We Are Called to Rise jacket 300w.300×480

“It all matters. That someone turns out the lamp, picks up the windblown wrapper, says hello to the invalid, pays at the unattended lot, listens to the repeated tale, folds the abandoned laundry, plays the game fairly, tells the story honestly, acknowledges help, gives credit, says good night, resists temptation, wipes the counter, waits at the yellow, makes the bed, tips the maid, remembers the illness, congratulates the victor, accepts the consequences, takes a stand, steps up, offers a hand, goes first, goes last, chooses the small portion, teaches the child, tends to the dying, comforts the grieving, removes the splinter, wipes the tear, directs the lost, touches the lonely, is the whole thing. What is most beautiful is least acknowledged. What is worth dying for is barely noticed.”

“To always know how quickly life could change, how quickly everything important could disappear, to always be trying to feel this unexpectedly beautiful life to its core.”

“We say ‘Thank you very much’ and ‘I so appreciate what you have done’ to people who fill our grocery bags, to people who offer us a ride across town. What are the words to say to someone who gave you back your life, who believed that you still had a soul, who acknowledged how bad it was possible to feel? Shouldn’t there be another language for this? Different words altogether? And if I use the same old words, did I change what I was trying to say? Did I make it a same old thing? I should not risk words. But some come out. ‘I wish you were my father.’ The faintest surprise scrims his face. A pause. ‘I would be proud to have you as a son.'”

One Million Page Princess

We Are Called To Rise is a beautifully written story about four seemingly unrelated people in Las Vegas, who don’t even realize how their lives are intertwined until they must all face some of the most difficult decisions they will ever have to. Avis, a mother in her 50’s whose husband is leaving her for a younger woman, Bashkim, an eight-year-old immigrant boy from Albania trying to succeed in America when there is trouble at home, Roberta, a volunteer social worker who has spent her entire life in the darkest corners of Sin City, and Luis, a troubled soldier with internal demons and external injuries. These four individuals all face difficult paths ahead of them, but as the title suggests, they do their best to rise rather than sink into their heartache.

I LOVED this book. It was heartbreaking yet humorous. It was optimistic yet authentic.  It was constant yet unexpected. It was all the things that life is, and I couldn’t put it down. Chapter by chapter, more details about each of these remarkable characters come to light, and it’s truly a reminder about how everyone’s actions effect others. While the characters may initially all seem very different, the obvious thing that unites them is the city in which they call home: Las Vegas. I’ve only ever been to the strip, and Old Vegas, and have never really thought about the rows and rows of identical stucco houses where people actually live. Where children actually grow up. Up until reading this book Vegas has only been a three day vacation made up of poolside reading, giant plastic guitars filled with booze, expensive and germy pool parties (hello – human soup anyone?? gross!) and late night Pink’s hot dogs. However, Laura McBride expertly and eloquently personifies the city of Las Vegas, and the sides of it that unless you’re from there, no one really knows about. Without even realizing it, the city known for its slot machines and strippers, becomes a fifth character that helps guide the other ones forward.

If you’re looking for a book this summer that you can really sink your teeth into, and that you will walk away from feeling like a different and possibly more enlightened person, this is the one. It has such a powerful message about our interconnectedness, that I think it will leave you thinking for a long long time.

 

Until next time,

OMPP