Shirley Ford's Reviews > The Second Choice

The Second Choice by Lakshmi Menon
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's review
Aug 07, 2012

really liked it
Read in August, 2012

The Second Choice is Lakshmi Menon’s debut novel written in English, which is obvious from the wording. In some ways though this helps to get into the minds of the characters, and does not detract from the story in any way. It offers an insightful picture of family life in India. The family members are polite and deferential to each other, and show the care offered to their elders. It also shows the difficulties some women in India must still have to tolerate; being subservient to their husbands; having to ask their permission to get a job and making decisions for their children.

Pavithra, the main character is forced by circumstances to enter into an arranged second marriage. It is a marriage of convenience for her and her husband, each left with a daughter to bring up. Pavithra suffers many years of loneliness, and suffers at the hands of her difficult step-daughter, but eventually her and her husband Venu begin a marriage in the proper sense of the word, and the step-daughter gradually accepts her as a mother.

A shadowy figure always present in the background is Venu’s disabled first wife, who he has been unable to stop loving. When she begins to make a remarkable recovery it causes problems for the whole family. The ending is difficult to predict, which is good.

An easy read, it stirs the emotions, and women especially will find themselves wondering what they would do if they found themselves in the same situation.

Well done Lakshmi, I look forward to your next novel.

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