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Summary

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

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  • Overall
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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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deep and thought provoking

I really enjoyed this book and the two readers perfectly chosen for the voices of this book. I particularly liked the intersection of perspectives, and the emotional journey of both characters. highly recommend this.

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A very moving book. Well written.

Well narrated. Explores the themes of immigration and motherhood with deep understanding. Couldn't stop listening.

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  • Bonny
  • 23-02-17

Timely plot, but just average writing

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.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Cascadiapnw
  • 13-05-18

Timely Story

The story was quite interesting and timely, dealing with the separation of a mother and child due to the mother's immigration status and a couple hoping to adopt the child. This story alarmed me and led me to read more on the current government policies on immigration. I think the plot was good and liked the way the story unfolded, alternating between the tale of the mother and that of the couple. The two narrators were excellent.

That said, I didn't care for some of the actual writing. I felt the author went down too many rabbit holes, so I set the speed on 1.25 and even 1.5 sometimes just to get past these passages and continue with the main story-line. I also felt some of the descriptions of the feelings of the characters were obvious and unnecessary. It would not have hurt this story to have been edited down a few hours. Hence the "Pretty good" and not "great" rating.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Vaidehi
  • 15-04-17

Lucky Boy - An Epic immigrant struggle in America.

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anna
  • 26-01-17

Heartbreaking and heartwarming

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Baycyd
  • 05-02-17

Magnificent

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.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 31-01-17

fantastic performance

the two women narrators are extremely talented and really bring the characters to life. highly recommend this book!

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Sharey
  • 23-03-18

Excellent Book

This was a well-written, engaging, credible, and heartfelt story. I really enjoyed it, as well as the narration.

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  • Katarina
  • 21-03-18

Heavy story well written who people should read

This story is hard to listen to because it shows the horrible situation illegal immigrants and their children face. It’s eye opening as far as the lack of due process and basic humanitarian rights illegal immigrants face in the US. It’s a sad very well written book.

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  • Olivia Bucher
  • 14-01-18

heartbreaking & beautiful

You don't know who to root for. That's for sure. It's beautifully written! it's exciting, sad, wonderful... full of feels!

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  • Diver
  • 20-09-17

Loved it

Very moving book, you can really feel the emotion of the characters and their need for love ultimately.