Saturday, September 04, 2010

Secret Daughter

Quite a few months ago, I came across a book during one of my visits to the bookstore. After reading the back cover, I added the title to my list of books to read in my Blackberry and continued on.

I'd see reviews for the book in various magazines and on summer reading lists. I always made a mental note to see if it was in the library, but would then be distracted by my current book(s).

During one of my visits to the library, there was that book again, staring back at me from the shelves. I already had 3 or 4 books in my hand at that point so decided to wait until next time to get it. (Our library is small and I don't usually have to wait more than a week or two to get a book on the off chance that it is out when I want it.)

The next time I went, there it was again, beckoning me, but once again, I had an armful of other books. I left without taking it with me.

Every visit to the library saw me pick up the book, consider it, then put it back on the shelf. I have no idea why I didn't takie it home, when I knew I wanted to read it.

Finally, on my last visit there, I signed out that book and nothing else. From the first page, I was drawn into another world.

Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda was an incredible, touching, thought provoking, heart wrenching read.

From the back cover:

On the eve of the monsoons, in a remote Indian village, Kavita gives birth to a baby girl. But in a culture that favors 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 and her husband for the rest of their lives, 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. When she and her husband, Krishnan, see a photo of the baby with the gold-flecked eyes from a Mumbai orphanage, they are overwhelmed with emotion. Somer knows life will change with the adoption but is convinced that the love they already feel will overcome all obstacles.

Interweaving the stories of Kavita, Somer, and the child that binds both of their destinies, Secret Daughter poignantly explores the emotional terrain of motherhood, loss, identity, and love, as witnessed through the lives of two families-one Indian, one American-and the child that indelibly connects them.

Rarely do I find a book that I can't put down. This was one of them. This passage from the book really sums up the emotion in the book:

"[She] managed to find hope in the most unlikely place. In the midst of the poverty and despair of the slums, she showed the fierceness of a mother's love. And how we're really all the same in that way."

Put this book on your reading list and don't walk past it on the shelves! You won't regret it!


The Tompkins Family said...

I just requested it from my library! I'm 31st in line though so it'll be awhile...

Mary Alex said...

yes..I know It's a great book! I'm from India too..It's a very popular one here..the really serious book lovers swear by it!