After leaving a life of abuse and a failed marriage in Puerto Rico, Arcelia Perez searches for a new life in America, only to end up on the wrong side of Providence, Rhode Island. While raising her three children, Arcelia struggles with her heroin addiction that lands her in prison. During her struggle with drug withdrawals, she makes it a goal to stay clean and to eventually reunite with the children she left behind.
This Side of Providence is told from Arcelia’s point-of-view, including those linked to her life: her street-savvy son, Cristo, who has faith that his family will be together again; her bookworm daughter, Luz, who begins to doubt her mother’s fate; Cristo’s teacher, Miss Valentin, who also deals with struggles of her own; and Snowman, Arcelia’s landlord and confidante.
This story is not only about a woman’s struggle with falling into and out of a life of drugs and alcohol, but a mother who wants to provide a better life for her children who were left to fend for themselves. But can she do it? Can she prove to her children that she’s changed? The ending wasn’t what I expected, but I still liked it. It’s a sad story, but it was still a page-turner, and the narrations were well-written. As always, feel free to post your comments.
*FTC Disclosure: I received this copy, from LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers, in exchange for an honest review.
About the author: Rachel M. Harper has received fellowships from Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony and is on the faculty at Spalding University’s low-residency MFA in Writing Program. Her first novel, Brass Ankle Blues, was a Borders Original Voices Award finalist and selected as a Target Breakout Book. She lives in Los Angeles.