4 out of 4 stars
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The Daughter's Baggage by Diane Winger is a young adult fiction novel. This is an amazing read! The story was engaging and thought-provoking. The writing was excellent and the different sections of the story flowed nicely into one another. The book addresses issues of diversity related to sociocultural and socioeconomic status. While many themes are on the emotionally heavier side, the author beautifully balances this with descriptions of the strong emotionally connecting bonds that can occur between women.
The book is the story of baggage or, more specifically, a green suitcase/backpack and it's adventures in the hands of different families in addition to the type of baggage that gets picked up through experiencing trauma. The author weaves the story of the suitcase and the people surrounding it together beautifully.
The bulk of the story is about a teenager named Aaliyah and her mother who struggle with the many consequences of a father/partner coming home from Afghanistan a changed man. He ultimately decides to end his life, which leads to an emotionally captivating chain of events as the characters engage in making a series of decisions in their lives that lead into the last part of the book. I will say no more so as not to spoil it for anyone!
The author tells a very powerful story filled with themes of racial and ethnic injustice and discrimination, class differences, the importance of relationships, and the impact of trauma on teens and families. I found myself looking forward to reading more from the very start. The author does a stunning job illuminating the inner mental workings of the characters with a knack for very accurate portrayal of women from various ages and backgrounds (cultural, racial, socioeconomic status, etc.). From a single mother struggling to get by while supporting her teenaged daughter to an elderly woman struggling with her own limitations after a stroke, this book is a clear portrayal of the issues in American society today from a personal female perspective.
Other than this book being extremely difficult to put down, I have no criticisms of it. It is put together beautifully and very well written and enthralling. The book moves at a steady pace that is neither too fast nor too slow. The poignant descriptions of relationship and bonding in the book moved me to tears. This book is a wonderful read and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys fiction and is interested in issues of social justice in modern American society and the impact of trauma for individuals and families! Though the majority of the book is centered on teens and preteens, I would not recommend this book for preteens, since some of the material may be deemed inappropriate without parental guidance. This book may be of interest for high school teachers in a classroom setting because it has a lot of thought-provoking material on current societal struggles that would lend itself well to discussion. I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars!
The Daughters' Baggage
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