From the publisher: Somer’s life is everything she imagined it would be—she’s newly married and has started her career as a physician in San Francisco—until she makes the devastating discovery she never will be able to have children.It's no secret that I tend to shy away from "International Bestsellers" or books that the masses adore. It seems that when I read them, I can't seem to share the love. When I came across this book in the thrift store, it sounded interesting . . . different, and I felt like I should give it a go.
The same year in India, a poor mother makes the heartbreaking choice to save her newborn daughter’s life by giving her away. It is a decision that will haunt Kavita for the rest of her life, and cause a ripple effect that travels across the world and back again.
Asha, adopted out of a Mumbai orphanage, is the child that binds the destinies of these two women. We follow both families, invisibly connected until Asha’s journey of self-discovery leads her back to India.
Compulsively readable and deeply touching, Secret Daughter is a story of the unforeseen ways in which our choices and families affect our lives, and the indelible power of love in all its many forms.
I'm so glad I did.
This is the story of two families that live in two very different parts of the world. One family in the US, an expat from India and his American wife. They are doctors, affluent, pretty . . . but infertile. The other family is a poor family living in a village in India. They wanted to start a family, but it has to be the right family. This means having sons. When this family has a daughter, a mother is faced with a life changing, heartbreaking decision that effects them all.
Tied in this gut wrenching story, the story weaves in the truths of gendercide and feticide. That is the killing of a child due to its gender, whether it's after birth or while the baby is still in its mother's womb.
The story sucks you in right from the beginning, tugging on your emotions. It was especially hard for me as a mom, as a mom of a daughter, and someone who believes that every life is precious ad real, even when unborn.
I found myself really in awe at how the author described the American wife. When I lived back home in the US, I never really noticed it. But since living in Canada (while there are MANY similarities, it isn't the same), I have started to notice what the author described. And since I discovered the tv show, House Hunters International, a real estate show that follows families moving and finding homes overseas, I've really noticed it. Americans, generally women, seem to be such snobs! The character of Somer, our America mom in the story, really suck with me. How she was a snob to her husband's family and the different lifestyle of people in India. Even the denial that her own daughter, her adopted daughter from India, is not like her. The desires for her daughter, Asha, to find out who she is and where is she from, unsettles Somer. More so as a mother than as an American woman.
We witness the truths of being a poor family in India. We witness the truths of what is like to be a woman, a daughter and a wife in India.
While we follow the lives of these families for over twenty years, we witness the evolvement of the relationships between husbands ad wives, parents and children, death and birth. The lives of the men in this story was not developed, and I can see that some readers will have some trouble with this. However, I believe the author did this one purpose. This is a story about women. This is a story about mothers.
This is a book that I would highly recommend to all. It is a fast read, each chapter coming from different characters' points of view. If you've thought of picking this one up, please do so soon!
To bring more awareness to gendercide, a documentary indicating that "the three deadliest words in the world . . . 'It's A Girl!'." As I have only viewed the trailer and not the entire documentary, I do have to agree that this a problem worldwide--even in our western first world nations. I came across this article about a month ago. Canadian moms, born in India, see more sons born than daughters. Such a significant amount that it is being noticed.
Title: Secret Daughter
Author: Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Publication Year: 2010
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Personal copy