So I think I’m going to restart the whole talking about books thing. I used to do a few back in the days of MiniBookExpo, and when Random House had books available for review. Books are one of my passions, and as I am currently (temporarily) done school, I figured I would immerse myself back into the world of books~
To start off, we have the…
Secret Daughter – Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Have you ever felt the need to belong, despite the fact you already should?
Let me back up.
My childhood that made me painfully aware of the fact that I was different. The racial slurs, the different ways children would treat you…the way they would talk about the differences in our eyes, our hair.
Being born in Toronto (a city known for its multicultural mix), didn’t make a difference. It didn’t make a difference I spoke fluently, without an accent (though I am told by a few like DA that I do have a Canadian accent lol yay!). It didn’t matter I was obsessed with Archie comics like they were, or that I liked the same boys they did. They made not so subtle comments that reminded me that I was different because of how I looked.
But this isn’t about me, and this isn’t a story I want to dive in to atm.
The story that unravels in the Secret Daughter is one that made me feel like I could relate, though not in a way that is anything like the novel itself.
The story is told of a woman, Kavita in India, a woman ready to embrace the world of motherhood, only to have the opportunity snatched away from her in a cruel painful moment. Despising the ways things had to be, harbouring resent, fear, and extreme sorrow for the child she never knew, until her second pregnancy.
Then we jump to California, where we are walked through another woman’s journey, Somer, of what should have been joy, but turned into a tale of another miscarriage. A woman who struggles with perhaps this was an underlying message of her unfit match to be a mother.
We are returned to the tale in India, where Kavita has given birth to her second daughter, and fears the same fate of her first. She pleads for a few days with the newborn babe, and ends up traveling by foot, to place her precious daughter in an orphanage.
And it is here the story entwines, as one would have guessed.
Somer finally relents to the idea of adoption, and finally, after all the processes that were subjected to, they arrived in India to whisk away their loved daughter to their home back in America. The problem is that, with all the paper work…the papers had mislabel the infants name as Asha, instead of Usha which was the name her birth mother had so preciously given her.
The story continues with the fact that Kavita finally gives birth to the male heir that they so desperately wanted, or more so needed in their life. Except as the story unravels further, we see where this dependence takes the family; into a downward spiral that no one would have expected.
Returning back to one of the main points of the story, the child, Asha, who grew up in a biracial family, as an adopted child.
Here is where I say that, though I felt an understanding, it was a completely difference way from Asha. Nowhere do our lives parallel, but there is a glimmer of emotions that stir up the past.
The book takes us through, a chapter at a time, alternating between the two families, the individuals, the couples, and taking us through different parts of their lives.
Normally I am not a fan of multiple views from characters. It ends up distracting the main point that the author is trying to get across, and I find it difficult to keep up. However the author, Shilpi Somaya Gowda, balances the information she wants to get across, and hones it with just the right amount of emotion, in just the right amount of space to allow me to follow through with it. By the half way point, I was thirsting for another glimpse of Kavita’s story, and then to read that of Jasu’s, Kavita’s husband, especially when he tells of the subject of his reoccurring nightmares, (which makes you rethink him as a character, as we were kind of lead to believe something else about him up til this point).
I really don’t want to go into so much more of the story, as it was truly a great read, and I had to admit there were a few tears shed.
There is a slight weakness in the latter third of the book, but you get over it once you are done.
But the book, in general, does open the mind up to other ideas, thoughts and concepts that are foreign. And I am not just speaking in a location wise sense, but rather foreign in the sense that it is completely out of our relm. I mean, yes, I do hope that I would be a mother in the near future (either need to secure a mate, or find the funds to go at it alone…), but I cannot relate to Somer and Krishnan’s journey of adoption. My mother and I talked about it a lot when I was younger, and it is only through that I know that if I were in a positive where I could, I would. (I saw a old documentary of a family in Vancouver who adopted a child from Russia (“From Russia, With love”), and it opened my eyes up to how expensive it is L)
Anyway, I would suggest this book to others for sure. I loved that the book was embedded with words, and their translations in the back of the book. Some of the words were already known to me as my friend J has helped to bridge that for me, though not as much as I should. I still get names of certain food groupings mixed up >_< But regardless, you can refer back to the end of the book for translations. I only looked at them in the end, as I was so absorbed into the novel to bother to stop for a second to look back. I read it straight through, only pausing for bathroom breaks, and even then, only because I had to, or else.
If you are interested in it, I put a hold at the Toronto Public Library, and received it in less than a week. So always a good way to go. Then you can zip in, get your book, and zip back out :) Otherwise if you have an e-reader, you can check it out HERE (TPL Ebook library).