I loved Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda. This is a story of an American woman, Somer, who desperately wants to have a child and finds out she is unable to. At the same time it is also the story of a poor woman in India, Kavita, who gives birth to a little girl and decides for the safety of the little girl she must give her away. There is also the story of that little girl Asha who must discover who she really is. Secret Daughter is told in the perspectives of not only Somer, Kavita, and Asha but also many other family members. I often struggle with books with to many different perspectives because I feel like I never really get to know any of them. But this was not the case with Secret Daughter. Even though there are many perspectives it was done in such a way to enhance my knowing the characters well. I also thought the characters were well developed. There were times I was very frustrated with some of them but they each pulled through their struggles and learned from them and by the end I thought each character was a stronger and better person.
I loved the perspectives I received of a woman who desperately wants a child but is not able to have one. I know women who have gone through this struggle and so I liked reading about it and being able in a tiny way to get a sense of what they go through and feel some of the things they feel. I thought Gowda did a great job in depicting what a woman feels about herself and her role when she is unable to have a child. I also loved gaining the perspective of a mother who wants what is best for her child and so gives her away. The longing that she then feels for the rest of her life and the emptiness of not knowing what ever really becomes of that child. This book spoke so well of the love a family has and the choices made because of that love. Because this book is told in many different perspectives I not only felt what the adopted mother felt and the birth mother but also the child and the questions that she is constantly faced with. I better understood the challenges that come with a marriage between people of very different cultures. I thought Gowda did such a great job of describing the feelings of the characters that I really felt for them and I understood them.
Secret Daughter takes place in America and also in India. I really enjoyed the descriptions of India and learning more about everyday life and culture there. Learning of some of the things that people living in India do to survive was heart wrenching.
I just can’t say enough about a book that left me in tears, that taught me what it feels like to go through challenges associated with adoptions, that taught me about a culture different than my own and taught me about the love of family.