Jenny's Reviews > Secret Daughter

Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
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's review
Jan 22, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: read-in-2011

Taken from my blog at

There was a time in my life when I loved reading books about adoption. I actually had a strong interest in adoption and the dynamics it plays in birth and adoptive families. I sort of outgrew that for various reasons, so I initially passed on this book about a family that adopts a daughter from India and thought maybe the story was overdone. But then I read the initial reviews which were all good and reconsidered. Almost immediately after picking up the book I realized I made a good decision to read Secret Daughter after all. I so thoroughly enjoyed this book from the very beginning to the end and thought it brought up interesting topics.

Asha is born in India and taken to the orphanage upon birth. Her mother, Kavita, takes her there in an effort to save her from the fate of the first daughter born to her. Soon-to-be adoptive mother, Somer, is ironically working as a pediatrician when she realizes she will be unable to give birth to her own child. Asha is adopted by Somer and her husband, Krishnan, who happens to also be Indian. The story follows the families as Asha grows up and eventually decides to spend some time in India for herself. The dominant theme throughout the book is motherhood and what it means; it's about the feeling of belonging that we all desire; it's about culture and the differences between the two (Indian and American). The main viewpoints are from the mothers, Somer and Kavita, as well as a little from Krishnan's mother. We also hear from Krishnan, and sometimes the biological father, Jasu.

I loved Secret Daughter and was engrossed in not just the story but the discussion of motherhood and of womanhood, in general. And you don't need to be a mother to enjoy the topic, either, because it's about the different types of mothers out there and is presented in a very universal way. I actually read this book a while ago and am just now getting around to finishing this review so I don't remember as much as I wished I could to write this. But this is definitely a great read and will give you a lot to think or talk about!

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