Even with Ye Olde Blogge's age and infirmity in this ongoing internet revolution, people and companies still send me books, either in a corporate sort of way, or a "Hey, my friend wrote this, do you want to write about it?" sort of way. All of these suggestions I view with great skepticism, as suits my perverse and contrary nature. "Oh, you have a book you think I'll like? Then I won't like it very much, will I?" seems to be my gut response.
However, I like to believe (or at least, hope) that beneath my hard-shell exterior lurks an open mind. And maybe it's even true? Because guess what, everyone: my friend recommended that I read this book, and it is kind of amazing:
It's a young adult book (I guess? Maybe?) and the most important and central thing I can say about it is that it did that thing where it brought me to another world so I could see it and feel lit and believe it. The basic setup is way too of-the-moment: A mother and daughter come from Haiti, the daughter makes it through customs since she was born in the US, the mother is detained by immigration, the daughter goes on alone to live with her aunt and cousins in Detroit.
The author, blessedly, doesn't skate over the complexity here, and no one is a saint—or even a full-on sinner. Instead, we meet characters who are complex and torn and troubled, and we end up having to see the world from their point of view.
Caveats: The story gets caught up in itself, if that makes sense: too focused on what will happen next rather than the people. The symbolism can be heavy-handed. And I am not particularly fond of the interwoven chapters in each character's voice device. But? These are quibbles: the book is well worth reading, and it pulled at me in some essential way. Read it, give it to a reader, expand your world.