I spent some time in a thrift store the other day and came home with a stack of books, including Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda. This book has been getting a lot of buzz lately – it’s a Heather’s Pick at Chapters/Indigo and had an intriguing blurb on the back, so I picked it up for $7.
I am probably being very controversial here, because everyone else in the world seems to love this book. It has great reviews on indigo.ca and amazon.ca, but I found it kind of slow going. Because the story jumps around to accommodate three different points of view – an Indian mother forced to give her daughter up for adoption, the American mother who adopts an Indian baby and the grown-up daughter – and spans more than 20 years, it felt unnecessarily complicated and clunky.
There were many times where I felt like the author’s agenda overpowered the narrative – there is so much going on in this book that it can be confusing to keep track of it all. There were moments where I felt like I needed some kind of a flow chart to keep track of who all the characters were, who was part of what family and even what year it was.
I can see why book clubs like it, because there’s a lot to talk about, but in terms of sweeping family sagas, I’d much rather tackle The Thorn Birds or Gone With The Wind, because the stories are stronger and easier to follow. The beauty of reading is that it’s totally a personal preference what ‘sticks’ and what doesn’t, but I’m glad I only spent $7 on this one rather than buying it new.