
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Number of Pages: 480
“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. “
The moment Julia (from PRH International) introduced the book to us, I knew that Lucky Boy is not my cup of tea, but somehow I wanted to read something that is out of my comfort zone.
Thank you Penguin Random House International for giving me an opportunity to read and review Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran in exchange of an honest review.
Lucky Boy is one hell of a strikingly beautiful novel, wherein two main characters were introduced. Soli , an illegal immigrant from Mexico who got involved with some guys, and found herself pregnant. She is the birth mother of Ignacio “Nacho”. Since she’s an illegal immigrant, she got into trouble with the state’s laws. Soli temporarily lost custody of her child.
Then meet Kavya , and her husband Rishi , Ignacio’s foster parents. Kavya and Rishi had a hard time trying to make a baby, they were so close to having one, but all their hopes fell when the baby lost its heartbeat. They tried and tried and almost gave up, until Ignacio “Iggy” entered their life. Kavya treated him as her own, gave him a life that is close to perfection. However, only one mother can have Ignacio.
Tell me how to stop all these feelings? The novel is full of hard reality facts. Subject matters are of importance. Immigration, parenthood, issues that are prevalent in this generation. Also, though the book did not focus on this particular aspect, rape issues were present.
The book was set in a familiar place, but funny how the people aren’t. There were different beliefs, personalities, values and characters.
Even if the book did caught my interest, I can’t help but notice the flatness of the author’s writing style for the first 30 pages. Good thing that it happened to impressively improve along the way. I was too invested to the lives of the two mothers, but going close to the resolution, the story started to bore me. I lost interest. Everything happened to be predictable. And the only thing that keeps me reading is the fact that I know the importance of this book, and that I am rooting for a surprisingly different ending. BUT, the ending left me upset, disappointed.
Overall, Lucky Boy is definitely a compelling and promising book. One that is full of love and at the same time it will leave you conflicted.
Shanthi Sekaran was born and raised in California, and now splits her time between Berkeley and London. A graduate of UC Berkeley and the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, she was first published in Best New American Voices 2004 (Harcourt).
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