Sunday, April 3, 2011

Secret Daughter

... by Shilpi Somaya Gowda.

I started reading this one the other night and couldn't put it down. That was a nice change from the other book that I'm still in the middle of reading. It's a story about a girl, Asha, who was adopted from India. The story follows her life, and the lives of both her biological parents and her adoptive parents. Coming from my family, I find the adoption stories interesting.

Kavita and Jasu are her birth parents. They come from a small village in India, and cannot afford to keep a daughter. Asha, or Usha as Kavita called her, was the second daughter that Kavita gave birth to. The first was killed moments after her birth. Kavita cannot live with that horror again, so arranges with her sister to take this one to an orphanage, and tell Jasu that she died in the middle of the night. A year later, Kavita gives birth to a boy, Vijay, and Jasu is overjoyed. The family struggles a lot throughout the next twenty years.

Somer and Krishnan are the adoptive parents. Krishnan, or Kris, is from Bombay and went to the US for medical school, where he met Somer. He had intended on coming home to India to practice with his father, but he chose to stay in the states and start a life with Somer. When they discover that they cannot get pregnant, Kris convinces Somer to adopt a baby girl in India, and they travel over to pick up their new daughter.

Asha grows up, and you see the struggle that she has with feeling like she belongs, and is accepted. She fights with her mom, like a lot of teenage girls do, and feels the need to learn more about India and that part of her history. She moves to India for a year and lives with her paternal grandparents, and searches out her birth family.

I really liked the way they poked around the relationships in this story. I felt that some of it was obviously glossed over, but they got into some real issues that I could identify with. Everything wasn't happy, but it seems that people finally accepted what they were given in life, and learned to be thankful for what they have.

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