Secret Daughter


Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Pub: 2010

An American doctor and her Indian husband adopt a girl from a Mumbai orphanage, who later travels to India in order to learn about her heritage and search for her birth parents.

At some point, the family you create is more important than the one you were born into.

This book reminded me a lot of Together Tea and A Thousand Splendid Suns.  Fans of those novels and others like it will likely enjoy the East-meets-West contrasts and insights into Indian culture that ran throughout this book.  The struggles that the poor of India — particularly women and girls — are faced head-on in this novel, with commendably blunt honesty.

Stylistically, there were some things about this book that detracted from my enjoyment of it, which some readers may not mind (or even notice!) — the greatest of which was the verb tense, which constantly jumped back and forth from present to past as people recalled whole scenes that happened days, months, or even years earlier — these constant flashbacks made the plot seem rather second-hand — something that the reader is told has happened, rather than something that we’re able to see for ourselves.  I also really did not care for Somer’s character or story line — I found it difficult to relate to her or understand her motives for the things she did.

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