Review: The Same Sky

Book Title: The Same Sky

Book Author: Amanda Eyre Ward

Book Rating: ☆☆☆ (3 out of 5 stars)

Synopsis: “In this heartrending and poignant novel, award-winning author Amanda Eyre Ward tells the story of Alice Conroe, a forty year old Texas barbecue owner who has the perfect life, except she and her husband long for a child. Unable to conceive, she’s trying desperately to adopt but her destiny is quickly altered by a young woman she’s never met.

Fearless thirteen-year-old Carla Trujilio is being raised by her grandmother in Honduras along with her four year old twin brothers. Her mother is sending money home from Texas where she’s trying to make a better life for her family, but she only has enough to bring one son to her. When Carla’s grandmother dies, Carla decides to take her fate into her own hands and embarks on a dangerous journey across the border with Junior, the twin left behind.

Two powerful journeys intersecting at a pivotal moment in time: Alice and Carla’s lives will be forever and profoundly changed. Heartbreaking, emotional, and arresting, this novel is about finding the courage to trail blaze your own path in life with faith, hope and love, no matter the struggle or the tragedy.”

Going in to this book, I did not expect it to be as dark and depressing as it was.  The novel is told from the perspective of two women: Carla and Alice.  Carla is only 12 years old, and she and her twin brothers live with their grandmother in Honduras after their mother immigrates to America. Carla’s mother sends money and clothes back home to her family, but Carla longs for her mother, and the twins cannot even remember her face.  After her mother pays to have one of the twins sent to live with her in Texas, and their grandmother passes away, Carla and Junior are left to care for themselves.  Carla and Junior both leave school, and Carla scavenges through the dump in her village to try to make enough money for them to eat.  When thing get desperate, Junior begins sniffing glue at the age of six to fend off the hunger pains, and Carla knows that they must risk everything to travel illegally to America.

The other half of the story is told by 40 year-old Alice.  She and her husband reside in Texas and own their own world-famous barbeque restaurant.  Their lives are seemingly perfect except for one huge void: Alice is unable to have children.  After failed fertility treatments, they look into adoption.  The day before their adoption is to be finalized, while they already have the newborn in their home, the mother changes her mind and the infant is taken away.  Alice and her husband cope with the loss in very different ways, and are unsure of how to moved forward as a couple.

Alice and Carla were both so richly drawn and expertly developed characters, but I wondered for a while how their stories would intersect, because it seemed that one had nothing to do with the other. While this book was exceptionally well-written, I just could not get over how incredibly hopeless all of the characters’ stories seemed, and only managed to continue on in the hope that someone in this book would finally get a happy ending.  And the ending was fairly happy, but the road to get there was very, very rocky.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley.

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