Karma's Reviews > Secret Daughter

Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
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's review
Sep 16, 2012

really liked it
Read in September, 2012

This is a story about mothers; the sacrifices made, the worries, the joys, and the art of allowing our children to leave us. I loved the begining, I loved the end - but there were places in the middle that I felt like slapping Somer; she was so selfish and whiny!! I loved Kavita's character, she embodied a woman who loved her husband (I will never understand how she loved him after what he did), had faith in him, and built him up into the man he became because of her patience and faith. Compared to how Somer treated Krishnan and her disregard for his culture and heritiage. I think we could all learn something from Kavita about being a good wife.

I was a little shocked by the similarities between this story and Khaled Husseini's writing (A Thousand Splendid Suns). I know India is right there near Afhganistan but I was still so surprised by how poorly women are valued. I had a very good friend in college, Naseem. She was born and raised in India. Her marriage was arranged. She and her husband were both very well educated and came to Idaho after their first daughter was born. She was the most elegant, articulate, graceful woman I have ever known - not to mention the best cook ever!!! Her husband was so sweet to her (I used to spend the night in their home several times a month with my little daughter so we could study and then drive back to school together). I have the hardest time reconciling what I read in this story with this woman I so admire. I think the devision between poor and wealthy (Naseem obviously came from wealth) must also mirror the devision between how women are valued.

I wish the author had gone into more detail about Asha's final story about the women in Dharavi. The author hinted at how the story grew into one about the resiliance and love of mothers - the difference between those women in the slum with a smile on their faces versus those with despair but she didn't quite give me enough of that story. To me that is the real point of the entire book - finding the hope around us, even when there doesn't appear to be any! I have been humbled by this book! I am faced with the questions - could I find the hope in Dharavi? Do I have that sort of strength? Am I Somer or Kavita? Why was I born here and blessed with so much while so many are born into the squalor of Dharavi? Today I am acutely grateful to my Father in Heaven for the life I have been given! May I hold onto this feeling!
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