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Thursday, September 10, 2015

We Never Asked for Wings....

WE NEVER ASKED FOR WINGS , now available in many forms and at many outlets, is receiving some high praise...well deserved praised if you want your novels to be relevant to today's ills. There are so many things to like about it.  At the same time, it is difficult for me to love it unconditionally. There are so many things that didn't quite resonate with me.

It is well written. The imagery is lovely, and the grandfather/grandson passion for each other and for feather wax art very enlightening and well done.

The story, no the stories, making up the plot  are ones we should all care about. That's my first concern with this book. It tries to cover too many current social issues. There's illegal immigration, poverty, disparity in educational settings, children raising children, teenage pregnancy, and the ever present angst of a mother totally out of touch with what to do when her children are finally left in her care. None of these problems received the emphasis that I feel they should. The author was simply trying to cover too much.

Secondly, I really didn't care about the characters. Again, I think the complexity of the plot is the reason for this. The characters and their problems were spread too thinly. There was no in-depth character to study and get to know. I didn't particularly like Letty or Luna, the six year old child. Alex at 15 was the only one I really cared about.

Finally, I felt that the ending was inconclusive, rushed, or just superficial.

The book blurb says, "For fourteen years, Letty Espinosa has worked three jobs around San Francisco to make ends meet while her mother raised her children—Alex, fifteen, and Luna, just six—in their tiny apartment on a forgotten spit of wetlands near the bay. But now Letty’s parents are returning to Mexico, and Letty must step up and become a mother for the first time in her life."

The above description makes Letty sound caring, in touch with her children's needs, and totally unselfish. She was none of these. She had some large problems to solve when her parent's returned to Mexico, and her solutions were often misguided...getting drunk with her young son, using a friend's address to get her son into a better school, teaching her children to perpetuate the lie. When she was able to provide a solution, it seemed to come very easily, provided always by others.

 I think this will be a great book club book for I can see so many varying opinions about every character and every plot twist. I would love to hear some of those discussions.

The author is also the author of  THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS which I enjoyed very much. I don't want to prevent anyone from reading this book, but it simply was not right for me. I received it through Netgalley and I'm glad I read it because I like to read books that are getting great buzz from the public. This time, I just disagreed.


  1. Like you, I have read several critically acclaimed novels that didn't work for me, and it's the for the same reasons. Talented writers trying the equivalent of a triple back-somersault with two and half twists, when a clean half-somersault with a single twist would have landed them squarely in the readers' hearts. You write reviews with a kind heart. Well written.

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