Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sister of My Heart

by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

The whole time I was reading this book I was thinking how much my reading buddy would love this story! Although Sudah and Anju are not really twins, they're not even sisters for that matter, they have a bond that even sisters rarely manage. Born together the same day both of their fathers die, the cousins are raised as sisters in their home in Calcutta. The narrative changes voice between the girls as they grow from girlhood through some turbulent teenage years, arranged marriages and two tragedies, one that separates them and another that draws them closer.

The author does a great job of weaving the culture and customs of India into Sister of My Heart, confronting the traditions of arranged marriages, the challenges faced by young brides brought into the homes of their new families, and the value placed on having sons. She tells of a special and longed for love between these girls and the sacrifices each is willing to make for the other. Divakaruni also sneaks in a surprising twist that makes for a touching ending.

The biggest problem for me was the author's inability to adequately distinguish the voice of each narrator, I had to regularly check the chapter heading to determine which girl was speaking this part of the story. Some of this may have been intentional because they were so close at heart, but I did find it slightly distracting at times. No matter though, I'd still recommend it.

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