Books and Bagels and Morning Book Break Book Discussion Groups on
Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran
The Books and Bagels Book Discussion group members rated the book between a 3.5 and 4.5 with one member giving the book a 3.0 and another member rating the book at 5.0. The average of the ratings was 4.03.
The Morning Book Break Book Discussion group rated the book between a 3.0 and 4.0, with one member giving the book a 2.0 and one member giving the book a 5.0. The average of the ratings was 3.69.
Several members gave the book a higher rating because the discussion was so poignant.
Overall members enjoyed this read and learned a lot about the immigrant experience. Members were conflicted about parts of the book. Many members had a hard time getting into the book. Some members liked the first half better and some members liked the second half better. Some members liked the way the book ended and some members strongly disliked the way the book ended. Overall, members were thankful that the story was not a Hollywood ending. Based on September’s book club read (a Hollywood ending), one member did not want to read the last 10 or so pages, she was worried that the author was going to wrap-up the book and all the characters into a nice neat little package—so, finally, when the member read the end, she was happily surprised that it was not a tidy ending. The ending is complex and rang true to real life, in that, issues and people are multi-faceted without simple solutions. Most members agreed with this member’s assessment.
Some members thought the book was well-written and others thought the book needed editing. One member thought that maybe the author had fallen in love with the sound of her own voice. Although, members thought the author did a good job of developing sympathetic characters; the book was still too long.
Members appreciated the research the author did to bring readers the story. Members enjoyed learning about both cultures. Members thought this was a timely book and they enjoyed exploring multiple sides to an issue.
- The groups discussed how the novel explores motherhood from the main character’s perspectives and from minor character’s perspectives. Although, the title is Lucky Boy, the author states, “This story, this fight for a boy—it wasn’t about the boy. It was about his mothers.” The author created sympathy for both Kavya and Soli, by spending so much time developing their characters. We discussed the key differences between Soli’s and Kavya’s approach to motherhood. We discussed which woman we most related to.
- Soli travels to America riding on La Bestia, while Kavya’s family arrived by more traditional means. So, we discussed the novel’s portrayal of privileged versus unprivileged immigration. We briefly discussed Soli’s treatment in immigrant detention.
- When Rishi is asked if he wants a child, he thinks “Children had seemed like a project planted permanently in the future. A certainty about which he never thought he’d be asked. Had anyone asked his own father if he’d wanted a baby?” We discussed how the novel portrays fatherhood and whether it is different than motherhood.
- The group discussed how the novel portrays class stratification. We also talked about whether the classic idea of the American dream is still attainable.
- The story was set on the fictional Weebies campus in Silicon Valley and we discussed how the setting shaped the novel.
- The facilitator asked the group, how they felt about the ending and whether, or not, they were surprised. (Spoiler alert) We talked about Kavya’s decision to fight to keep Iggy. We talked about whether or not Soli should have made a different choice.
- We discussed the title and if, indeed, Ignacio was a lucky boy.
Each year the clubs read the Suburban Mosaic selection. The Suburban Mosaic is a Community Reading Program for suburban communities in Cook and Lake County with the mission of fostering cultural understanding through literature.
The participating organizations are: Des Plaines Public Library, Elk Grove Village Public Library, Lincolnwood Public Library, Mount Prospect Public Library, Palatine Public Library, Prospect Heights Public Library, Rolling Meadows Public Library, Schaumburg Twp. District Library, School Districts 15, 23, 25, 26, 54, 57, and 63, District 214 Community Education, Harper College, National-Louis University, and
the Daily Herald Newspaper.
Lucky Boy was the adult selection for 2017-2018.
For further information, please see flyer below: