Like two trains traveling toward each other at erratic speeds over unknown rails, with diversions onto sidetracks, the stories of Carla in Tegucigalpa and Alice in Texas move toward each other. The reader of The Same Sky by Amanda Eyre Ward may wonder from time to time if the two stories will ever come together. The closest I’ll come to a spoiler is an assurance that this becomes one story, not two.
The book opens with Carla left with her grandmother and her twin brothers when her mother goes to America. Soon, one of the brothers goes into a car trunk to be smuggled into the United States. The author leaves the reader, along with Carla, wondering what happens after the car pulls away. Switching to Alice in the next chapter, as she will do throughout the book, she establishes compassion for a woman trying to figure out whether to cancel the adoption celebration when the birth mother changes her mind and takes back the baby she has held only briefly.
Carla’s story includes taking care of the remaining brother who eases his hunger pain by sniffing glue. Knowing what this will do to his mind, she remains helpless to do anything about it. Her relationship with Humberto adds a bit of romance to temper this anxiety and the responsibility that comes when her grandmother dies. The overarching question is whether to stay with the danger in Honduras or face the danger of using the coyotes who will take her money in exchange for a promise to get her across the border to America.
Alice’s story is filled with typical family pressures and interactions, an attempt to be a mentor to a teenager on the edge, and lots of Texas barbecue. She needs to find out who she is and how she really relates to her husband.
This is a book that puts a human face on the statistics of immigration. It won’t solve the problem or even suggest solutions. It will give a vivid picture of what it would be like to be one of the children caught in that dilemma.