Chicklit Club
 

VANESSA DIFFENBAUGH

 

We Never Asked For Wings (2015)

 

Letty Espinosa, a thirty-three-year-old single mother, lives with her family in a small apartment in a poor area on the wrong side of town; a wetland on the bay, close to the city of San Francisco. Her family consists of her mother and father, immigrants from Mexico, and her two children, a fifteen-year-old son Alex and her daughter Luna, a sweet and determined six-year-old. She has struggled all their lives to keep her family together, safe and settled, working three gruelling jobs while her mother brought up her children. When Letty’s father is called to his crumbling family home in rural Mexico, Letty’s life takes a turn for the worse. Her mother decides to travel back to her birth country to find out why her husband has not returned. Leaving the children home alone, Letty chooses to drive her mother through the border and into another country, never for one moment thinking she will be returning alone: her parents take the heart-breaking decision to stay in Mexico. Letty travels back to California, filled with worry and dread for what the future will hold for her family without their cherished grandparents. Left without childcare, Letty struggles with even the simplest tasks. Her parents had always taken care of the children while she had brought home the money and so she does not know their routines, their likes and dislikes. But Letty loves her children fiercely and is determined to be the best mother she could be. From this point on, Letty steps up to the challenges of motherhood and the transformation she undergoes, even when faced with the most severely testing situations, makes for a wonderful, heartwarming story. We Never Asked for Wings is Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s second much-anticipated novel. It is a story about motherhood and family, injustice and responsibility. Her gorgeous prose, wonderful storytelling and richly crafted characters lift this story up high, prose filled with understanding and empathy and never shying away from the gritty issues of inequality and poverty. I loved the way Letty supported her children and fought hard to get the best for them. She was an intriguing character and her metamorphosis spellbinding. (JH)

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