Read We Are Called to Rise by LauraMcBride Online

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An immigrant boy whose family is struggling to assimilate. A middle-aged housewife coping with an imploding marriage and a troubled son. A social worker at home in the darker corners of Las Vegas. A wounded soldier recovering from an injury he can't remember getting. By the time we realize how these voices will connect, the impossible and perhaps the unbearable has alreadyAn immigrant boy whose family is struggling to assimilate. A middle-aged housewife coping with an imploding marriage and a troubled son. A social worker at home in the darker corners of Las Vegas. A wounded soldier recovering from an injury he can't remember getting. By the time we realize how these voices will connect, the impossible and perhaps the unbearable has already happened. We Are Called to Rise is a boomtown tale, in which the lives of people from different backgrounds and experiences collide in a stunning coincidence. When presented the opportunity to sink into despair, these characters rise. Through acts of remarkable charity and bravery, they rescue themselves. Emotionally powerful yet tender and intimate, We Are Called to Rise is a novel of redemption and unexpected love....

Title : We Are Called to Rise
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781476738963
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 309 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

We Are Called to Rise Reviews

  • karen
    2019-03-03 05:04

    this one is also more of a 3.5. for me. i think it is very well-written and well-developed, and i know it is going to appeal to a broad range of folks, but my personal disposition is a little too cynical and cranky for its general tone. it's one of those multi-perspective novels where disparate people's lives intertwine and converge unexpectedly when horrible things happen. which i love. it's about all the small things that make up a life - the tiny moments that seem insignificant, but can have profound impacts,…where something small changes everything. Where the tiniest act, the smallest space of time, the most inconsequential of decisions, changes a life. A split second separates the long-lost friends who either see or miss each other at an airport. And from that, a relationship does or does not develop, perhaps a lifetime partnership, perhaps even children. Human beings who might or might not have existed. Whole lives born out of the most fragile of happenstance. And maybe that's why our lives are beautiful; why they're tragic. One perfect child can be born of an accidental encounter, and another lost to a split-second lapse in attention. If a motorist leans over to change a radio station at the same moment that it first occurs to a four-year-old that he can let go of his mother's hand as easily as hang onto it, and that if he lets go he will be across the road first, before his mother, and that she will certainly laugh and say, "How fast you are, Johnny!" If the child does this, and the motorist does that, and if the world then changes forever and unbearably for everyone involved, then is that not life in its simplest form?That so little matters so much and so much matters so littleand that's all lovely and true and well-articulated. but, despite the horrible things that happen to these characters, the realist in me balks at the general optimism and feel-gooderie. which the synopsis pretty much broadcasts: When presented the opportunity to sink into despair, these characters rise. Through acts of remarkable charity and bravery, they rescue themselves.and the title itself is taken from one of emily dickinson's more upbeat verses:We never know how high we areTill we are called to rise;And then, if we are true to plan,Our statures touch the skies --i appreciate all the moral points about the idea of community, and how easily-performed acts of kindness and sacrifice can mean so much, and i love this:It all matters. That someone turns out the lamp, picks up the windblown wrapper, says hello to the invalid, pays at the unattended lot, listens to the repeated tale, folds the abandoned laundry, plays the game fairly, tells the story honestly, acknowledges help, gives credit, says good night, resists temptation, wipes the counter, waits at the yellow, makes the bed, tips the maid, remembers the illness, congratulates the victor, accepts the consequences, takes a stand, steps up, offers a hand, goes first, goes last, chooses the small portion, teaches the child, tends to the dying, comforts the grieving, removes the splinter, wipes the tear, directs the lost, touches the lonely, is the whole thing.What is beautiful is the least acknowledged.What is worth dying for is barely noticed.this is a reminder of how necessary it is to contribute to the greater social good in order to exist without friction within the general run of humanity, and it is how i already try to live, just because i don't think it benefits anyone to be an asshole. for example, all you gr trolls out there - why?? what's the point? it's just not necessary. so i am completely on board with that element of it, with the "how hard is it to hold an elevator door for someone?" attitude.and i also love that it is set in las vegas, having adored the vegas interlude of The Goldfinch, and the reality that people actually live there, even though everything about vegas seems to be temporary, and unable to sustain a community. but it's possible:We created a community out of nothing. And we were proud of it. And maybe we didn't look like a lot of other communities out there. We weren't much alike. One of us had turned a trick in a casino before she finished high school. Others of us had gone to college. One of us had never been inside a church. Others of us prayed daily. One of us had never known a grandparent, an uncle, or a cousin. Others had grown up in families in which nobody had ever divorced. Some of us had relatives who were drug addicts, some of us had worked nights in casinos, some of us had grown up thinking darn was a curse word. Some of us were military families, some of us could barely stand to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.We weren't a community anyone would predict.so i love all that, and i love this lovely bleak line:Sometimes it's not that you don't want help. It's that you can't bear to be offered help that just keeps turning out not to be enough after all.so, those are all the things i love, and my problem is mainly with the ending. which is my fault entirely. even though i knew that the entire premise of the book was about this layering of cause-and-effect kindnesses and pay-it-forward small acts that would eventually result in people "rising" and "rescuing" themselves, it just felt… unrealistic. i mean, wonderful and heartwarming, but ultimately… not the way things generally happen. i am coming out of a lifelong love of steinbeck and hardy, and this has probably ruined my ability to appreciate the concept of a happy ending in my literature. this just felt a little manipulative to me, like the way i imagine a nicholas sparks book must be at the end. sweet, and with swelling violins and relentless cheeky optimism, but just a little forced-feeling.but that's just me and my own personal outlook - very willing to do the small things to not inconvenience other people, but also knowing that people are generally self-involved and careless and my tiny anonymous kindnesses are just spitting into the wind. so i guess i am too bitter for more than a 3.5.but i will still move to the center of the subway car for you, because it is such an easy thing to do.LGM

  • Angela M
    2019-03-04 04:28

    I am amazed that this is a debut novel . The writing drew me in from the first page and then the descriptions , especially of Las Vegas life just blew me away . The story and characters are so skillfully drawn you would have thought that Laura McBride had been doing this for years . I was hesitant at first to write this because I'm not sure I can accurately express what an emotional read this was for me . It was just so damned sad ! Call me milk toast or whatever you want. I was so taken by this story and these characters that I cried through the last 100 pages. And then to make it even sadder , the author in her notes at the end of the book, tells us that her inspiration was an actual tragic event . McBride says in her notes, “The one thing that almost kept me from writing the story was that it was so unbearably sad. …. So the challenge I set myself was this: could I write a story that accepted the full unbearableness, and still left one wanting to wake up in the morning ? “ I’m telling you it was unbearably sad and if McBride is referring to the reader still wanting to wake up, I did, but I don’t feel the same as I did yesterday.It is narrated by four different people who are worlds apart but yet all in Las Vegas . Avis , the middle aged woman facing marital problems after 29 years of marriage has more to confront with her son's problems than with her failing marriage. Luis , the physically and emotionally injured soldier returns from Iraq and he’s a mess. Bashkim , the 4 th grade Albanian immigrant tries desperately not to be different or makes waves , but his family is very different . I loved Bashkim the most. Roberta is the child advocate who feels she can make a difference in the lives if the children she advocates for. You get to know her the least until the tragedy takes place. I love a book which allows me to care about the characters and this one did right from the start. But I didn't realize how much I would until the story unfoldsSo much is covered here - the toll that the Iraq war took on two vets with their physical and emotional scars; the difficulty of the immigrant experience for some; how an unstable childhood life shapes a middle aged woman and how in spite of her grief, she digs deep to find her strength. I knew at some point that the lives of these people would connect but I was not expecting the tragic event that brought these people together.If I have a criticism , it's that in all the narratives , except Bashkim's the author spent more time than necessary telling us what she wanted to convey - what matters , making a difference , accepting the adversity . The characters and their strength to get through the hard, very hard things that life dealt them could have spoken for themselves. Yet I can't give this book anything less than five stars.I have already read some criticisms of the neatly wrapped up ending and I could not disagree more. Nothing was neat about the ending . There's the feeling that life goes on , but no not a neat ending. Just a note:I requested this book from NetGalley because the description made me want to read this book . I was thrilled when I finally received an approval and totally disappointed when I found that the approval for some reason came after the book was archived and I was not able to download the galley. I kept thinking about this book and every time I read about it somewhere,I became more convinced that I had to read this book . So I bought it and it was worth every penny.

  • Dem
    2019-03-14 10:04

    . 4.5 Stars I had a hard time parting company with the characters in this novel and think they will stay with me a long time.We are called to rise is a wonderful thought provoking novel with amazing characters and and a great setting.I have to be honest and say if I had passed this novel in the book shop I would never have picked it up and that is down to the cover of the book. But I would have missed out on a wonderful story if it hadn't been for a few reviews of my Good read friends.This book is set in Las Vegas and having visited there a few years ago and been amazed at glitz and glamour I did wonder how people lived their day to day lives in this city. I wondered how you reared a family there and while I loved the noise, and the casinos and the shopping I found myself wondering could I live in this fast moving environment for more than a week and the answer was no I like the quiet too much.The characters in this novel are extremely well written and the voices are real and the images portrayed in the novel really have an impact on you. There is so much I want to say about this novel and I cant as I don't want to spoil the book for other readers . This book made me think about how I would react to the situations in the novel and how I would cope under the circumstances. I found myself thinking about this story even when I wasn't reading it. This would make a wonderful book club read as its a book you just want to talk about.I did have (view spoiler)[ an issue with the conclusion of the story and really don't think the children's placement with Graciela Reyes could happen and it threw me a tiny bit at the end of this wonderful novel. It didn't however spoil the the story as this is a character driven novel and its the characters that make this story. (hide spoiler)]A great debut novel and I cant wait for Laura McBrides next book.

  • Camie
    2019-03-04 05:16

    "We never know how high we areTill we are called to rise;And then , if we are true to plan, Our statures touch the skies"Emily Dickinson"With this novel, Laura McBride dismantles the American Dream. Set in Las Vegas, our most opulent nowhere , a long- running marriage collapses in a single moment. A boy's family crumbles in a clash of culture. Soldiers return from bad wars detonated~the pins pulled on their fragile minds. Still , they must all somehow move forward from these losses, into futures for which they have no assembly instructions. Strength is simply their last available option; they'd rather not come up with it. And it is precisely this~the reluctance with which they become their best selves~ that makes this such an emotionally powerful story" Carol Anshaw The above is straight from the back cover. She says it so much better than I ever could .You might think this is not the book you should reach for if you're already going through a discouraging time (in fact the author despairs at sending the book out into a world of sadness ) but you would be wrong. This story centered around a wise 8 year old Albanian boy named Bashkin will tear your heart to pieces and then gradually put it together again, and in case you may have forgotten, it will help you remember that doing small things can end up making a big difference. 5 starsLooking forward to Laura Mcbride's newest release Round Midnight.From page 197 " It all matters. That someone turns out the lamp, picks up the wind-blown wrapper, says hello to the invalid, pays at the unattended lot, listens to the repeated tale, folds the abandoned laundry, plays the game fairly, tells the story honestly, acknowledges help, gives credit, says goodnight, resists temptation, wipes the counter, waits at the yellow, makes the bed, tips the maid, remembers the illness, congratulates the victor, accepts the consequences , takes a stand, steps up, offers a hand, goes first, goes last, chooses the small portion, teaches the child, tends to the dying, comforts the grieving, removes the splinter, wipes the tear, directs the lost, touches the lonely, is the whole thing. What is most beautiful is least acknowledged.What is worth dying for is barely noticed "

  • Debbie
    2019-03-12 03:22

    They may be Called to Rise, but I am Called to Complain. I’m the victim of a bait and switch! I got sucked into a story that immediately made me rub my hands in glee. Ah, this one is going to be juicy! This is a perfect chapter! A woman named Avis starts telling her story: she does something provocative, then finds a menacing piece of surprise, and then is delivered shocking news from someone she loves. (Forgive me for being vague, but I don’t want to give any spoilers.)I’m poised and ready for a twisty story. But wait, it’s getting a little weighed down with her flashbacks, but it’s cool, it’s cool. I can wait….Then: What??? Where’d you go, Avis? Suddenly in the next chapter, some woman named Roberta is talking—giving her meandering, but yes, interesting thoughts, about Las Vegas culture, the locals, and the plight of foster kids. Huh? Where oh where is Avis? The juice is gone. I force myself to be patient, assuming Chapter 3 will get back to Avis and the excitement, but no, suddenly an 8-year-old Albanian boy, Bashkim, takes over. Turns out, the story is mainly about him and his relationship with an American soldier, Luis, who has PTSD after fighting in Iraq. Avis’s son, who’s a soldier turned cop (and who also has PTSD), as well as Bashkim’s immigrant parents, all figure into the story too. Ha! The author baited me with the exciting Avis story, and then switched to a story about a kid. I don’t want a kid; I want Avis! Yeah, it’s a good story, but I was pretty pissed off that Avis got the short stick. And what happened in that first scene was false advertising—the piece of surprise had no role whatsoever in the story. Avis does have a role and she does do one important thing, but still, she’s not the star. And all her flashbacks in the first chapter seem superfluous, especially given her backseat role. My theory is that the author’s college writing gurus drilled it into her head that the opening of the book had to knock the reader’s socks off. And that it did. She lured me alright, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to do a bait and switch.Meanwhile, this is a good story, unique and rich. It is similar in theme to the excellent 2004 movie, Crash. The story is told by four people: Avis, Bashkim, Luis, and Roberta—and all but Roberta are well-drawn. But Bashkim steals the show with his innocent, honest, and wise view of the world. He’s a thoughtful, endearing, and tragic kid, and his language, though dull, is mostly authentic. The plot works and there’s the right amount of pathos. The ending made me smile, even though it was hokey and pretty unbelievable. There’s a theme that good deeds make the world a better place, and yeah, I believe that, but she goes a little overboard with the hopefulness (at least to this cynic). And those who know me know I don’t like sappy descriptions of happy family celebrations. I cringed when I had to read about a boring birthday party and a stupid scene where they hung Christmas lights. Yeah, guys, Hallmark again! It’s not total sap, but I can still taste the syrup. Yuck! And frankly, I got tired of the simplicity of an 8-year-old’s language. It’s just so plain! A little precious, a little drone-y. I need jazz! Is it the music of words that I value more than plot? The kid really did draw me in and I did truly feel sorry for him, but I wanted adult conversation. You know, like when you go to a kid’s party and think all the squirts are cute, but you’re dying to get out of there and go talk to big people.My last complaint (I promise): Writers, why oh why do you feel you have to come up with weird names? I HATE the name Avis. Want to rent a car, anyone?On the plus side, there are some profundities that stirred me up. For example, the story made me think about how in a split second, circumstances can converge to create a perfect storm that ends in disaster. Maybe people are just acting crazy or scared. Maybe they are tired or distracted for just a second, but that second is the exact time someone else is making a mistake. There could be just one lapse in judgment, one wrong reflex, one misunderstood word or motion, one second of inattention—and in a blink of an eye lives change forever.The writer states it beautifully:A split second separates the long-lost friends who either see or miss each other at an airport. And from that, a relationship does or does not develop, perhaps a lifetime partnership, perhaps even children. Human beings who might or might not have existed. Whole lives born out of the most fragile of happenstance. And maybe that’s why our lives are beautiful; why they’re tragic. One perfect child can be born of an accidental encounter, and another lost to a split-second lapse in attention.This paragraph made me think of my own life, about how if my ex-husband and I hadn’t been at the exact same place at the exact same time, we wouldn’t have gotten together, and two brilliant human beings would not exist a decade later. And it made me think of how a combination of horrid circumstances led to an accidental death of a dear friend’s son. I like it when a book makes me reflect on my own life. Overall, I liked the story, but I just couldn’t forgive the bait and switch. And I guess I just wasn’t in the mood for a kid star with his kid language. So no, I never really looked forward to picking up the book. I can only give it 3 stars.

  • Elyse
    2019-03-09 08:18

    BASHKIM and LUIS ROCK!!!!!AVIS and ROBERTA....not so much!!!!I strongly liked the men in this book more than the females. Yet.. liking the characters or not does not factor in my 'overall' rating.Roberta's character was minor ..and one dimensional....( the children's court appointed special advocate), she was basically like a reporter...( flat personality - yet her role served a purpose). Avis was often a grating character. I wanted to feel more compassion toward her --but her personality or style made it very difficult. The problem was the dialogue. She was analytical when describing loss and tragedy or sometimes sappy, but genuine emotions were missing. With every relationship she cared most about: her baby, her husband who wanted out, and her son, Avis could describe to us how felt, but when sad or angry she couldn't express it in a way where I genuinely could feel 'with' emotions her. The only thing I found interesting about Avis, (suburban housewife who came from a very inappropriate & unsuitable childhood), was that she had sexy underwear....and a discovered gun among her most private underclothes. I was hoping she might wear those under garments ( we were not so lucky). Instead she mentions 'thoughts' about the gun often, (the road that would lead to nowhere)....so, her strong 'start' of her story fizzled quickly. I would have gone bonkers living with Avis. (I could understand Jim, wanting a divorce). She put Jim down for buying her family a house - ( thinking they didn't need his help), ... all a fine argument... but Avis was never the kind to argue (rather communicate), instead she judged and was seen as passive aggressive and self-centered. She slanted Jews being completely unaware of it--(a blind spot). Avis was trying to be all 'fair' in that Jews can have Christmas trees ...,(I paid very close attention to what she said and how she said it). She had little room for Jews to 'not' want a tree in their house. Sometimes trying to be 'too' fair comes off feeling yucky! It just didn't work for me. I was left thinking ...."You just quietly made me wrong, lady". ( for choosing no tree & being less evolved and enlightened).Moving on....BASHKIM is the real star and hero of this story. He makes us 'feel'. We love this kid. ENOUGH SAID... THIS KID IS SOOOOO FRICKIN WONDERFUL ...( I WANT TO ADOPT HIM) ...He had his flaws too - but I'd still take him home. ( towards the end of the book -some of the things he said were a stretch to believe we're coming from an 8 year old). Yet, this kid was an awesome, sensitive, deeply caring and observant kid...and as lovable as can be without even knowing it. LUIS , physically and emotionally wounded, 'was/is' sooooo real it's painful. Heart wrenching. He is struggling with forgiveness -and demons that seem impossible to shake. Yet we watch how he learns (practices), being with the painful experiences in his life rather than try 'so hard' to suppress them.He discovers his doctor just might be right after all... It gives him a little power and relief...to allow himself to 'feel-his-feelings'. A window opens for Luis, as he begins to see his own humanity. ANOTHER MAJOR CHARACTER: *Las Vegas*. The author did a fabulous job creating the images - the dirt- poverty and wealth -smells - (dust)- temperatures- mountains- houses- streets - neighborhoods and community cultures ...(schools, ice cream truck, and the 'strip') .... so much so, Las Vegas was as much a major character as all other characters. A strong strength in this novel. This was clearly a character driven novel which was easy to follow... Yet I found myself being cynical at times. Not my most proud moment - ( yet truthful). I feel like a jackass for being critical... but the author disempowered me as a reader by explaining away 'the little voices in the heads of the characters. I think I could have figured things out on my own. I felt belittled of my own intelligence...( it's not a fun feeling.. and I don't think of myself as a brainiac)....not in the slightest! My naughty mind became defensive - I wanted to fight back. "Speak to ME AS AN ADULT!"I became as frustrated with myself 'as much' as I did parts of the novel. I had thoughts such as " couldn't a great editor have supported better?" I've read so many wonderful debut novels - that I sometimes forget that 'debut' means 'first' novel. I've read a few 'first' novels that are so brilliant, one would think they've been writing novels for decades. So, even with the flaws that drove me batty at time, I still felt 'heart' & 'purpose'. Plus, no matter what criticism I have to say...I'll remember these characters & this story. Yet, Laura McBride told an important story... I appreciate the hours of dedication it took for her ...(emotionally, spiritually, and physically), to write this first novel. 3.5. THANK YOU VERY MUCH TO *IRIS* FOR MY VERY FIRST AUDIO BOOK. (I listened to this story)...but my review is based on 'the story' ...not the audio. As for my new audio experience: I enjoyed it when walking, when in the sauna, and while in the pool. NICE!!! I'll do it again!!!!

  • Jen
    2019-03-04 10:20

    An emotionally charged novel. A woman whose 29 year old marriage dissolves and whose adult son is troubled; a soldier who returns from war, battered and bruised both physically and emotionally; an immigrant 8 year old boy and family whose lives are thrown into tragedy due to cultural differences. At the core of each story is despair and sadness. These characters are called to rise: to move forward in their deepest, darkest moments; to repair, recover and redeem themselves. It's a story about healing and of hope. This one will stay with me for a while. 5 stars.

  • Carol
    2019-03-02 09:25

    With the bright lights and intense heat of a Las Vegas setting, this story intertwines the lives of a wife and mother trying to save her marriage after a tragic loss, two soldiers each struggling to overcome the horrors of war, and one remarkable and brave little Albanian boy.....the heart of the story.....desperately trying to save his family.While the ending kind of thru me for a loop, truly enjoyed this touching debut novel and look forward to future offerings from this new author.Update: May 4, 2015Met author Laura McBride at book signing this evening.....nice lady.....and now have a better feel for why she chose ending as she did..... (view spoiler)[(CASA laws more liberal in Las Vegas) (hide spoiler)]

  • Diane S ☔
    2019-03-06 04:08

    The opening scene in this novel was humorous, sad but humorous as well. I could really picture this happening, it was so realistic and vivid. Than everything got serious, pretty quickly. The novel is narrated by four different characters, the youngest named Bashkim is eight. He quickly stole my heart, so wise for his years, always thinking and loving his little sister and his Nene. Avis, the character in the opening scene, proves to be a very strong person. I quite admired her. All these people live in Las Vegas, and it was very interesting reading about people raising families in this city of gambling and touristy. Making regular lives among the chaos. Some of these characters are facing life changing events, all are realistically portrayed. There are so many quotable lines in this novel, sometimes I felt that there were maybe too many, at times bordering on the preachy. Yet, the authors portrayal of her characters is so very realistic that I became invested in their outcome. Her secondary characters were also amazing. It is hard to take these types of problems and allow the characters to find some kind of resolution and hope for the future. McBride does it and well. Very sad at times, but somehow, often with the help of others, there are resolutions. Some things cannot be changed or fixed, but it was wonderful seeing the many people that pulled together to find solutions. I loved that part, near the very end of the book. It became very emotional for me. I loved reading Avis's story, after all the things that happened to her, she still put herself out there. Would I ever have the strength to do what Avis does at the end of the book? I have five sons of my own and I certainly hope I would have the courage to do so.Poignant first novel by an author to watch.

  • Cathrine ☯️
    2019-03-24 05:27

    My reviews are based on how a book can entertain, educate, amuse, move and inspire me, rather than how flawlessly, or not, it is written. You know when out of all the people you meet, that one special person comes along and you just know that you get one another? If the circumstances allow, you will be very good friends for a long time? That’s how I feel about this book. There are many excellent reviews that will give you more info than what I write. I will say that stories like this are my ultimate reward for all the reading I do, the five shining stars. I loved every page. For some, the ending might be a bit unrealistic, but I believe this was intentional. It presents a ‘what if’ scenario. What could happen if we think outside the box when facing unique challenges and problems in our world today with all its broken systems; if we could do what’s humane rather than what is only possible within the limits of law or protocol. Humanity has worn out its welcome with me on most days. Between the lines of pain and sorrow, this beautifully executed story rounded some sharp edges, reminded me that as Eldridge Cleaver said: ‘There is no more neutrality in the world. You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.’ I believe it will linger in my thoughts long after many others have been forgotten. It was set in Las Vegas and I feel like I hit the jackpot.

  • Britany
    2019-02-26 10:24

    What a powerful book. I'm left feeling raw and holding onto the sliver of hope that the book has instilled in my heart. I wish I would've read this book at another time in my life, because I feel that it would have impacted me more than it already did. I look forward to a re-read down the road. Tough subject matter relating to PTSD suffered by soldiers fighting in Iraq. The book all the way around is depressing and filled with horrifying and tragic events. Still the author brilliantly sews the stories together into one and offers a grim reality all too real for too many of our soldiers coming home. Couldn't recommend this one to every reader, but for those willing to dig deep, this one is well worth it.

  • ☮Karen
    2019-03-04 05:07

    Damaged people with damaged lives living in Sin City, trying to make sense of it all. Covering many major issues, this book packs a wallop. The war in Iraq: Two young men, traumatized by what they've seen there and then coming back trying to assimilate into some semblance of normal. Will that be possible? PTSD. Child and spousal abuse. Guns. The foster care system. The loneliness and confusion of being an immigrant in America. Not a happy book -- at all -- but very important issues are brought to light and the reader is shown these issues from every possible POV. At first the only character I liked was little Bashkim, while also having the perspectives of Avis, Roberta, and Luis. Gradually I was sucked into all of their stories and how their issues would be related and resolved. How a family is what you make it, not necessarily the conventional definition. There were many beautiful passages that gave me pause. Here's one:"But if, sometimes, an unspeakable horror arises from the smallest error, I choose to believe that it's possible for an equally unimaginable grandeur to grow from the tiniest gesture of love. I choose to believe that it works both ways. That great terror is the result of a thousand small but evil choices, and great good is the outcome of another thousand tiny acts of care."

  • Connie
    2019-03-09 03:04

    Heartbreaking events, broken lives, and hope are what Laura McBride gives the reader in her first novel, "We Are Called to Rise". This story is told from the perspective of four characters who are strangers, with Las Vegas being the only common tie until events join them all together. Each of these characters, Avis, Luis, Bashkim and Roberta are struggling with their own lives, some just barely getting through the day. Each of them are weighted down with a hopelessness.....of wondering if they matter, if anything matters? They each take a different path but end up finding just what it is that matters to them, and that they too can make a difference. This story gave the reader small tidbits at a time, filling in the blanks as we get to know and like each of these characters. I especially appreciated Avis and her struggles to find everything she thought was a good life, gone in a flash and wondering what comes next. Her feelings were very real to me. I almost cheered when she makes the decision she does in the end of the story. She had "grit". Bashkim broke my heart and warmed it all at the same time. I pictured him growing into a man who makes a difference in the world, full of wisdom beyond his years. All the characters were so different, at different places in their own lives with histories and experiences that were so unique. I thought McBride did a wonderful job with the secondary characters as well.... Nate, Lauren, Dr. Gosh and Mrs. Monaghan....I had a teacher much like her once, a jewel for any young learner! I also liked the fact that Las Vegas was a character itself, from the glitzy never sleeping strip, to the quiet neighborhoods just like those all across the US. There was a reality to this story and the author keeps it very real and doesn't get too carried away with the tragedy in the story. Instead she reminds the reader how quickly things can change, how fast life can slide downhill and how little control we have. The control we do have is how we react to what is thrown at us, how we "rise" to the challenge and grow. I was delighted with this book and will keep an eye on this writer.

  • Carol [Goodreads Addict]
    2019-03-25 07:21

    We never know how high we areTill we are called to rise;And then, if we are true to plan,Our statures touch the skies— - Emily DickinsonWe Are Called To Rise is by Laura McBride. I would have never chosen this book on my own. It is completely out of my usual genre. So I am very thankful to my friend Becky who sent me this book. I will remember these characters for a long time. We Are Called To Rise is about several characters, all from different walks of life, all living in Las Vegas, and all dealing with a personal crisis of their own, but each character is brought together in the most unexpected of ways. In the beginning, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to get into this. But I persevered and was hugely rewarded for doing so. Avis is a mother of an adult son, Nate, who has just come home from having been deployed for the third time. She has been married for over 30 years and thought she would grow old with her husband, Jim. That’s what she thought anyway, until he told her he was leaving her for another woman. And, her mother’s intuition told her something was different that last time her son came home. That he was changed in some way, damaged from what he experienced. She should have paid more attention to her intuition.Nate always knew that as soon as he got out of the army he would join the Las Vegas Police Department. So after three long deployments, he has come home to his wife Lauren, enrolled in the Police Academy and gotten sworn in.Specialist Luis Rodriguez-Reyes is in an Army Hospital. There are blank spots in Luis’s memory. Why is he here? What happened? Maybe he doesn’t want to remember. “I believe that coincidences can be powerful, Luis. I don’t think they’re entirely random. I believe the strangest coincidences are opportunities.”Bashkim Ahemti is eight years old. His family is from Albania and he has a little three year old sister. His parents own an ice cream truck and that is how they earn their living. But they are barely getting by. His father who he calls Baba, is very angry. He was in prison when they lived in Albania. Bashkim doesn’t like it when his Baba is angry.Roberta is a children’s advocate. It doesn’t seem like she ever had children of her own but she has been doing this job for a very long time. And she will go to every length to reach the best final result for her clients. “So little matters so much, and so much matters so little.”Each one of these people’s lives will intersect and forever change their futures. I will remember these characters for some time, especially little Bashkim. Even if this isn’t your usual type of book to read, I urge you to take a chance, step outside of the box. Your heart will break but you will also feel joy, love, and great kindness. This is truly a story of the power an act of kindness can have on another person’s life. I hope you’ll give this book a chance.

  • Crystal Craig
    2019-03-21 10:31

    This book is a perfect example why Goodreads needs to have half stars. I feel three stars is too low, and when I compare We Are Called to Rise with other books I've given 4 stars, it just doesn't measure up. It took me a long time to get into this story. I wasn't a fan of Avis. I just didn't find her likeable. Having said that, I soon found myself completely engrossed by young narrator, Bashkim. What a great character. At the heart of it all, this is a great story, and well-worth the read, however, because of the slow start and the abrupt finish, I can't give a higher rating.

  • Amber
    2019-02-25 08:33

    This was more of a 3.5, but good enough to be rounded up to a 4.This book started off so well that I actually thought it was going to better than it was. The first chapter fooled me, it was so juicy and interesting. It was probably the most entertaining start to a book I have read in a while and so I expected more. While the rest of the book was pretty good, maybe more of a 3.5 rounded up, there were parts I found boring. The story is told by 4 narrators: an immigrant boy, a soldier, a housewife and a social worker. I really liked hearing from Avis (housewife) and Bashkim (boy) and I understood the role of Luis (soldier), even though I didn’t enjoy his part as much. Roberta, the social worker, is the narrator I had a problem with. I felt like she wasn’t crucial enough to the story to have her own part. She wasn’t connected enough to any other character and that made me feel like she was an afterthought. Her part could have been relayed through the other characters.Anyway, the story is about how interconnected we are as human beings. It is also about how being in the right or wrong place at a certain time can drastically change the events of one’s lives and how sometimes it’s the little things that make a difference. This story had sadness, but it also showed the good in people and how one person can make a big difference in another person’s life. I wanted to know more in the end. I wanted to know more about what was going to happen to these people, but the story ended to quickly for me. It had a concrete ending, but just not enough details to make me feel like it was complete. Like other reviewers, I found the setting of Las Vegas to be an interesting choice and enjoyed seeing a different side of Vegas, one where people actually live and get by.Overall, I thought it was a good read/listen. The audio narration in the book was mostly good. 3 of the 4 narrators were easy to listen to. I didn’t enjoy the voice of Madeleine Maby (Roberta’s part), but she wasn’t terrible either.

  • Lynn G.
    2019-03-27 09:04

    " 'But if, sometimes, an unspeakable horror arises from the smallest error, I choose to believe that it's possible for an equally unimaginable grandeur to grow from the tiniest gesture of love. I choose to believe that it works both ways. That great terror is the result of a thousand small but evil choices, and great good is the outcome of another thousand tiny acts of care.'", page 301 We Are Called to Rise. This passage sums up what I feel is the main message of this book. In order to surmount the outcomes of choices made, the reader discovers that small acts of courage, bravery, and rising to the occasion when called upon to do so, can change the otherwise disastrous course of life. Four narrators, including one, a boy of eight named Bashkim, carry us through this book as their lives come ever closer to intersecting in the most unexpected way. They each have to step outside of themselves and their immediate wants, and consider how to achieve what is best for each and all. The ending is satisfying but not neat and tidy.Reading this book was thought-provoking and I know it will stay with me for a long time.

  • Tania
    2019-03-18 07:30

    I'd rather life knowing I made a mistake than wondering if I could have made a difference if I'd tried.4.5 stars. What a beautiful story. The writing is filled with emotion, but not sentimental or soppy. This is a book about real life and difficult decisions, and how no person is only good or only bad. I became invested in all the (very diverse) characters lives, but I especially felt for Ava. The only reason I deducted half a star is because it felt like her story was left too open-ended. It was very interesting reading about ordinary people living and raising families in Las Vegas. I highly recommend this debut novel to everyone, and can't wait for her next one.The Story: Beyond the bright lights and casinos lies the real Las Vegas where four lives will be brought together by one split-second choice. In the predawn hours, a woman's marriage crumbles with a single confession. Across town, an immigrant family struggles to get by in the land of opportunity. Three thousand miles away, a soldier wakes up in hospital with the vague feeling he's done something awful.

  • ❀Julie
    2019-03-20 06:14

    I loved this story and thought it was interesting being told from the perspective of four diverse characters, and how their lives converged.  While I found all the perspectives engaging, I enjoyed Bashkim’s and Avis’s the most. My heart broke for Bashkim and my heart went out to Avis for the circumstances she had faced.  So much of the story seemed real and after reading the author’s note at the end of the book it made me appreciate the story even more.  While it was sad, it was not “unbearable” as I thought it might be in the beginning, and I liked how the author took a difficult subject and turned it into a story of love and hope. (view spoiler)[This was a 5-star read for me up until the very end which felt too abrupt for me. (hide spoiler)]4.5 stars

  • Melanie
    2019-02-24 07:16

    3.5 stars. Good book but sad story. I didn't cry outright but did get teary. The issues covered are very current and IMO this would make for good discussions in a book club. The ending?

  • Iris P
    2019-03-16 11:15

    We Are Called to RiseThe Author a Las Vegas native, is a community college teacher in Nevada. We Are Called to Rise is her first novel.Even though I've never been in Vegas I realize it's like no other place on Earth. Building a city in the middle of a desert under some of the harshest natural conditions has always been given as an example of the power and determination of the human spirit. Some of my favorites stories are the ones where a city or landscape becomes part of the narrative and on We Are Called to Rise, Laura McBride makes Vegas surrounded by its dry deserts, one of its most interesting characters. Think of the mountains in Afghanistan in Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner or the rain in the Seattle based TV series "The Killing".I imagine that the Vegas Laura McBride describes in this beautiful written novel is mostly known by people who live there. Far from the flashier, tacky, over the top city with all the stereotypes that are typically used to describe it, the book shows another side of Vegas, where ordinary people live. The author delves into issues of poverty, corruption and domestic violence that are all part of the communities where these characters live.At times it seems that the author is ambivalent on how she feels about the place, many passages are bittersweet love letters to what it's like to make a regular life and raise a family in the so called Sin City.I think that the success of this novel has a lot to do with McBride's ability to show so much empathy for such an eclectic and diverse cast of characters.The main three characters on We Are Called to Rise couldn't be more different: Bakshim is an 8 year-old son of Albanian refugee immigrants; Avis a middle-aged woman whose marriage is imploding and has a troubled son, Luis, a wounded soldier returning stateside after a difficult combat deployment in Iraq. Finally Roberta who as a volunteer with the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), serves more like a supporting character.The story is told from the perspective of these four people and McBride is able to interlink their lives in a way that feels very authentic and not at all forced. If anything, been able to hear their 1st person narratives allows us to have a window into the humanness and what's behind the decisions they make.Aerial night shot of the City of Las Vegas from 9,000 ft.by Photographer Vincent Laforet.The story begins with Avis, who at 53 has realized that her marriage is in deep trouble and just when she decides to do something about it her husband stops her on her tracks and asks for a divorce. This first scene when Avis and Jim, are having this conversation is awkward and though-provoking but also very funny.Avis's son Nate, is entering the L.A.P.D. force, he like Luis is a veteran of the Iraq war and is facing his own demons after coming back from his last tour. Avis knows there's something wrong with Nate but is unable or unwilling to address his issues, even after witnessing his violent behavior towards his wife.But not doubt that at its core the novel tells the story of Bakshim, an innocent but perceptive 8 year-old boy and his family as they struggle to assimilate into their new homeland. Bashkim’s father is unstable and due to some horrible experiences he had with officials in his native country he has a profound distaste for authority of any kind. Perhaps ironically he's violent towards Arjeta his wife and keeps her isolated from her relatives. I was impressed with the author's pitch perfect narrative inside the minds of two young mentally and physically broken war veterans. The level of compassion and respect she shows for these characters is heartwarming and she brings badly needed attention towards PSTD, violence, suicide, and so many other challenges US veterans are facing today.As the story progresses, through a school project that encourages children to write to soldiers, Bakshim and Luis become pen pals and develop an unusual friendship.The connection and relationship between Luis and Doctor Ghosh, the psychiatrist in charge of his treatment was, I thought poignant and beautifully portrayed. No doubt Luis's longing for a father figure was part of this dynamic, but it also reveals how affecting the doctor-patient relationship can be, particularly for someone as emotionally vulnerable as Luis was.The lives of these four characters come to a complete collision when the story culminates with a tragic incident that will have consequences for each and every one of them. I was going to use a few lines to end this review pointing out a few problems I had with the plot and in particular with the ending of the story, but decided against it. Instead I am choosing to respect the author's decision to write a tale that through its sadness and gloom still manages to encapsulate a sense of hope and end in an unexpected but optimistic note. We Are Called to Rise pays homage to Emily Dickinson poem "We never know how high we are".We never know how high we aretill we are called to rise; And then, if we are true to plan, Our statures touch the skies— The Heroism we reciteWould be a daily thing, Did not ourselves the Cubits warp For fear to be a King.When facing adversity as we all inevitably will, do we choose to sink further down in our sorrows or do we choose to rise and do our best for us and our loved ones?

  • Matthew
    2019-03-18 06:28

    A good book with a tough story to tell. I enjoyed how all the story lines started separately and came together in the end. This book is probably not for everybody because of the intense subject matter; I could see personal beliefs and experiences with war/military service, foster care, abuse, racism, etc. getting in the way of enjoying this story. But, I think that was the point that the author is trying to make: this story could happen, has happened, and is not an easy pill to swallow.

  • Clif Hostetler
    2019-03-26 08:18

    PTSD, split-second mistakes, and picking up the pieces after life has changed forever are major themes in this book. I experienced the first half of the book as a melancholy story about desperate life situations. Then I began to identify with some of the characters just as their situations began to get worse. Then when things seemed hopeless (view spoiler)[some protective strangers appeared and extraordinary things happened. The future welfare of the two children seems to be solved at the end of the book. But not all loose ends have been wrapped up. The future of Val’s son Nate (a wife beater) is not resolved. I guess it’s like real life. Just because one problem is solved doesn’t mean all problems are solved. (hide spoiler)]Once I got hooked by the story I felt that my emotions were being squeezed through a wringer. I wanted to finish the book quickly because I was concerned that the welfare of book’s characters might be in jeopardy if I didn’t make it to the end. It’s hard not to shed a tear or two while reading this book.Readers of this book learn that CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate. There’s a character in this story who is a CASA volunteer, and if there’s anybody in real life as helpful and hardworking as portrayed in this book they deserved to be nominated for sainthood.The story is told in the first person voice of four different individuals. This format allows for numerous soliloquies reviewing the internal thoughts of these four individuals. Two examples are shown below.The following are the reflections of a 53 year old woman on her three decades of marriage that is ending in divorce. It all matters, that someone turns out the lamp, picks up the wind blown wrapper, says hello to the invalid, pays at the unattended lot, listens to the repeated tale, folds the abandoned laundry, plays the game fairly, tells the story honestly, acknowledges help, gives credit, says goodnight, resists temptation, wipes the counter, waits at the yellow, makes the bed, tips the maid, remembers the illness, congratulates the victor, accepts the consequences, takes a stand, steps up, offers a hand, goes first, goes last, chooses the small portion, teaches the child, tends to the dying, comforts the grieving, removes the splinter, wipes the tear, directs the lost, touches the lonely. Of the whole thing, what is most beautiful and least acknowledged, what is worth dying for is barely noticed.The following are the musings the a volunteer “court appointed child advocate” on why some cases are so compelling:I think it’s the ones where something small changes everything. Where the tiniest act, the smallest space of time, the most inconsequential of decisions changes a life. A split second separates the long lost friends who either see each other or miss each other at the airport. And from that a relationship does or does not develop, perhaps a life time partnership, perhaps even children. Human beings who might or might not have existed. Whole lives born out of the most fragile of happenstance. And maybe that’s why our lives are beautiful, why they’re tragic. One perfect child can be born out of the accidental encounter, and another lost to a split second lapse in attention. If a motorist leans over to change a radio station at the same moment that it first occurs to a four year old that he can let go of his mother’s hand as easily as hold on to it. And that if he let’s go he will be across the road first before his mother and that she will certainly laugh and say, “How fast you are Johnny.” If the child does this, and the motorist does that, and the world then changes forever and unbearable for everyone involved. And is not that life in its simplest form? That so little matters so much, and so much matters so little. The book's title is taken from one of Emily Dickinson's more upbeat verses:We never know how high we areTill we are called to rise;And then, if we are true to plan,Our statures touch the skies --The following link provides several links, one of which downloads a very good "Reading Guide." I recommend it to anyone who reads the book.http://lauramcbrideauthor.com/book/Below is a link to a blog post by the author (Laura McBride) titled "My Year with Virginia Woolf." If you read all the way to the end you'll find it to be an example of serendipity.http://readherlikeanopenbook.com/2014...

  • Branwen Sedai *of the White Ajah*
    2019-03-17 10:12

    "We never know how high we areTill we are called to rise;And then, if we are true to plan,Our statures touch the skies-"We say, "Thank you very much" and "I appreciate what you have done" to people who fill our grocery bags, to people who offer us a ride across town. What are the words to say to someone who gave you back your life, who believed that you still had a soul, who acknowledged how bad it was possible to feel? Shouldn't there be another language for this? Different words altogether?An army man surviving a suicide attempt. A cop with a temper. A young Albanian boy. What do all these people have in common? At first glance, nothing. But when you take a closer look you will find all the tragic and beautiful ways in which these people are connected. This is a story about ends and beginnings. About hope and loss. About family and loved ones. About survival. And most importantly it is a story about how important acts of kindness are. Like the butterfly effect, a small act of kindness can reverberate across time and affect peoples lives in ways you would never expect. Human beings under stress are capable of extraordinary things: some good and some bad. Things happen to us that are more than we can take. And we break. We break for a moment, for a while. But that break is not who we are. It's not the sum total of who we are. Every step forward counts. And every step forward makes the next one easier.This is one of those beautiful books that made me cry a whole bunch of times while I was reading it. It is at times heartbreakingly sad and yet dizzyingly joyous. The characters are all so different and unique and I loved reading about the various situations through the eyes of different people. This book definitely made me feel stronger, as a person. Sometimes being a good person isn't easy. Sometimes it is hard to stay positive in a world that takes advantage of you or takes you for granted. But after completing this book I can tell you that I feel a lot better about these things. Because all the small things you do everyday? They matter. You matter, I matter, EVERYTHING we do matters. Which is why it is so important to not be a douchebag, right? ;)It all matters. That someone turns out the lamp, picks up the windblown wrapper, says hello to the invalid, pays at the unattended lot, listens to the repeated tale, folds the abandoned laundry, plays the game fairly, tells the story honestly, acknowledges helps, gives credit, says goodnight, resists temptation, wipes the counter, waits at the yellow, makes the bed, tips the maid, remembers the illness, congratulates the victor, accepts the consequences, takes a stand, steps up, offers a hand, goes first, goes last, chooses the small portion, teaches the child, tends to the dying, comforts the grieving, removes the splinter, wipes the tear, directs the lost, touches the lonely, is the whole thing.What is most beautiful is least acknowledged.What is worth dying for is barely noticed.

  • Rebecca Foster
    2019-03-18 05:20

    The lives of four Las Vegas residents intertwine in a story about the aftereffects of the Iraq War. When tragedy brings them together in the novel’s second half, all four have a rare opportunity to show great acts of courage. As the Emily Dickinson poem that provides the novel’s epigraph and title intones, “We never know how high we are / Till we are called to rise; / And then, if we are true to plan, / Our statures touch the skies—”It helped to learn (from the author’s note) that the novel is based on real events. Indeed, “The one thing that almost kept me from writing my story was that it was so unbearably sad,” McBride confides. I found the ways in which the characters connect and recover to be somewhat predictable, and at times tedious in the telling. For the most part, though, I was able to put my cynicism aside and appreciate the way the author finds meaning in misfortune.(Non-subscribers can read an excerpt of my full review at BookBrowse.)

  • Becky
    2019-03-17 05:17

    I loved this book, I was sucked in by the first few pages & I could not put it down….Each chapter is about one of 4 people, each with their own story. As the book goes on, these people & their stories come together. Each person is someone you wish you knew more about but yet we know enough to pull for each of them….a compelling story, I just thought it was so wonderfully written…..I love to read a book, no matter what the subject is, that will pull me in, tell me a story & make me care & keep me turning the pages!Thank you net galley for the arc of this ebook, in exchange for a fair review….

  • Carol
    2019-03-07 08:10

    Don't read this one on Kindle at the airport or in flight for business. This is not a book I would have selected on my own accord, which reminds me yet again of the value of book clubs, aside from the friendships they nurture and facilitate. Based on the book jacket blurbs and description, I mistakenly thought it was chick-lit. Don't make my mistake and miss this.Be prepared - if you bring your own 6-piece matching set of family baggage to this party, bring a large box of tissues for the last 40 pages, too. Not because the ending is sad or tragic, but because McBride's adult characters live in a land of damaged souls - a land where many of us reside, notwithstanding our best efforts to put on the veneer of healthy coping skills, following troubled upbringings. The impact of living with these characters, particularly Luis, for me, during the time it takes you to read this novel is that you resurrect those same, long-buried feelings yourself and eventually they out. The writing quality of We Are Called To Rise is amazing, particularly for a debut novel. Working with three first-person narrators could have been a mess in lesser hands, but it works here and the transitions between characters are never jarring. Every character comes across authentic and real, even minor characters. In the end, not everything is explained or tied up neatly - true to life. The one question that must be answered is. That is enough, along with the gift of McBride's prose and characters.

  • Jennifer
    2019-03-23 03:11

    A raw and emotional book. This book contained so much sadness, yet the moral of the story is in the title -- "We are called to rise." We get hurt, our lives get shattered, we do things that we know will hurt others, we do things not knowing their full implications. One gut punch comes, and then another. We can give into defeat, or we can rise, but we can't do it alone. Our lives are interconnected and we need each other.4 solid stars.

  • Dianne
    2019-03-09 06:26

    Four disparate story threads pull together to illustrate how lives can intersect and how each of us can make a difference. The stories were interesting - I especially liked the child, Bashkim - but I liked it, didn't love it.

  • Rashika (is tired)
    2019-03-19 05:04

    ***This review has also been posted on The Social PotatoThis is one of the most emotionally moving books I’ve read in a long time and while I had been looking forward to reading it, I had no idea it would have such a huge impact on me. Based loosely on a real life event (VERY LOOSELY), this book has a way of capturing your heart and making you feel overwhelmed with the realities of life where people can get away with things. In spite of the saddness that is packed in this book, this book gives you hope. Hope that while terrible things happen, all is not lost.This book has four different storylines that are brought together by a terrible incident (which I will not mention for the fear of spoiling as it doesn’t occur until halfway through the book). There are little things that connect these stories though and one of the major connections, aside from the fact that all 4 narrators live or come from Las Vegas, is war. War is an ugly thing and I love the way the author portrays it. She shows what it does to young men who didn’t know what they were getting into but it also shows a side of it, which while not positive, isn’t completely negative. Like this one instance where, Luis, a young soldier who has been on 91 live runs, talks about how when you’re at war, you forget about the trivial differences between people, it doesn’t matter what god they pray to or what race they are, the only thing that matters is protecting one another and SURVIVING.This book is brimming with diversity and it’s so beautifully brought to life in the city of Las Vegas. I, for one, have never really imagined Las Vegas as anything but the stereotypes portray it to be, a lively city with a dynamic night life and tons of casinos but the author brings to light another side of the city, the one with ‘regular’ life.The book opens with Avis, a 53, year old who has just found out that her husband is in love with another woman. Avis was a great character. She had a horrible childhood and it has had a major impact on the person she is today. There are constant flashbacks into her past but they are paragraphs and not pages. They give an insight into why she is this scared person who is afraid of not being noticed. The person who can be insecure at times and is wonders if life is worth going on anymore since there seems to be nothing to live for. The situation with her son changes things. Nate’s time in the army has changed him. Changed him to the point where he may or may not be abusing his wife and when Nate finally crosses the line Avis is forced to consider the possibility that her son is no longer the little innocent boy she knew him to be. As the story progresses, Avis has to choose between her role as a mother and doing the right thing and she grows. She grows as a character and throughout the book we see how her past forces her to re-evaluate certain things. It’s wonderful watching her progress throughout the book and she doesn’t let you down in the end.The only thing that I didn’t really like about her story was her husband. Jim bothered the living daylights out of me and personally I had wished things would have gone another way. The Jim of the past sounded like a wonderful guy but the Jim we knew? I couldn’t even fathom the two as being the one and the same. I would have enjoyed it a lot more if things hadn’t turned out the way they had and they two would have dealt with the issue together instead.Roberta only played a minor part in the book even though she had her own story line. Her story line wasn’t really personal and didn’t add much to the story which is why I am not sure it was needed. I never really got to learn more about her as a person aside from the fact that she really liked helping people and wanted to make as much as a difference as she could and really, if that’s all the author wanted to show, it would have been easier to make it evident from a 3rd POV instead of her having a narrative. In my opinion, that page space could have been better spent on exploring the other story lines.Luis’s story was heartbreaking. He is just a 22 year old and has lived through more things than any kid should have to. He didn’t have a sad/heartbreaking childhood though, he, from what I can gather, had a perfectly normal childhood aside from the fact that his grandmother had raised him. His time in Iraq affected him, a mistake he made haunts him, to the extent where he may or may not have indirectly caused the death of his buddy and to the point where he killed himself after writing a very offensive letter to an 8 year old. A lot of the book deals with him trying to recover from the trauma he is suffered and we get a small glimpse of PTSD.It’s really overwhelming to see his struggle. The way he cannot seem to remember what actually happened and the way he is surprised by the kindness he is shown by Dr. Ghosh. It’s heartbreaking to see him latch on to the hope of forgiveness that an 8 year old offers him with and it’s heartbreaking to see this guy, who is barely an adult himself, have to live with so much guilt.The character who really stole my heart and the show is the said 8 year old, Bashkim. It took him only a few pages to weasel his way into my heart. His innocence stole my heart and the way he had more courage than so many adults really made me just want to hug him. His story really tears your heart out and seeing any 8 year old in that situation would get even the most unfeeling to at least feel some compassion.One of my favorite things about Bashkim’s story, aside from the wonderfulness of his character, was how the author chose to portray his father. His father, although someone who could not be labelled as innocent and for a large part was unlikeable, was also a poor man with no way out. He was not a great man but at the same time, he wasn’t an evil guy. He was an immigrant who hadn’t caught a break in what seemed like forever. It’s what made the situation they were in so much more heartbreaking. The fact that they had no family to turn to and the fact that they were poor would ensure that they would never get justice and that tore my heart out.I cannot say much about the plot because saying anything would be spoiling the book and in all honesty, it’s something everyone needs to experience for themselves.With a delightfully complex characters and a powerful message at its heart, this is a story that’ll leave you thinking for a long time.I am not sure I’ve done this book justice with my review but it’s safe to say this is one of the most moving books I’ve read this year and I’d definitely recommend this to anyone looking for something deeper.