Friday, April 2, 2010

Book Recommendation: A Disobedient Girl

A Disobedient Girl: A Novel A Disobedient Girl: A Novel by Ru Freeman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've read countless books about India and Pakistan, but this was my first Sri Lankan author. I was particularly interested because I have a friend from high school and a sister-in-law who are both Sri Lankan.

As a debut novel, this book is amazing. Freeman beautifully sets the stage and pace of the story. Latha and Thara grow up together, although one is servant and one is mistress. This is a complicated story of caste, class, and culture, with deep-seated anger and resentment and secrets. Interwoven with their story is another tale, of a woman named Biso who is fleeing an abusive husband with her three children. She is a deeply dedicated mother and wants the very best for her children, although she seems to be terribly unlucky. It's clear how disadvantaged a single woman is in rural Sri Lanka without the support of a man.

During one of the last chapters, I was about to give up on the book. It was so terribly sad. It seems that I've been reading one sad book after another. In the end, though, the book redeems itself.

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