Read Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda Online


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.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 hauntSomer'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.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....

Title : Secret Daughter
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780061922312
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 339 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Secret Daughter Reviews

  • K
    2018-11-09 20:32

    Meh. Not a bad story, but too superficially rendered for my taste.Kavita, a poor village woman, has just given birth to an infant daughter she names Usha. Terrified that her husband will murder the daughter because she's a girl, she journeys to Mumbai to place Usha in an orphanage. Meanwhile, Somer and Krishnan, a California couple struggling with infertility, decide to adopt an Indian orphan and end up with Usha. The book follows the twists and turns in these characters' lives as Kavita and her family experience changes of location and fortune and Somer and Krishnan raise Usha (whom they call Asha) who eventually seeks her roots in India.There were moments in this book which resonated and smacked of psychological complexity. Somer initially finds it difficult to bond with her new infant; Kavita comes to appreciate her husband despite his flaws; Kavita's husband eventually regrets and examines his zealousness to get rid of his infant daughter. But for the most part, the story was told in a way that seemed almost rushed as it spanned two decades. I didn't feel that I got to know any of the characters; the vicissitudes in their relationships and fortunes passed me by without my getting caught up in them. Where I often find myself complaining about the slow pacing in books, this was a case where the rapidity with which events unfolded precluded my feeling anything about them.It wasn't a bad book, but the fact that it could have been so much better than it was made for a disappointing reading experience. Not to mention the high goodreads rating and Amazon's placing it on a list of 100 Best Books of 2010.

  • Tea Jovanović
    2018-11-18 16:16

    Još jedna od predivnih "indijskih" priča koja nas upoznaje s nama manje poznatim činjenicama iz indijske kulture i života... Šta znači roditi se kao žensko dete u indijskoj siromašnoj porodici... A s druge strane, večita bolna tema mnogih porodica koje ne mogu da imaju decu... Sudari dve kulture, indijske i američke i topla životna priča jedne devojčice... Nisam zanesena jogom, religijom i ostalim čudima Indije ali obožavam romane indijskih autora ili romane koji govore o Indiji... egzotičnoj zemlji za nas Evropljane... :) Toliko mi se dopala knjiga da sam i najvećeg latinoameričkog izdavača "naterala" da kupi prava naslepo (bez prethodnog čitanja)... :)

  • Jacquie
    2018-11-21 14:27

    SPOILERSThis novel proudly boasts a #1 Canadian Bestseller sticker. I personally can't understand why.In 1984, an Indian woman named Kavita gives birth to a baby girl. Fearful that her husband, Jasu, will dispose of this baby the same way he did to their first daughter, Kavita and her sister deliver this baby to an orphanage in Bombay, but tell Jasu that the baby died in the night. A year later Somer and Krishnan Thakker, an American-Indian couple, adopt the baby and bring her home to California. Kavita mourns for her secret daughter even while raising her third child, the long-awaited son, and while learning to accept her husband for who he is. The baby, named Asha, grows up to be a promising journalist, and wins an internship with a major newspaper in India, so she travels to her country of birth for the first time and lives with her father's family, who are strangers to her. She of course seeks out her birth parents, but she never meets them face-to-face, finally coming to accept that her adopted family has given her everything she needs. This book should have been a powerful and emotional read. True, it sheds light on the complexities of family, as well as the terrible living conditions that many Indians suffer. However, any child growing up in twenty-first century North America should be somewhat aware of the devastating contrast between living in India and living in North America. Asha isn't. Though her adoptive mother's surpression of her daughter's Indian heritage can be blamed for some of her ignorance, this young woman is a budding journalist. Should she not have some global awareness of international issues, especially those that relate to the country in which she works? It is hard to be patient with her as she slowly matures through the time she spends in India. When she finally comes around, it almost feels too late.I felt the same frustration with Somer. The character is instantly unlikeable, ignorant and dismissive of her husband's heritage. Any sympathy the reader feels for her struggles with infertility are instantly erased when she arrives in Indian and labels the men "disgusting pigs". Perhaps it is because I read this book immediately after reading THE LOST GIRLS, in which the authors are open-minded to every type of person they encounter, but I could not tolerate Somer's prejudice. She, like her daughter, experiences an epiphany in the error of her ways, but she is in her mid-fifties at this point, after almost thirty years married to an Indian man. It is much too late.I could go on about my thoughts on the other characters, but I don't want to drag this out. Besides, every reader should form his or her unbiased opinion. I unfortunately found every character two-dimensional and unrealistic... something I did not expect in a novel which receives such high praise and has such an intriguing plot.

  • Shayantani Das
    2018-11-03 21:08

    Such a beautiful story!! Kavita and Jasu are a poor but loving couple living in the rural town of Dhanau, India. In a society that favors boys and considers girls as a burden, Kavita has to give up her daughter to an orphanage, to protect her life. Meanwhile another couple from America, Somer and Krishnan can’t have a baby and decide to adopt, connecting the lives of these two very different couples separated by thousand of miles. And thus begins this really touching tale of their lives and the daughter who binds them. There are numerous things that could have gone wrong with this story. It could have turned out into one of those Bollywood family movies, filled with melodrama and tears and an over sweetened “happily ever after”. Or it could have got really preachy and irritating. But somehow, the author created a beautiful balance between all the factors to give us this amazing story.What I really loved about this book was that every character was allowed to present its point of view. Jasu wasn’t made out to be this really evil villain, free of any kind of remorse for the mistake he committed. The society, the mindset, which views girls as a burden, was well portrayed. India was neither glorified nor overly ridiculed. In fact, the author has painted a very true picture of this country. Truly, it is a land of many contradictions.The story also has one of the best ending I have read recently. (view spoiler)[Somer discovering herself before reconciling with her family, Asha understanding the sacrifices her mother made for her, and Kavita and Jasu discovering their love for each other. It just couldn't have been better. (hide spoiler)]How beautifully she wrapped up the whole story. It really gave you closure, and that nice giddy feeling you get after reading a nice book. I remember smiling for a very long time after finishing it. Truly amazing. Can’t wait to read other books the author writes after such a stunning debut.5 sparkling stars and highly recommended, especially for Jhumpa Lahiri fans!! :D

  • Tara Chevrestt
    2018-11-20 18:08

    This is a story that beautifully and creatively tackles many controversial issues. Between Somer and Krishnan, we have an interracial marriage. (Issue one) Krishnan, an Indian man and Somer, a caucasian woman, think nothing of the difference in their cultures until a trip to India shows Somer the world from which Krishnan comes from. She does a double take and wonders how well she really knows her husband. Issue two: motherhood. Somer wants to have a baby so bad but her body does not agree with her. After adopting a little girl, Asha from India, she begins to wonder if some women just aren't meant for motherhood. Can she do this? Can she love and understand a child that does not come from her own womb?Issue three is foreign adoption. Asha grows up questioning her parentage. What is her homeland like? Who are her real parents? When reading her parts, readers witness the daily inner turnmoil an adopted child faces, the feeling of being unwanted, the questions, the being "stuck" between two cultures. Where do I belong?Issue four and possibly the biggest issue of all is the practice of killing young baby daughters in India. The poor do not want daughters because they can't work in the fields and require a dowry later in life. How many tiny, unmarked graves are scattered throughout India?Also addressed is the Indian caste system. While watching Asha grow up in America with all the spoils of American children, readers all see what is going on in the other side of the world with Asha's biological parents as they stuggle to make a life in Bombay, to rise above oppression and try and try again to "step up" a class or two. Will making ends meet be enough? Thru their eyes, we see the slums of India, the drugs, the gangs. When a grown Asha heads to India for a year, she has many questions and no answers. Will she leave India with answers and if so, will they be the answers she wants? Will she find her biological parents or will all these people go thru their lives without meeting? An even stronger question is: Can either mother let go? A beautiful story closely following the lives of four very different people. I found myself thinking of these people even when I wasn't reading the book. I especially enjoyed the in depth look at life in India. It beats watching an espisode of Taboo anyday. Highly recommended.

  • Patty
    2018-11-12 19:36

    There's been a lot of buzz about this book but I found it to be an airport paperback tarted up as literature. In India a poor woman hands her daughter over to an orphanage rather then risk her being killed (as daughters aren't valued). In America, a physician and her India-born doctor husband decide to adopt a daughter (the abandoned girl) when attempts to conceive a child fail. The author bounces back and forth between the two mothers and while the tale of the Indian woman who overcomes grinding poverty to have a son and a decent marriage is interesting for its insight into Indian life, the chapters about the American couple make them seem like whiners (motherhood is hard! children change a marriage!) There's a bit of tension when the grown daughter goes to India to work and look for her birth parents but this book suffers from having being read on the heels of Audrey Niffenegger whose prose was so descriptive and other-worldly. I don't find Shilpi Somaya Gowda to be a particularly good writer. She resorts to cliches and this is more aptly described as a 'beach book.'

  • Doreen
    2018-11-19 13:13

    Once again I find myself in the minority regarding a book that is a best seller and has remained so for some time. I read somewhere in a review that the author did not think that the book was ready but she was encouraged by the publisher to proceed. I have to agree that I think it was not ready and that the writing is not that of a mature author. For me, many of the characters are so poorly developed and very shallow. Are we too believe that Somer who is highly educated would give so little thought to all the major events of her life?? Marriage to someone from another culture, transcultural adoption, modifying her career path and on... very frustrating. The men are given very little attention which has mentioned many times elsewhere. The most enjoyable parts and well written parts are those set in India which also focus on Kavita and later Asha her daughter who returns and discovers her roots and family.People who have adopted have come down on both sides regarding this book. For me as an adoptive parent it just doesn't cut it.

  • Pamela
    2018-11-12 17:17

    Emotionally impacting, culture intense, and intricately engaging. Secret Daughter is a tightly written, realistic novel exploring family dynamics in relation to infertility, adoption, economics, poverty/wealth, and mixed culture relationships; moreover, it's a novel exploring the complexities of the unique cords forever binding (in one form or another) mothers and daughters - daughters and mothers. "Sometimes, as she has well learned in life, one's actions must precede the emotions one hopes to feel."Nature vs nurture. What exactly drives us to be who we are? Like what we like? Do what we do? As an adoptee, myself, those types of questions burned through my mind from adolescence onward, just as they did for Kavita's daughter and Somer's daughter. Along with other questions, too: Who do I look like? Where are my people from? Why did my mother and father give me away? Was I a financial burden? Sickly? Or simply an inconvenience? Or were my parents deemed unfit, or too young, or scandalously unmarried? And why, when I pose these questions to my adopted mother, does she respond so vehemently defensive, vague, and obtuse; as if wounded and rejected, herself."It's just not fair . . . I've spent sixteen years not knowing, sixteen years asking questions nobody can answer. I just don't feel like I really belong, in this family or anywhere. It's like a piece of me is always missing. Don't you understand that?"Gowda provides readers with viewpoints, nuances, and idiosyncrasies from both sides of the adoption coin, as well as the culture coin - Indian and American. As this richly heartfelt story unfolds, she takes readers into the hearts of three main characters (Kavita, Somer, Asha) - in addition to a few key support characters - through their distinct voices, hearts, worldviews, hopes, dreams, faiths, doubts, fears, joys, and cultures. We discover: the cord that binds the heart of mother and child, can reach across a thousand miles and may never to be broken; stretched thin, perhaps; frayed and faded, a bit; but never fully broken. I can't think of a more perfect book I could have read after my recent reunion with my sister, Sherrie Miller. My beautiful, bodacious, birth sister! After fifty-three years of separation, having no clue where on earth I genetically originated from, I finally identified and found all my maternal birth siblings. (See Hanna Family Tree in my photos - aren't we a lovely bunch???) It has been a joyous, overwhelming and exiting experience connecting with my birth family - in addition to remaining connected to my wonderful adopted sister too. The characters and storyline in Gowda's novel, didn't really mirror my adoption/reunion experience. But what story does? Everyone's story is uniquely their own. That's one of the joys of reading: to gain understanding and appreciation for each others similarities and differences. Whether or not you or someone you know has been touched by adoption, gender selection, infertility, or mixed marriage/relationships, this is a novel that can be read and absorbed and genuinely felt by most all. The story is engaging and clearly communicated. Gowda richly painted Indian culture depicting the many complex facets of economics, living centers, family dynamics, faith, beliefs, customs, and language. I found the glossary in the back ever so helpful. The characters and dialogue come across as genuine. The story-line didn't bog down in trivialities or meander needlessly hither and yon; however, it did jump around a bit and lag somewhat mid book. And some chapters felt a bit cut off. As if the word count was too long and that was the quickest way to prune???? Appreciatively though, Gowda didn't fabricated a "Disney" ending; nor did she turn it into a total Shakespearean tragedy, either. Overall, a highly recommendable novel to fans of realistic contemporary fiction who embrace family dramas and/or enjoy exploring world cultures, women's issues, adoption, and mother/daughter relationships. FOUR **** Engaging and Heartfelt - Family/Culture/Identity Fusion **** STARS

  • Наталия Янева
    2018-11-01 14:14

    Търсенето на себе си винаги таи някаква притегателна сила. Даже понякога си мисля, че ако хората знаеха кои са, без да полагат усилие за това, животът им би бил доста безцелен. А хората обичат добрите неразказани истории. Дори да са техните собствени. Особено ако са техните собствени. „Изгубената дъщеря“ ме разтърси на няколко равнища. Сама по себе си историята е относително класически низ от невъзможни събития и съвпадения (или поне надвишаващи средностатистическата вероятност) с хора, чиито животи се усукват един с друг и овързват неразплитаеми възли. Има го и онзи момент на разминаване между персонажите, в който читателят си казва „Ей, за малко щяха да се улучат“. Най-ценното на тази книга обаче е, че успявате да зърнете двете лица на Индия. Запознавате се отблизо с един от най-големите бедняшки квартали в света – Дхарави, който преди е бил блато с мангрови дървета, заселено от рибари. В наши дни там живеят около милион души на площ от около 2000 кв.км. Хората се тъпчат в мръсни колиби с пръстен под, трябва да се редиш на опашка, за да си налееш вода сутрин и сметището е общо взето навсякъде около теб. Болестите, мръсотията и мизерията принуждават обитателите на гетото да живеят като животни и да мрат като мухи. А, и още нещо:„На другата сутрин Джазу се върна от опашката за вода с новина за полицейската акция, очевидно нещо обичайно в басти. Един съсед му бе казал, че полицията търсела човек, който бил заподозрян, че краде от фабриката, където работел. Макар че разбудили десетки други семейства, те не намерили заподозрения у дома му. Но намерили петнайсетгодишната му дъщеря. А после я изнасилили пред очите на майка ѝ и малките ѝ братчета, докато съседите слушали, разтреперани от страх“.Индия обаче има и друга страна. В нея семейството е свещено и е единица, еднакво значима с отделния човек. Храната е издигната в култ, приготвянето ѝ е почти обредно действие, а изяждането ѝ е повод за събиране на рода и празник. Обществото е патриархално, но не само в онзи смисъл, в който жената покорно се подчинява на нарежданията на мъжа – той е и готов да направи всичко за семейството си. Културата на Индия е разточителна, а хората ѝ намират спокойствие и в религиозното общение и спазването на ритуали. Индия си е самодостатъчна. Ненапразно индийците се придържат към своята култура и гледат своите си филми, а Кавита дори изказва подозрение към странната развръзка в някаква западна боза, просто защото не ѝ се струва логична, смислена. Сред ярките цветове на саритата, традиционните музика и танци, Западът изглежда блудкав. Нещо като оная реплика в „Аватар“ (единственото смислено от целия филм впрочем) – „They're not gonna give up their home. They're not gonna make a deal. For what? A light beer and blue jeans? There's nothing that we have that they want“.Накратко – много ще харесате части от Индия и ще се отвратите от други, но тя определено ще ви замисли и няма да ви остави равнодушни.

  • Omnia
    2018-10-21 14:35

    Watching so many Bollywood hits, I never saw India as I saw her through the eyes of the writer. She has the ability to take you into her world in such a captivating way; making you see all the negatives and the positives of her Homeland, and finally you have nothing but fall in love with this rich and contradicting country.Shilpi Gowda managed to discuss fatal subjects through her book in a smooth and endearing way. With her rich characters she goes through Poverty, Identity, Motherhood, Traditions, Love, Marital Relationships, Loss, Hope, Family and Adoption. She managed to put fair light on each character showing thier good and bad sides equally without being judgemental.With her warm way she suceeded to show us how "Jasu" blammed himself for the loss of his daughters,for his failure to provide for his family and protect his son, in one of the greatest chapters of the book, making us see he was not such a cold heart afterall.There was also some moments in the book when she could perfectly transfer the idea of contradiction by showing two Indias (the poor one and the rich one) through the marvelous comparison between the luxurious wedding and life in the slums.Last night when I reached the last pages of this book, I felt so sad to leave this world behind that I was so taken with.The story is touching, warm and I highly recommend it

  • Barbara
    2018-10-25 21:20

    Shout out to GR friend Pamela who steered me to this wonderful novel. I hadn’t heard of it before she reviewed it. What a story! Author Shilpi Somaya Gowda did her research in learning the Indian Cultures and the amazing disparity of cultures and languages within India. For example, I didn’t realize there are twenty-one major languages in India, as well as English. Although there is significant wealth in India, there is also major poverty and backward customs. Female infanticide was rampant just decades ago, and still occurs today. This is an emotional novel that is full of cultural information. I truly enjoyed learning about India, although much was disturbing.The story is told from the perspectives of three major characters: Kavita, an impoverished Indian woman who needs to give up her daughter to save her; Somer, a California woman who marries an Indian man and learns she is infertile; and Asha, the daughter Kavita gave up who was adopted by Somer and her husband. The heart of the novel is each woman’s growth in perspective. The greatest growth was in Asha and Somer. Asha, being adopted, struggled with her identity. She loves her parents, but has curiosity about her birth parents. All her struggles she deems to be the result of her parents not understanding her; she thinks her birth parents would understand her better. Somer wants to be the perfect mother and fears her daughter’s independence, which strains her marriage. I enjoy this technique of showing the different perspectives because the reader is able to understand well-meaning actions that are perceived differently. Author Gowda writes all her characters as flawed, yet well meaning. It’s a beautiful story of growth.Gowda used Kavita to illuminate some of the poverty conditions of India and how that affects living choices. Kavita’s story shows the struggles of the impoverished to work them up from poverty, while trying to be good people.This is a wonderful story that describes the conflicting feelings of adopted children and the fears of the adoptive parents. And it’s a beautiful story of family: what makes a family. A beautiful quote from the novel: At some point, the family you create is more important than the one you’re born into. For Adoptive families, this rings true. It’s a great read.

  • kim
    2018-10-30 13:34

    Wonderful book! If this is the author's first novel, I can't wait to read her second! I won the book through the First Reads giveaway here at Goodreads, and as soon as I did, I went to the authors website and read the first few pages in the preview! After just the first chapter, I was hooked!The story is centered around the 'secret daughter' Asha/Usha. She is born the 2nd daughter of Kavita, an Indian woman who lost her 1st daughter immediately after birth to infanticide. She is determined the 2nd daughter will live and travels many miles to an orphanage.In the meantime, Somar, an American woman married to an Indian man, suffers 2 miscarriages and learns she will never have a biological child. They adopt Asha, and the story proceeds from there. Somar has troubles with the cultural differences between India and the United States, and constantly worries that she will lose Asha to her biological mother. Asha wonders about her birth parents and who she really is. Krishnan, Somar's husband, balances missing his family and India with adopting American culture. There are unspoken fears, resentments and questions. Read the book! It's a good read.

  • Elaine
    2018-11-11 20:23

    For most of the book I thought I would give it a three but it has been a long time since I cried at the end of the book.The following are facts from the book, not a review!The struggle for women's rights in India: infanticide of baby girls, dowry deaths, bride burning, sex selective abortions.Bride-burning is a form of domestic violence practiced in India .It is not the same as ancient and long abolished (formally abolished in 1829) custom of Sati, where widowed women were forcefully placed on a burning pyre of the dead husband (usually a man in his old age) and burnt to death.This has been treated as culpable homicide and if proven, is punishable accordingly (mostly up to death sentence or life imprisonment) According to Indian National Crime Record Bureau, there were 1,948 convictions and 3,876 acquittals in dowry death cases in 2008.Accounts for around 600-750 deaths per year in India alone. In 1995 Time Magazine reported that dowry deaths in India increased from around 400 a year in the early 1980s to around 5,800 a year by the middle of the 1990s. A year later CNN ran a story saying that every year police receive more than 2,500 reports of bride burning.Dowry deaths are the deaths of young women who are murdered or driven to suicide by continuous harassment and torture by husbands and in-laws in an effort to extort an increased dowry. Dowry deaths are reported in various South Asian countries such as India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Dowry death is considered one of the many categories of violence against women in South Asia. According to Indian National Crime Record Bureau, there were 1948 convictions and 3876 acquittals in dowry death cases in year 2008.Most dowry deaths occur when the young woman, unable to bear the harassment and torture, commits suicide. Most of these suicides are by hanging, poisoning or by fire. Sometimes the woman is killed by setting her on fire; this is known as "bride burning", and sometimes disguised as suicide or accident.Mother India does not love all her children equally. Girls are killed or put in orphanages. Males now pay to bring a bride from Bangladesh.How much wrongness can you tolerate?Partition-1947. Acompanied the independence from the British empire.division of the country into India and Pakistan, Hindu and Muslim. Families forced to move.Ganish-- remover of obstacles. Place at the door of a home as a welcome.India-A five star pile of contradictions!Indian widows wear white to their husband's funeral and it is a tradition to wear white for the rest of their lives.To lose a mother is to become "unmoored"Diwali-commemoration of the battle of Lord Rama. A celebration of the triumph of good over evi. Festival of Lights.

  • Sue
    2018-11-11 14:32

    Secret Daughter is a story about people and the paths their lives take. The characters are real,interesting, flawed, and you care about them. At the same time, Somaya Gowda manages to paint an extraordinarily rich portrait of modern India – the sharp contrast between its poverty and wealth, its traditions and culture. I feel I’ve experienced something of India although I’ve never been there. Shilpi Somaya Gowda has written a captivating first novel about the meaning of family, motherhood, adoption, the search for self and cultural identity. She tells the story of Asha from birth to early twenties through her own voice, that of her Indian biological mother, Kavita, and that of her American adoptive mother, Somer. I would highly recommend reading this novel.

  • Nancy
    2018-11-10 20:25

    Not a bad book but, at one point, when changing the POV yet again, it felt like it was lurching along, perhaps because the story jumped back and forth across the world combined with some large jumps in time. I think the author knew where she wanted to go but the long timeline and the multiple interior stories she wanted to tell were too much for the book. Initially, there was little opportunity to become engaged with the characters as the time jumps meant that almost every time you read their next POV they were a different person in a different scenario. Once the story settled with 20-year-old Asha things smoothed out a bit and you had the chance to get to know the characters a bit better, but only a bit because there just wasn't that much room left in the book, and simply not enough depth to the characters to become invested in them.I think there were two books in this novel, 1) an adoption story of contrasts and family and 2)an adoption story of finding identity and wholeness. Both stories were short-changed in this book, not for lack of ability on the part of the author, just too much story for one book-club-sized book.

  • Irene
    2018-11-03 18:18

    An infant daughter is left at a Mumbai orphanage because the family is too poor to raise her. An infertile Indian-American couple, both doctors, adopt her providing her with opportunities and affection. The chapters alternate between Asha’s life in California and her brother’s life in Mumbai. This is an often told story, siblings separated at birth, one to a life of privilege the other to a life of deprivation. This is an unremarkable theme told with unremarkable prose falling into cliché whenever the opportunity permits.

  • Sheziss
    2018-11-11 14:30

    I had read half the book and when my American teacher left, so I was glad I didn't have to finish it. Seriously boring, but she was a nice person, so I tried it for her. Phew.

  • Fahime
    2018-11-14 14:23

    الان هیجان زده تر از اون هستم که ریویو بنویسم. فقط اینکه خیلی قشنگ بود، خیلی.

  • ☮Karen
    2018-11-20 16:09

    Book club read #5 April 1 2017. From the "A stunning debut novel that explores the emotional terrain of motherhood, loss, identity and culture, witnessed through the lives of two families, one Indian, one American, and the daughter who indelibly binds them."My book club absolutely loved this and thought it our best read yet. I was odd one out, as I was bothered by the changing points of view and the up-in-the-air ending. I liked her second book more and gave it 3 stars too, so this one is probably more like a 2.5 for me. Recommended if you are interested in India life, juxtaposed against life in America for interacial families.

  • Myrna
    2018-11-09 19:25

    Great parallel stories of an American woman and Indian woman connected by one child. It was enjoyable to learn a bit about the Indian culture with the author's vivid descriptions. Many topics are touched in this novel such as adoption, self-discovery, and what truly makes a family. The ending was emotional. It will stay with me.

  • Alison DeLory
    2018-11-12 14:13

    Do you ever find a book unavoidable? Your mom is reading it, your friends are reading it, there's chatter about it on Facebook, and strangers on the bus are poring through it? Secret Daughter was such a book for me so when I saw it on a shelf in Buy the Book, my local used bookstore, I picked it up. The bookseller even chimed in with, "Great choice. It's a terrific book." My expectations were high–slightly too high in the end.In Secret Daughter, author Shilpi Somaya Gowda juxtaposes the stories of two women struggling against circumstances beyond their control.First we meet Kavita, a young woman in a rural India who gives birth to a girl. Her husband Jasu is a poor farmer. He only wants a baby boy who can contribute to, rather than drain, the family's meagre resources. With the threat of infanticide looming (in the horrifying opening scene we learn Jasu had the couple's firstborn girl killed), Kavita flees with the baby and leaves her at an orphanage in Mumbai before returning home.Next we meet Californian Somer (the cheesy name fits), who seems to lead a charmed existence. She's ambitious, privileged and married to charming Krishnan, whom she met in medical school. But after a series of miscarriages, Somer learns she's infertile so despite her many other accomplishments, she feels unfulfilled.The stage is set. Somer and Krishnan return to his native Mumbai and adopt Kavita's baby. (Don't worry. All this is so obvious from the start I'm not giving anything away.) The plot from there examines the clash between American and Indian culture in both countries. It also examines themes of loss, longing, forgiveness and acceptance in mainly predictable yet believable ways. The problem is not in the storyline so much as how it is told. Here is a story loaded with potential I didn't feel was realized. The writing never sung for me; I didn't once stop to reread a sentence simply because of how beautifully it was structured. I would describe the writing style as: this happened, then that happened, then something else happened, which resulted in this. At the end the characters are enlightened and reflective, but it is too little, too late.I don't regret having read Secret Daughter. It is a quick read but like a quick snack, it didn't leave me feeling full. I wasn't able to forgive Jasu for ordering his firstborn girl murdered, although the author treated him sympathetically. I never fell in love with either main character, especially Somer. She struck me as privileged and her disdain for Indian culture was stereotypical. Her eventual awakening coincides with her taking up yoga, which seemed like a cliché.The author, an Indo-Canadian/American, draws upon her heritage effectively to compare the different wedding customs, marriage, food, grooming and parenting norms in each culture. She also examines life in the infamous Mumbai slum Dharavi, and the declining birth rates of Indian girls compared with boys beginning in the 1980s due to widespread infanticide and the introduction of ultrasound technology (which led to the abortion of many female fetuses).So while there were parts of this book that held my attention and while I understand its appeal, the reading experience, for me, was like eating a chapati when I craved spicy paneer.

  • Cori Reed
    2018-11-05 18:14

    3.5 Stars

  • Ameena
    2018-11-11 14:22

    If I had a dollar for every moment I’ve wasted time playing the “what if” game, I could retire rich and read fabulous books all day long. And how wonderful would that be?But since that will never happen, allow me to share a few of the many questions I preoccupy myself with:What if my father hadn’t been fortunate enough to escape India for America? Is it possible that I would have been born into poverty and lived a very different life? What if, when I was born, my dad decided he couldn’t afford a daughter and he left me at an orphanage? Where would I be now? Or, what if he’d found a clinic that performed gender identification ultrasounds?Is it possible that I wouldn’t exist at all?Secret Daughter explores many of life’s “what -ifs.” This is the story of two families who – due to both necessity and survival – make decisions that affect them for the rest of their lives. Author Gowda writes this book from several points of view, including those of a birth mother and an adoptive mother who have nothing in common except that they fight to love a daughter they’ve both won and lost.This story is also from the point of view of the daughter in question – Asha – who is pulled in so many directions and ultimately finds that what she was looking for was right under her nose the entire time.From the character driven chapter structure to the honest writing; from the admirable characters to the difficult life choices – this book is nothing short of phenomenal. The reader can’t help but be drawn to the characters as they battle their own demons and insecurities, as they struggle to relate and survive, and as they fight to hold on to what little they have.Most importantly, however, is the fact that the shocking plight of the people we pretend don’t exist will touch, fascinate, amaze, and inspire those of us who are fortunate enough to read this beautiful book.Bottom Line: The only thing wrong with this book is the fact that author Shilpi Somaya Gowda has set the bar so high with her debut novel that I fear nothing I write will ever come close.

  • Janice
    2018-10-27 16:36

    I would like to give this 2-1/2 stars.Secret Daughter was an okay read. It was fairly innocuous. I thought that the author played safe with the subject matter she wrote about.The themes were:infanticide of girl babies in India;extreme poverty in India;mother/daughter relationships;adoption;interractial relationships...The author could have really pulled at my heartstrings. Instead, it was more like reading a Harlequin romance without the romance.This book would have made a great series. The first book could have delved into the issue of infanticide with Kavita as the main character. The second book would have focused on Somer and Kris with interracial relationships. The third book, told from Asha's point of view could have delved into how she felt as an adopted child searching for her birth mother and for her place in the world. Another book could have explored the abject poverty of the slums and told by Asha's brother. Yes, that's what I have decided. Turn the book into a series of books, flesh out the characters more, provide more descriptive language, and really explore the issues instead of just skimming over the surface.

  • Jennifer
    2018-11-05 13:11

    This was an easy read that I finished in a couple of days. I love stories that are about mixing cultures and this was exactly that. I was frustrated with the mother, Somer, as I just can't understand being so closed to a culture. Especially one that her desperately wanted daughter comes from. I'm not sure those two aspects of the story made sense. She almost let her infertility ruin her and yet when she finally adopted a child she didn't embrace the child's history. I know there was an attempt to explain it within the story but I'm not sure I bought it. Having said that, the image we were given of India was very real and authentic which I loved. The description of how women actually do have a certain power in the culture was a refreshing change. The rich descriptions of India from the poverty to the importance of family and tradition to the frustrating limits to success made me devour those pages. This book should be on every "Light Reads" list for those who want more than teen lit or ditzy girl/woman fluff. Enjoy!

  • Esil
    2018-11-02 14:10

    This book really pulled me in. I had the good fortune of being able to read most of it on a long plane ride, so I didn't have to put it down. I liked the two parallel stories and how they were interwoven. To me, the only obvious flaw was that the character of the American mother seemed a bit pat and superficial. The idea of looking through the eyes of an American woman married to a man who immigrated to the US from India as a young adult was interesting, but the perspective lacked the subtlety of some of the other characters (including the husband). Still, I am looking forward to more books by this author.

  • Angela Haygood
    2018-10-22 16:11

    This was a rich deep story of and loss. This is a must read!

  • Kate Olson
    2018-11-16 20:12

    Loved this story of adoption, family, international travel and India!For read alikes, try these:The Leavers by Lisa KoThe Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa SeeA House for Happy Mothers by Amulya Maladi

  • DubaiReader
    2018-11-05 20:13

    An excellent read.I really enjoyed this well balanced novel - set in both India and America, it is narrated by several of the characters but never becomes confusing or dull. Many complex issues are covered, including adoption from third world countries into affluent Western families and the extreme poverty that can force a family to dispose of female offspring. I found the issues sensitively handled throughout and admit to crying towards the end. (The sure sign of a good book!).There are several main characters who all form part of the narrative; Kavita and Jasu from a poverty stricken area of India, and American Somer and her Indian husband Krishnan from San Fransisco and California.Their daughter Usha/Asha binds the future of the two families when she is adopted and moved to US.The journey that Kavita and Jasu make to Bombay, to search for their hope of a better life, was an eye opener, and the wealthy family that Krishnan comes from was also interesting, with the matriach, Dadima holding everything together.There were some interesting contrasts - the slum life of Mumbai vs the riches of America, and the strength of the arranged marriages in India vs the stresses of modern life on the love matches of the West. It certainly provided food for thought.Although the overall feel of the book was that the women were frequently the stronger characters, the men also played a vital role but their characters had less chance to speak.I was fascinated to read that the author spent a summer as a volunteer in an Indian orphanage; being of Indian descent and living in America, I felt that it was a book written from the heart.Certainly an author I will read again.Recommended.

  • Elizabeth☮
    2018-11-18 18:30

    i found this story interesting. there are two families that we follow. one family - kavita, jasu and their son vijay - live in mumbai. when kavita gives birth to two girls before vijay, one is taken away by her husband jasu the moment the baby is declared a girl and the other is put into an orphanage. kavita lives her life mourning both losses. drs. krishnan and somer adopt asha from a mumbai orphange. this asha is kavita's baby. the story takes place over a course of twenty years or so and we follow kavita's story and somer's story. and then asha's story. it is interesting to see the clash of cultures (american and indian) that takes place between somer and her in-laws. it is also interesting to get a look at the various classes in india. some portions of the book felt pushed along a bit too quickly, but i found it to be a satisfying read.