"" Writer's Wanderings: Books For The Road - Secret Daughter

Monday, March 21, 2011

Books For The Road - Secret Daughter

With the prospect of cruising to some more exotic ports in the near future, I downloaded a more exotic book to my Sony Reader for our last cruise. Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda takes place in America and India. The product description says:

On the eve of the monsoons, in a remote Indian village, Kavita gives birth to Asha. But in a culture that favours sons, the only way for Kavita to save her newborn daughter's life is to give her away. It is a decision that will haunt her even after the arrival of their cherished son. Halfway around the globe, Somer, an American doctor, decides to adopt a child after making the wrenching discovery that she will never have one of her own. Somer knows life will change with the adoption, but is convinced that the love they already feel for the baby in the pictures will overcome all obstacles. Interweaving the stories of Kavita, Somer, and Asha, "Secret Daughter" poignantly explores issues of culture and belonging.

The story is a contrast of cultures and economic realities. The ease of life in America is contrasted with the slums of Mumbai which in turn are contrasted with the wealthier class of Mumbai. I found the descriptions of the slums and the fight for survival heartwrenching and yet the author manages to open your eyes to the good things that come of the strong family ties there. The customs and traditions of India are woven throughout the storytelling and give the reader a glimpse of Indian life.

But the story goes beyond borders, beyond customs and traditions of any country by bringing into view the strength of motherhood and the importance of family whether it be biological or chosen.
Secret Daughter was a great read! And a great way to "visit" India.

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