Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Book Review: We Are Called to Rise

Howdy, fellow book nuts!  I'm coming off a two-good-books-in-a-row high, and here I am to share my thoughts with the blogosphere.  Let me tell you about this book, We Are Called to Rise.  I loved this book so much I started a book club with the sole intention of making everyone in my neighborhood read it.  I'll let you know how our first meeting goes, and if everyone feels like I do about this baby.  

We Are Called to Rise has earned a physical place on my bookshelves - which is no easy thing to do, these days.  Seriously, our bookshelves right now are stacked 3 rows deep.  I prefer to check my books out from the library, and if I like them a lot, I will buy a copy for my iPad over getting a physical copy.  But this book was so good I utilized Amazon.com's "1-click-to-buy" before I even really knew what was happening.  

Synopsis: Three lives are bound together by a split-second mistake, and a child’s fate hangs in the balance.

What happens next will test—and restore—your faith in humanity.

Far from the neon lights of the Vegas strip, three lives are about to collide. A middle aged woman attempting to revive her marriage. A returning soldier waking up in a hospital with no memory of how he got there. A very brave eight-year-old immigrant boy.

This is a story about families—the ones we have and the ones we make. It’s a story about America today, where so many cultures and points of view collide and coexist. We Are Called to Rise challenges us to think about our responsibilities to each other and reminds us that no matter how cruel life can be in a given moment, it is ultimately beautiful to live, and live fully.

My Review:



^That is about what happened when I turned the final page of the book.  Which is very interesting, because when I first opened the book and started reading, I wasn't impressed.  I almost quit reading after the first chapter.  Oh, what a mistake that would have been.  I'm so glad I stuck it out. 

I've read tons of alternating viewpoint stories before, but this is one of the first I've found where I've been invested in every single story, in every single character.  McBride effortlessly switches between each character's voice, which when you have characters ranging in age from 8 to 58, characters running the gamut from being an young immigrant to being a wealthy, white female - her ability to follow each character's unique voice is pretty darn impressive.  

The stories do all come together in the end.  I didn't know how that was going to work out, but it did.  I should not have doubted.  This book reminded me a lot of the movie Crash, only it was actually good.  (If you loved Crash, I apologize.)  This book, man.  It lifted me up and threw me to the ground and ripped out my heart and gave me a hug and mugged me and held me up at gunpoint but also took me to the hospital and made me cookies.  It reminds me of a tapestry.  Each character has a story that interweaves with the character in front of them.  Sometimes the weaving is with dark threads, and sometimes it is light.  But the overall picture it creates is beautiful, masterful, and touching.  Also, epic.  

It's not necessarily a happy book, this one.  It's downright devastating in areas.  I think I even cried once or twice (which never, ever happens with me.  I don't cry.  Except when I watch The Fox and the Hound. Because saddest. Movie. Ever.)  But even though the book is tragic, the ultimate tone is hopeful.  I'm not sure how McBride even pulled that off, but she did.  And the title?  I can't believe what a fantastic, well-chosen title this book has.  The story made ME feel called to rise.  

This is easily the best book I have read in 2014.  If you read nothing else for the rest of the year, read We Are Called to Rise.  Just be prepared for one roller coaster ride of a book, complete with corkscrews and loops.  Wowza.  I will be eagerly awaiting more works by Laura McBride.  And I almost even want to transfer to the university she teaches at, just so I can meet her geniusness in person.  

Oh, if it were a movie, I would probably rate it at PG-13.  There is a some language and some violence (one character is an Iraqi War veteran, so most of it is related to his story.)  There is also mention of an affair.  Nothing was overtly graphic or over-the-top.  

This one gets 8/5 acorns.  Yeah, it was that good.   

1 comment:

  1. Kris - Wow. What a kind and generous reader you are. I am so honored - Laura McBride