The Same Sky Hardcover – 20 Jan 2015
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Ward is deeply sympathetic to her characters, and this affecting novel is sure to provoke conversations about immigration and adoption (New York Times Book Review)
A deeply affecting look at the contrast between middle-class US life and the brutal reality of Central American children so desperate they'll risk everything (People)
After reading The Same Sky, you just might view the world a little differently. And isn't that the goal of all great art? (Bookreporter)
Emotionally gripping . . . a novel that brilliantly attaches us to broader perspectives. It is a needed respite from the angry politics surrounding border issues that, instead of dividing us, connects us to our humanity (Dallas Morning News)
It takes a skilled, compassionate writer to craft an authentic, moving page-turner from a complex social issue like immigration, but Ward nails it (Good Housekeeping)
Poignant and bittersweet . . . Eyre's wrenching fifth novel is a study in contrasts . . . Carla's journey is powerfully rendered and will stick with readers long after they close the book (Publishers Weekly)
Ward writes with great empathy . . . Earnest and well-told. Heartstrings will be pulled (Kirkus Reviews) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
The Same Sky tells the powerful, moving story of Carla, a 12-year-old Honduran girl struggling to get to the US with her little brother, and Alice, who lives in Texas and is desperate to become a mother. A perfect book club read, for fans of Liane Moriarty. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
The book was like two stories in one which consolidated in the closing words. I particularly liked this style of book as each chapter was focused on one side of the story. The chapters were fairly short and after reading each one I was keen to carry on reading to find out what happened next … the storyline gripped me quite early on.
Carla is a young girl aged 12 who had to grow up extremely quickly to look after her younger brother, six year old Junior. Their mother fled their deprived area and made the illegal move to Texas to find work and send money back to her family. The children had been left alone in Honduras, South America with their aging grandmother. Sadly when Carla’s grandmother died Carla and Junior’s lives became very perilous. Food was scarce and they were left very vulnerable. The area they lived in was prone to robberies, attacks and much worse. The children decided to escape the poverty and had hopes and dreams of finding their mother and the American Dream.
Their journey through South America and Mexico into Texas was terrifying. They had no legal papers and were trekking through jungles and deserts, across water and scrounging lifts on trains. They were exploited and terrorised and the journey was filled with awful events that scar your mind and body.
The other side of this book is set in Texas, a happily married couple who own their own BBQ restaurant. Alice is desperate for a baby but sadly has been left infertile following a serious illness.Read more ›
The Same Sky tells the stories of two very different females: Carla, a young girl who is looking after her younger brother, alone, in Honduras after her mother left for America and Alice, part owner of a barbeque restaurant with her husband in Texas who feels unfulfilled.
For, I’d say, 98% of the book these two women seem to have nothing in common and no need to be connected. For a while I really was unsure of whether their stories would ever intertwine but I needn’t have worried for there is a perfect, small cross over at the end that made everything feel like it had come together.
The story is told in alternating chapters that give us an insight into both characters’ lives. I found Carla’s story to be far more touching and interesting as her goal to try and reach America with her young brother was fascinating and so removed from my everyday life. Whereas I felt that I could relate to Alice more and her story felt less, hmm, I guess it felt less dangerous and was almost quite pedestrian in comparison! (That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy Alice’s story though.)
Amanda’s writing was incredibly involving and emotive and there were many times that I felt intensely the emotions the characters were going through. I found both were very easy to warm to and I wanted to support them both on their plights; Carla with the dream of making it to her mother and Alice with the dream of being a mother.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Here, the Good Story is terrifying, riveting, heart-wrenching. Carla is telling the story. She’s a young girl living in abject poverty in Honduras. In charge of her younger brother, she forages for food at the dump, dreams of escaping to America, and then makes a harrowing run for it.
The Other One is boring. Alice tells her story. She’s a middle-class, 40-year-old woman in Texas whose husband owns a popular restaurant. She desperately wants to adopt a baby and has just had to give an adopted baby back. Here’s a couple of things Alice and her family do: They go to parades and say grace. Alice’s husband gets interviewed for a story in a food magazine. The story has a Hallmark feel. See? No contest! Why not just make the story all about Carla?
Okay, Carla’s story. I’ve never read a book that describes poverty so vividly. You feel like you’re right there with Carla, walking in her shoes as she barely finds enough food to stay alive and as she endures horrible events during her trek to America. I was on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what horror she would face next and how she would survive. I’ll never look at immigrants in the same light again. When I hear of people trying to cross the border, I’ll think of Carla’s frightening struggles, her desperation, and her determination to get out of her country. It’s a treacherous journey, and not for the weak. Hunger, rape, theft, death, and pure and constant fear—this is what immigrants face.
The author does an amazing job of making it feel real. Carla is very well developed, the scenes are vivid, the pacing of the novel is excellent. There are no wasted words.
I have one criticism of the Good Story, which is Carla’s voice. Occasionally, she sounds like an American writer.
For example, she says:
“I tried to push down my anger, the sense that I had been abandoned, a fledgling left to founder in a disintegrating nest.”
“What do you want?, he said, leaning back against the door frame of my house, looking insouciant.”
Okay, embarrassing truth: I had to look up “insouciant.” (It means “nonchalant”, if you were as clueless as I was.) So Carla, who isn’t a native English speaker, uses “insouciant”? I don’t think so. I realize that she was probably an adult telling her story, looking back at her life in Honduras and her journey, but I sometimes didn’t buy her vocabulary and sentence structure. Did she get her M.A. in English or creative writing?
I don’t have a lot to say about the Other One. Besides being a mundane story, the relationship between Alice and her husband just didn’t ring true. Several actions seemed out of character. For example, Alice tries to help a troubled teenager, Evian, and Alice’s husband doesn’t approve. Then suddenly he is gung-ho Evian, with no explanation of why he changed his tune. Evian even contacts him, which seems totally out of character. I didn’t buy it. Another example: Alice insinuates that her husband is flirting with a person interviewing him, and it’s never addressed. Also, the dialogue is often stilted. The author keeps the story moving, but I wasn’t interested. I was dying to get back to Carla. The way the two stories intersect is cool but somewhat predictable.
I did like many of the metaphors used (“Her teeth are white as American sugar.”). I always love a good metaphor, and it made me see that the writer was clever when it came to creating good images.
I wish some reviewer had mentioned that the book has a God bent. God works in mysterious ways; you must have faith, etc. etc. I didn’t want to hear it. I felt like I was listening to a famous person who, when interviewed, thanks God (instead of giving themselves credit) for whatever he or she has achieved—which lessens my admiration of the star.
I’m going to pay careful attention when a book blurb says that the book is about “faith.” It usually means there’s God stuff, which will send me running the other way. In the acknowledgments, the author thanks a priest who provided much of the info on Carla’s story. No wonder the book has a religious bent. The characters in Alice’s story are also religious (though I must admit, not in a major way). Given that the family is apple-pie America, the inclusion of religious just turned me off more. I prefer edgy, not mundane straight lives of god-fearing people in middle America. But this is just my opinion.
I’ve recently read two other books, "Calling Me Home" and "Five Days Left," both of which also had two alternating stories, and in both cases I liked one story and not the other. I just don’t understand why the authors aren’t happy sticking with the strong story and ditching the other. The books would be so much better.
The Carla story was great, but the Alice story wasn’t. It was a fast read. I know most people raved about this book, but I can’t gush. All I can give it is a 3.
Thank you NetGalley for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.
Carla is an eleven year old girl living in below poverty conditions in Honduras. Her mother left the entire family and made the trip to Austin, Texas, to save money to help her family. Carla helps her ailing grandmother take care of her twin brothers. They barely have any food and are lucky to have a roof over their heads. Carla works in the dump going through trash to make a few bucks to help support her brothers and grandma. What a life. The conditions are hard, cruel, and never ever get better. Even though their mom sends money from Texas, it isn't much help. Crime is horrible and constant, the streets are swimming with criminals, murderers, druggies -- Carla can trust few people. One day Carla decides to put her fate in her own hands and decides to make the illegal trip to America to find her mom and hopefully get a shot at a better life.
Alice and her husband, Jake, live in Austin, Texas, and operate a popular BBQ joint. Wow, just reading about their meals made this reader crave BBQ! Jake and Alice desperately would love to have children and have tried adoption. They are both very involved in their thriving business, the local community, are totally in love with each other, but due to the fact there are no children in their lives, they feel as if a link is missing for them.
Told in the oscillating voices of Alice and Carla, this is a great book. It really opens your eyes as to the conditions others in foreign countries live in and how these people will literally do ANYTHING to get to America. Carla has quite the story to tell -- she speaks in a clear voice, recounting the horrors of her daily 'normal' life. Alice's story is also well told.
From the minute I started this book, I knew how this story would end. While very predictable, this is still a great and eye-opening book, filled with hope, love, and the human condition. Come and meet Alice and Carla and see what life has in store for these very two different women. Ward has always been a favorite author of mine and she did not disappoint with her latest.
I enjoyed Clara’s story so much more than Alice’s. Clara and her supporting characters seemed real. I felt that her journey was genuine. The struggles and hardships she endured were heartbreaking. There times however, when modern technology was mentioned (a.k.a. the internet) by Clara and this was confusing because Clara was living in a village where she slept on a pallet, robbed of cooking pots, had to walk miles to use the only phone in town, and ate flour paste for meals. So I’m assuming that she is referring to using the internet once she is older and living a better life in America. But, why even refer to it? I was just confused.
Alice’s part of the book felt disconnected. Her character was more well rounded than the others but didn't feel fully developed. Just when I thought I had a good read on each of the supporting characters, they did/said something abrupt and out of character. It went completely against the already developed character. I found myself re-reading paragraphs because I didn’t understand why a character just did/said the thing they did/said because it didn’t make any sense. Every single character in Alice’s story fell into this category of disappoint me for me.
I’m a little concerned that this book is getting such great reviews on Goodreads. My review and rating does not follow suit. So I kind of feel like I’m not being fair, but I’ve thought long and hard about this book and I’m just not happy about it. The second I finished it, the first feeling I had was utter disappointment. I could tell at about 65% through the book that I might not like where the book ended, but I kept reading on. Overall, I probably would have given the novel a better rating had it just been Clara’s story.
I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. To read more reviews like this one, check out ObsessiveBookNerd.com.
Amanda Eyre Ward has taken a young girl, Carla, feeling lost and lonely without her mother who has headed to America to make a living to provide for her daughter, four-year old twin boys, and her mother.
Ward paints an equally sad and arresting story of Alice Conroe, 40 years old with her biological clock wound down. Alice and her husband desperately want a child, and each attempt to adopt falls foul of success.
Alternating Carla and Alice's stories in each chapter, the reader gains insight into two critical areas of life not always familiar to every individual.
Carla's life in Honduras is one of seeking food in the garbage dump and living in fear of being attacked or murdered. It is no wonder these people take such chances to enter America, whether legally or illegally. And what they go through in their efforts to arrive here is unbelievable.
Alice's dream of a child of her own seem to be defeated at every turn creating problems between her and her husband. And yet their love is strong enough to survive. Just as Carla's determination for a better life provides for her survival.
I fell in love with both Carla and Alice, and I hoped they would become parent and child. But even better the comparison and contrast between the stories brought home with greater power the human will which carries us through times of despair, depression, want and immense need.
This is my first Amanda Eyre Ward read, and it will not be my last. Her writing is powerful and yet filled with bits of humor in Alice's story, which is needed from time to time. Ward draws evocative pictures of her characters, real people, people you want to know.
Recommendation: The Same Sky is not an overly long book, and the story line moves quickly. If you want a well written, heart tugging book filled with the human longing we all share, The Same Sky would be a good book for you to pick up. Perhaps you have read Ward's other books and if so, she has written a winner here.
Note: I received a copy of The Same Sky from Ballantine Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The views expressed here are solely my own.
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