Shanthi Sekaram’s second novel, Lucky Boy , is a moving portrait of two families as they struggle to integrate themselves into the structure of modern day society in America. Kavya and Rishi Reddy have been trying to have a child for some time. Frustrated and alienated from their friends and family who continually question their success, the Reddys are moving farther apart from each other and their goal of a family creates a wide gap in Kavya’s happiness. Rishi dives into work to avoid the growing misery at home, and the couple struggle to find a support system as they seek different options.
Solimar Castro Valdez has long dreamed of America. Born in the deserts of Mexico, her father hopes for a better life for her and promises to send her north to her dreams. When he finally saves enough money, she is cast on a journey that is harrowing and heartbreaking but she makes it to her cousin’s home in California. Undocumented, without papers, Soli learns she is pregnant and must figure out how to support herself and her child in their new home.
Sekaram shifts back and forth between the lives of Soli and the Reddys, shifting the perspectives from hopeful to desperate throughout the course of the novel. A poignant and devastating story that shows the severe damage and trauma of immigration in America, Lucky Boy is a timely novel that is incredibly hard to swallow. While the characters are lovable and their tribulations are deeply nestled in their hopes and dreams, I found it hard to navigate through the waves of heavy sadness that flow through the book. It is a necessary read for many who cannot grasp the amazing journey of immigrants to this country as well as the hard truth of the foster care system, but I do not promise and easy, digestible read. Take your time with this novel, allow it to teach, to settle and hopefully you will walk away a better person for having read it.
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