Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Blog Tour: Don't Let My Baby Do Rodeo by Boris Fishman

Author: Boris Fishman
Publisher:  Harper
Date of publication: March 2016

Maya Shulman and Alex Rubin met in 1992, when she was a Ukrainian exchange student with “a devil in [her] head” about becoming a chef instead of a medical worker, and he the coddled son of Russian immigrants wanting to toe the water of a less predictable life.

Twenty years later, Maya Rubin is a medical worker in suburban New Jersey, and Alex his father’s second in the family business. The great dislocation of their lives is their eight-year-old son Max—adopted from two teenagers in Montana despite Alex’s view that “adopted children are second-class.”

At once a salvation and a mystery to his parents—with whom Max’s biological mother left the child with the cryptic exhortation “don’t let my baby do rodeo”—Max suddenly turns feral, consorting with wild animals, eating grass, and running away to sit face down in a river.

Searching for answers, Maya convinces Alex to embark on a cross-country trip to Montana to track down Max’s birth parents—the first drive west of New Jersey of their American lives. But it’s Maya who’s illuminated by the journey, her own erstwhile wildness summoned for a reckoning by the unsparing landscape, with seismic consequences for herself and her family.

I wasn't sure what I was expecting when I went into Don't Let My Baby Do Rodeo. In the story, Maya and Alex's adopted son, Max begins to act oddly.  In their eyes, he has become wild, apt to run away, and in love with nature.  They begin to wonder if it has something to do with his birth parents, so they decide to track them down.

As I said, this isn't the book that I was expecting.  But that was OK because I ended up being pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this story.  This book is more than just adoptive parents trying to find their son's birth parents.  To me, it was more about Maya and her journey to find her niche in life.  She never came across as someone who was comfortable in her role as wife, in her job, and lastly as a mother.  She seemed to be thrust into all three roles without actually being prepared. As I read, I had to wonder if Maya really believed that Max got his wildness from his birth parents. Or was she seeking a way to reconcile her feeling of disconnection with her son? It was interesting to see how the parting phrase from Laurel (the birth mom), "Don't let my baby do rodeo", weighed on Maya's mind.  To me, it meant don't let him turn out a loser like his birth father.  But to her, it was a possible answer to the child he was becoming. The journey across the country to Montana, for me was more about her, than about Max. 

This book isn't one that you will fly through because it is an exciting adventure.  It's more of a meandering tale. I did feel compelled to keep reading because I wanted to see what Maya would do next.  The story is one that is set to make you think about things.  How do we ever really feel like we belong and what make a place home for us?  I'm not sure I agreed with Maya's choices all the time, but I had to respect her journey.

I'd have to say give this one a try.  There is a lot packed into this book, but they are all worth exploring.

About Boris Fishman

Photo credit Stephanie Kaltsas
Boris Fishman was born in Minsk, Belarus, and immigrated to the United States in 1988 at the age of nine. His journalism, essays, and criticism have appeared in The New YorkerThe New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. His first novel, A Replacement Life won the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award and the American Library Association’s Sophie Brody Medal, was one ofThe New York Times‘ 100 Notable Books, and was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick. He lives in New York.

Find out more about Boris at his website, and connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.

Purchase Links

Tour Stops
Thursday, March 3rd: Dwell in Possibility
Friday, March 4th: Bibliophiliac
Monday, March 7th: I’m Shelf-ish
Tuesday, March 8th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews – spotlight
Wednesday, March 9th: Raven Haired Girl
Wednesday, March 9th: The Year in Books
Thursday, March 10th: Fearless Creative
Monday, March 14th: Novel Escapes
Tuesday, March 15th: BookNAround
Wednesday, March 16th: From the TBR Pile

Thursday, March 17th: Mother’s Circle
Monday, March 21st: Thoughts On This ‘n That
Tuesday, March 22nd: Worth Getting in Bed For
Wednesday, March 23rd: I’d Rather Be At The Beach
Thursday, March 31rd: Readaholic Zone

1 comment:

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

I'm so pleased that you enjoyed this book, particularly since you weren't sure what to expect at the beginning.Thanks for being a part of the tour!