A lookery at Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s “We Never Asked for Wings”

We Never Asked for Wings

We Never Asked for Wings

Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Ballantine Books

August 18, 2015

320 pages



From Vanessa Diffenbaugh, the best-selling author of The Language of Flowers comes a new novel, We Never Asked for Wings. It is a marvelous story in which Diffenbaugh takes on the challenges of today’s society. While weaving an absorbing tale of a family at risk, the author grapples with parenthood as well as the multi-generational connection between children, their parents and grandparents. She explores various styles of family units, young love and young love revisited, complicated adult relationships, the struggles of undocumented immigrants and the daily fight for a better future.

As the story opens, Letty is in a panic. Her mother has followed Letty’s father to the family home in Mexico. Letty has no idea how to care for her own children, Alex, nearly fifteen, and Luna, six. Grandmother Maria Elena raised the children while Letty held down several jobs to support the entire family. She is desperate for help.

So what choice does Letty have but to sneak out after the kids are asleep in their San Francisco Bay area apartment in the neglected Bayshore wetlands and drive to her father’s home deep in Mexico?

Alex awakens to find his mother and grandmother gone and determines that he and Luna should be okay on their own for a week until the women return. But the week stretches on, and it is getting harder for Alex to manage headstrong Luna and feed the both of them. He is much more interested in his blossoming relationship with his pretty neighbor Yesenia than playing babysitter. The young teen also has questions about his absent father.

When Letty returns home without her mother, she takes bold steps to improve her family’s position and future. Alex also takes a chance on bettering life for Yesenia. Trouble brews for the teens, and it is at this point that the support of family and friends becomes essential.

We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh is an extraordinary novel of relationships, love, hope and personal discovery. It is poignant, delving deep into the hearts, souls and minds of each of the individuals in the story. The author guides her characters with grace through their struggles, creating a realistic and strong story line that is believable and touches the reader. We Never Asked for Wings is destined for best-seller lists everywhere (and if you haven’t already done so, read her novel The Language of Flowers for further proof of Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s talent as a writer and storyteller).

Thank you to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for an advance copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.