Monday, May 15, 2017

Concepción and the Baby Brokers by Deborah Clearman

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

In nine thematically linked stories set largely in Guatemala, Concepción and the Baby Brokers brings to life characters struggling with universal emotions and dilemmas in a place unfamiliar to most Americans. From the close-knit community of Todos Santos to the teeming danger of Guatemala City, to a meat-packing plant in Michigan and the gardens of Washington DC, Deborah Clearman shows us the human cost of international adoption, drug trafficking, and immigration.

A Cup of Tears, the opening novella, reveals a third-world baby farm, seen through the eyes of a desperate wet nurse, a baby broker, and an American adoptive mother. In “The Race” a young man returns to his native village to ride in a disastrous horse race. “English Lessons” tells of a Guatemalan immigrant in Washington DC who learns more than English from a public library volunteer. A teenage girl tries to trap her professor into marriage in “Saints and Sinners.”

With searing humanity, Clearman exposes the consequences of American exceptionalism, and the daily magic and peril that inform and shape ordinary lives.

my thoughts:

A solid collection of short stories that focus on Guatemala and immigrants from Guatemala in the U.S..  The writing is clear and precise in its rich, vivid descriptions of the country, its people, and their culture.  We befriend characters from all walks of life struggling to survive and thrive.  Their life experiences shape them and provide us with an idea of how they've gotten to where they are.  The stories explore a variety of issues: race, class, economic, and social.  It was chock full of fascinating characters and their interesting stories.  The one story that stuck out the most was about selling babies - yes, selling babies.  Babies are treated as a commodity, because they are in high demand.  They are stolen, they are sold, they are "adopted" -  its horrifying, sad, and real.  I appreciated this story the most, because it was so well developed and provided us with all of the different perspectives from everyone participating in this baby scheme.  From the young girl charged with caring for the babies to the couple whose baby was stolen to the "baby brokers" to the couple "adopting" the baby - you get to find out what everyone's role is and how they feel about it all.  Its absolutely riveting! I definitely enjoyed getting to know these characters and their country though this well written collection of short stories - it was definitely a treat to read.

Concepción and the Baby Brokers is a book I would happily recommend to fans of short stories - you will definitely find these stories to be compelling and worthwhile.  To find out what other bloggers have to say, here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: Concepción and the Baby Brokers
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!


bermudaonion said...

I enjoy short stories but don't read them often enough. This collection sounds unique - I think I'd like it.

Nadia said...

Kathy, I never cared much for short stories either, but for some reason, the older I get the more I enjoy them. You are right about this collection being unique - definitely check it out :)

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

There is such desperation for a child in so many people, but I can't imagine letting it drive you to something like you describe in the baby broker story. I realize that it happens though, and that is just heartbreaking.

Thanks for being a part of the tour!