She was homeless and could barely fend for herself. How was she supposed to be responsible for another creature?
What is the most fascinating part of this book to me, is Cara’s characterization and relationship to her sister. It was easy for me to identify with Cara’s feelings of abandonment and the questions she has about her mother, but I’ll elaborate further in this book review. Wish Me Home is about Cara’s emotional journey and while I could see the ending coming, it was satisfying and also a little bittersweet.
All her life she’d thought she was moving from place to place in search of a home. But in reality, she was running from herself and the person she didn’t want to be.
We meet Cara as she is on the road, and maybe on the run, faced with low cash funds and a lack of direction. Soon Cara picks up an unlikely companion for a homeless woman, Hemi, an injured dog. As Cara finds her way, the two of them journey together, traveling the miles towards answers buried deep within. Along the way they will encounter challenges, moments of self-doubt, and relationships which bring up old ghosts that must come to rest.
Don’t forget. I love you, Hemi. I really love you.
In this review I want to begin with two elements of the plot before I focus on the main reason I enjoyed this book. The mystery of Cara’s sister is one that is well developed and while Hana is absent, her characterization is well-executed. Bratt does a phenomenal job of exploring their relationship from Cara’s perspective and leaving many questions unanswered. Additionally, Hemi stands for a multitude of things: a representation of the two sisters, a replacement for Hana, and could even be interpreted as a symbol of love. Because of this, I appreciated Hemi’s narrative purpose, as well as enjoying his behavior and own characterization.
Could the universe be throwing her a second chance at being happy?
Onto why I enjoyed Wish Me Home so much: my identification with Cara’s foster status. Cara and Hana experience a few bad foster home placements and because of this (coupled with the reason they entered the system), they are wary of people and family. On the one hand, they wish they could be truly embraced in a placement, yet on the other hand, they expect people to disappoint them and ultimately abandon them. I could identify to these feelings and the conflict between them well as I was adopted. I cried with Cara and Hana as they reflect on feeling unloved and unwanted, but, more importantly, with little explanation and many questions (especially regarding their mother).
She didn’t deserve the life she was living.
Unlike Cara and Hana, who are awarded some measure of closure (which I enjoyed immensely) I have no real answers and I struggle with this, to some degree, every day. I will never know if my mother loved me, and I have battled with these unanswered questions for my whole life. Having difficulty embracing the feeling of being wanted and trusting people not to abandon you, is something Cara, Hana, and I all share. This is the main reason why Wish Me Home resonates with me deeply.
The world wasn’t out to get her. Good people did exist.
But enough about me. Wish Me Home is a heartfelt book about a variety of things: creating our own family, trusting people, finding our self-worth, and being strong enough to stand up for ourselves. I think we all struggle with feeling worthy of love and the fear of abandonment, which is why I think that Wish Me Home will touch many people and perhaps help them to hope again. I hope that this book review helps you decide if this book is for you. You can pre-order it here (it comes out March 21), check out Kay Bratt’s website here, and add it to Goodreads.
Disclaimer: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Let’s Discuss: What is your favorite character who must learn to love themselves?
Subscribe below for more reviews of Kay Bratt
If you liked this, read my book review of The Palest Ink (also by Kay Bratt) and still my favorite of hers.