I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.This Side of Providence by Rachel M. Harper
Published by Prospect Park Books on March 7, 2016
Genres: Family & Relationships, LGBT, Literature & Fiction, Parenting
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This tender novel tells a universal story of struggle, loss, and ultimately, survival. Arcelia Perez left Puerto Rico for the American dream, but within a few years she's living on the tough side of Providence, Rhode Island with three children, no job, and a powerful heroin addiction. Through rotating narration, we meet a diverse cast of characters—most notably Arcelia's charming, street-savvy son, Cristo, and his teacher, Miss Valentín—whose futures are inextricably linked as they strive to succeed against the odds.
Oh lord, how to start. This Side of Providence is one of those reads that transports you into the story, holds on tight and then throws you out at the end a changed reader. This is one of those rare books that can meld emotion into a world of turmoil. The path of a mother, who at her core, only wants to do the best for her children but is sidetracked by her addiction is powerful. Arcelia came to Providence for the chance to create a new life outside of Puerto Rico. A single mother with three children and a heroin addiction, she is on a path towards redemption or tragedy.
The plot of This Side of Providence was a rich and with the multiple points of view very diverse. The writing of Rachel M. Harper is on an elevated level. She was able to create an impactful tale that weaved through seemingly simple scenes and made them rich and meaningful. The pacing had a few small issues, that I tend to find with multi-pov stories as the changing of the characters tends to throw off the timing a bit. The world built was almost another character. The gritty streets and sidewalks are so integral to the tale. The characters shone. Even though the majority of them did not contain the usual sympathetic feelings, they did not need them. They were tough and real and so proud. The emotions were strong with This Side of Providence. As each person took a turn narrating, you had a unique glimpse into their minds and at times it broke my heart.
Rachel M. Harper can really tap into the heart and mind of a character. The way the story unfolded swept me in and I enjoyed every tragic second. This is not a feel good read, rather it is a read that makes you feel more. Make sure you have tissues nearby when you read This Side of Providence.
Favorite lines – I was a child and I still believed in things I couldn’t see. Like the truth, love, and forgiveness. Today I believe in only the things I can feel: hunger, pain, my beating heart.
Biggest cliché – One day at a time…
Have you read This Side of Providence, or added it to your TBR?
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2016 Diverse Books Reading Challenge
- 2016 New Release Challenge
- Mount TBR Reading Challenge
- Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge
- The Goodreads Challenge