My current read, We Are called To Rise, is drawing to a close and I must say it has been one of the most compelling reads of the year for me and considering we are 6 months in that must be saying something. It is because of this that I have slowed down the pace in order not to finish it in a blur.
One of the reflections I have taken from this read is how close I was to not reading it. I didn’t choose it. It didn’t even make my top three from the long list of options given on the monthly book review email.
(the top three for this month, in order of preference, were; How to Build a Girl – Caitlin Moran. Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Mutiny – Laurie Penny. The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton. These were fiction, non-fiction and fiction respectively.)
Unfortunately this list is heavily reliant on the traditional ‘first come, first served’ and I happened to miss the email coming out by a full weekend. Blast. The boat was well and truly missed. So, at the request of my editor, I opted for one from under the ‘Fun & Romance’ umbrella and like it or not the genre automatically takes me to phrases like ‘beach read’ and ‘another Nicholas bloomin’ Sparks’. Well, I have been proved wrong. Hats are being eaten all over the shop.
Or maybe my snobbery still stands. It may be that this book is being marketed specifically to the holiday market as one thing when actually it something entirely different.
I think this is a fun book because I think books are fun. Reading is fun. Put me in a book shop or library with unlimited time and resources and fun will preside.
But the question is, is the story fun? No. It is thought provoking and initially gripping. In places it is desperately sad yet also quite rousing in terms of human compassion and strength in adversity. While these are great attributes to have they do not scream ‘fun’. Fun, to me, is the light hearted reads you get, those ones that make you giggle on the bus or titter at your desk at lunch. The likes of Love, Nina, Where’d you go Bernadette and How to Be a Woman. Many people may want to splutter into a cocktail whilst lying on a beach, covered in factor 50 and praying the sun gods decide not to burn them on that day.
So whilst this is billed as romance/fun, and it is not quite that, it is great. Laura McBride has done a sterling job. If you normally avoid the genre this has been billed as – read it. If you normally like your books with a tinge of romance and giggles I suggest pushing through with this one as it may just take you away from a life of potentially mediocre reads.
We Are Called To Rise is the debut novel by Las Vegas based author, Laura McBride, following the lives of four very different characters as their stories circulate up to, and including the aftermath of, a life changing incident that ripples through each and every one of them.
McBride writes from the different view points of each of her Las Vegas based characters; middle aged Avis, struggling with an imminent divorce and a war torn son while Bashkim is an eight year old Albanian boy with immigrant parents and a strong sense of responsibility. Alongside them is Luis, a troubled soldier suffering from PTSD and a world of other issues and Roberta, a volunteer caseworker helping the lost and soon to be lost children of Las Vegas.
With these character’s perspectives McBride creates a desperately sad tale that still manages to encapsulate a sense of hope and positivity through the gloom.
An excellent read that will cling to you long after you have closed the book.