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.
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.
I had high expectations for Lucky Boy, but it did not captivate me like I wanted and expected. Towards the end I struggled to finish it. The story started off great and was incredibly thought-provoking, but I felt some of the events were a bit unrealistic*. However, Sekaran is a gifted writer and I appreciated her vivid details and intricate characters. The novel is about two women, Solimar Castro Valdez, an undocumented young woman from Mexico and Kavya Reddy, an Indian-American woman and their immense love for you guessed it – a lucky boy named Ignacio. The novel deals with heavy duty issues which include: immigration, detention, infertility, adoption, and motherhood. I recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about any of the issues listed above.
I would like to thank NetGalley, Shanthi Sekaran and Putnam books for an ARC copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
*I initially felt Lucky Boy was too unrealistic, however…the current immigration events taking place in the United States have changed my opinion. Compared to the immigration atrocities going on at this time, this book is a fairy tale and a walk in the park!