Sunday, 3 August 2014

We Are Called To Rise

We Are Called To Rise follows the lives of four residents of Las Vegas in 2008. Avis is a mother and wife, who has had an eventful childhood and has created a more stable adult life for herself, but at the age of 50 plus, everything starts unravelling once again starting with her husband leaving her for a younger woman. Luis is a soldier serving in Iraq coming to terms with the acts of war he has seen and taken part in. Roberta is a voluntary caseworker, giving recommendations of where children should live when their parents split or other heart-breaking situations. Bashkim is a bright eight year old boy of Albanian descent struggling with his American school life and traditional home life. Their seemingly separate and different lives collide in unexpected ways as a result of a series of tragic circumstances, with the author discovering how good people and kind acts counteract the brutality and tragic nature of life.

I loved this book. The author writes of catastrophic acts but never in a sentimental way. This book could easily have been a weepie, but instead she explores how bad things happen to everyone, but we all find the strength and human nature to deal with the impossible and how we should take pleasure in the smallest and simplest happiness in everyday life as well as responsibility for split second decisions which can change or ruin lives forever.

The main four characters are all likeable. Avis is a strong woman who tries to piece together the broken parts of her family including her disabled brother who she shared a troubled childhood with, her son who has returned from Iraq a different man and her daughter-in-law who is having problems in her marriage. She tries her best and gets on things rather than moping when things go wrong. Luis acknowledges his mistakes and tries to make himself a better man and amend his wrongs. He has great difficulty in this, but keeps trying with the support of his doctor and grandmother. Roberta takes the time to speak to everyone in a child’s life to work out the best place for them to live. She is selfless and wants to do as much good as she can but does not come across as worthy or self-righteous. And the most lovable character of the four is brave Bashkim. His story is one that is based on a true story and I felt for him so much, but again he does not wallow in self pity and is an intelligent and sensitive boy loved by his teachers and I was just willing for things to turn out ok for him.
We Are Called To Rise is not a book that I would usually read, but I am so glad I did. Although it is full of disastrous circumstances, it also manages to make you feel positive about life and how the smallest act of kindness or friendliness can make all the difference in daily life.

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