Thursday, December 17, 2015
Review: We Never Asked For Wings
In The Language of Flowers, Ms. Diffenbaugh showed the difficulties of the foster care system as her protagonist aged out of foster care and rememberd her experiences in group homes and with foster families. Just like that story was about foster care without being preachy or overwhelmed by it, We Never Asked For Wings has some realistic and compassionate things to say about immigration and the state of education in our country. Letty's parents go back to Mexico after years of living in the United States. Alex falls in love for the first time, but they both have problems - Ysenia is bullied and she worries her mother will be deported and Alex is a brilliant kid who is not being challenged at all in his underserved school. I so appreciate a fiction writer who makes me consider issues without feeling like I've been emotionally manipulated or hit over the head with facts. This is a well-written story with compelling characters. These characters just happen to be dealing with poverty, immigration, and a lack of education.
Diffenbaugh has a unique ability to make me root for characters who drive me crazy. Letty is often a less-than-wonderful mother and there were many moments when I wanted to put the book aside in frustration. But then we see Letty make an effort or Diffenbaugh reveals a small detail about her that kept me reading to the very end. We Never Asked For Wings is a worthy and wonderful follow-up to The Language of Flowers.
We Never Asked For Wings
By Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Ballantine Books August 2015
Read via Netgalley