Friday, June 7, 2013

Review: Secret Daughter

Secret Daughter – Shilpi Somaya Gowder – Harper Collins

The “Facts”:  Paperback, 339 pages, approximately 4 days to finish

Summary: (Taken from Goodreads)

Secret Daughter, a first novel by Shilpi Somaya Gowda, explores powerfully and poignantly the emotional terrain of motherhood, loss, identity, and love through the experiences of two families - one Indian, one American - and the child that binds them together.

A masterful work set partially in the Mumbai slums so vividly portrayed in the hit film Slumdog Millionaire, Secret Daughter recalls the acclaimed novels of Kim Edwards and Thrity Umrigar, yet sparkles with the freshness of a truly exciting new literary voice.

"Moving and thought-provoking and informative and imaginative and beautifully executed.  What a wonderful story!"--Mary Jane Clark

"This book is a must for anyone touched by adoption, or India, or the delicate dynamic between adolescent girls and their mothers."”—--Sujata Massey, author of Shimura Trouble

My Review: 
 I read this book for the first time while pregnant.   Based on other reviews I have read that may have prejudiced my personal opinion of the book.  I don't care.  I LOVED this story.   While I didn't relate on a personal level to Kavita, an Indian Mother who secretly sends her second born daughter to an orphanage to escape infanticide at the hands of her husband, I felt for her.  I mourned for her loss.  My heart broke for this woman, over and over again. 

Meanwhile in America another woman, Somer, longs for a child of her own.  Struggling with infertility.  Again, while I couldn't relate, my heart again broke for this woman as I felt my own child kicking inside me.

This novel jumps back and forth from India to America following the lives of these women.  Somers husband is Indian and they adopt Kavita's secret daughter.  This is how their stories intertwine

Daughter, Asha, curious about her heritage goes to live in India with her father's family.  Her Mother, Somer, doesn't understand their culture and this is a difficult spot for her and her spouse's family.

This is a captivating story with an adequate ending.  I would especially recommend this read to women.

Rating: 4 stars

This book deals with many controversial issues prevalent to undeveloped countries.  These topics may offend some readers.

Jenn C

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