25 September 2011

The Secret Daughter; Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Secret DaughterSecret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is one of those culture clash books: India vs. America, and rich India vs. poor India. Told from several different viewpoints, we get to know the characters somewhat more fully if we only had one viewpoint; the twenty-plus year span also gives the characters time to grow and change, which they do in believable ways (not always as easy as it sounds).

My biggest complaint is Asha's search for her birth parents. That she's supposedly intelligent yet somehow completely misses the "boys preferred" aspect to Indian culture (whether or not she was actually living there) surprised me. It's one of the things I was taught in my rather backwards high school Asian history course over 30 years ago. My guess is that the author used this as the device to drive her angst over who she was and where she fit in, but as an adoptee (who has known about her adoption virtually since she was born) it felt false. Far more believable would have been her wanting to explore her Indian side and getting to know her Indian family (which she does) and to leave the adoption part alone. Weaving Kavita and Jasu (and Vijay) into the story could have been done in some other way.

Copy provided by publisher.

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