Multiple perspective stories layered with cause and effect cases converging between chapters, the main theme is how little acts of kindness can have the biggest meaning in the grand scheme of things. This book mainly focuses on a young immigrant Afghani boy who's pen pals with an American soldier who fought in Afgan.
- @Florence of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library
We Are Called to Rise is a intricately woven story with several overlapping plots that delve into deep themes such as the trauma of war, broken families, failed relationships, second chances, the hope of rehabilitation, moving on after suffering, and more. Basically, the author explores how people are able to put one foot in front of the other when life deals excruciating circumstances.
I can see why this was a runnerup for the Community Read. I thought it was excellent; plot moved along, the characters were well developed. Although I agree with another reviewer that the 8 yr old boy was mature way beyond his believable years. Highly recommend this book!
Gender bias leaves blot on uplifting story
This is a novel about little things and how they all matter. How small acts of courage and kindness can culminate into something wonderful and how seemingly insignificant negative events can manifest into a terrible tragedy.
It’s about regular people facing tough choices and doing the right thing. In that way Laura McBrides’s novel, We Are Called to Rise is positive and uplifting.
When a routine traffic violation turns into a police officer shooting and killing the mother of two young children, Bashkim and Tirana, a disparate group of characters come together and “rise” to mitigate the suffering.
Interestingly, all those who “rise” are women. There’s Avis, the mother of the war veteran Nate, the police officer who shoots the woman. There’s Roberta, the Court Appointed Services Advocate and defender of children; the abueula (grandmother) of Luis a traumatized war vet; Mrs. Monaghan, Baskim’s teacher, Dr. Moore, the elementary school principal, Mrs. Delain, the foster mother; and, even the victim, Bashkim’s mother.
Even low level characters who are women are portrayed as reasonable, including Darcy, the woman Avis’s husband leaves her for, and Lauren the battered young wife of Nate who won’t report his abuse to the authorities because it will jeopardize his job on the police force.
All those who “do not rise”, and in some cases sink are men. They include Bashkim’s paranoid, misogynistic father; Avis’s son Nate, the shooter, wife beater and PSTD sufferer; Luis, a soldier who killed an innocent child in Iraq and has attempted suicide because of his guilt; Avis’s husband Jim who dumps her for no apparent reason after nearly three decades of marriage.
Even minor male characters are portrayed as weak or ineffectual including Roberta’s husband Marty who tells her “she’s bitten off more than she can chew” in trying to help the children; and Corey, Nate’s partner during the actual shooting who is “just sad” and “not likely to be a police officer next year.”
If McBride wanted to balance her gender bias she could have easily made the principal and the school teacher men, or how about giving the foster mother compassionate husband?
They say if you really want to know about an author the best way is to read their fiction. I enjoyed McBride’s fiction and I wouldn’t go as far as to say her gender portrayal is an indication of misandry, but it does give me pause.
I did like this book although I think the beginning was far better than the end. I think what the author tried to do was to point out that life is very hard but there is always a way to turn it to good, a way to keep on hoping.
The characters were great & the situations these characters were in were hard but the ending was a little to glib for my liking. I had trouble believing that an 8yr old could perceive life that maturely & perhaps the conclusions that others came to needed it to be explained more deeply to be an acceptable ending.
Excellent story. A little sad with a good ending.
Yes, this novel could be depressing, or
maybe the correct word is challenging.
The Nate character wasn't sympathetic
at all. But maybe that's what made this
book so compulsively readable: I wanted to know what happens next. Well-written, although it does drag a bit in spots, thought-provoking and sad at times and with generally well drawn
A terribly depressing book! There was no inspiration to read the next chapter after struggling with the one before. Tried several chapters with little interest.
I loved this book & could not put it down!
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