Saturday, March 1, 2008

Sister of My Heart

Sister of My Heart (by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni) was our pick for our Book Club in February and it was wonderful--several of us breezed through it in less than 3 days because it was so captivating. It is a beautifully written tale of two young girls in India who are distant cousins, but circumstances have it so they grow up in the same home with their widowed mothers and a childless, widowed aunt (the girls call them "the mothers" which I think is very funny). They are so tightly bonded to each other--a bond that is stronger than friendship, and even stronger than most family bonds. It was told through both girls' points of view and the reader is given insight to their deepest feelings, particularly the sacrifices that they are willing to make for each other. The men in the story for the most part are jerks and some of the women have no honor either. It was intriguing (and sad) to learn about some of their customs and traditions. As many books do, reading this made me so grateful for the freedoms I enjoy and for the opportunities that we have as women in the United States (for example, choosing my spouse instead of having an arranged marriage and carrying my female baby to term).

At Book Club we wondered if a relationship like that would be possible in the United States and discussed the ways that we value independence in our culture. While independence is definitely a blessing, there is something to be said for the ability to depend on someone so much that they are a part of you. I think that in our culture it doesn't happen often, if we have a spouse, they are probably the one we have the closest relationship with. I have been blessed with many sisters and wonderful friends that I am very close to--but it would be hard for me to say that one of them knows me inside and out like the characters in this book. I think also that the types of sacrifices they had to make for each other are not necessary in the way of life that we know. One of the ladies there told me later that she shared a relationship like this with her mom, but the rest of us at Book Club didn't feel like we had it or were likely to develop it.

**Is there someone that is a "sister of your heart"?
**Do you have any friends/family members that you have had to make huge sacrifices for? Has it brought you closer together?
**Don't you think our Book Club is good-looking? (our hostess that night (Kathryn) is the oldest in the group and she had her mom there --Kathryn is on the back row with white hair and her mom is sitting in the rocking chair). I don't think her mom's hearing was too good, which was probably a good thing since our book club discussion usually goes way off-topic by the end of the night :)). Kathryn brings wisdom and experience to our Book Club which is otherwise made up of youngish women with small children, and she recommends great books, like this one.

I really recommend this book--it's wonderful (with a little colorful language, but not much). I look forward to reading more from the same author.


Tricia said...

Sounds great! I added this one to my list. That is a great looking book club--and a big group too! If you liked the cultural experience of these, try Jhumpa Lahiri's books (if you haven't already). The Namesake is about a family from India that immigrated. Interpreter of Maladies is a collection of short stories that won the Pulitzer Prize. Her new book coming in April, Unaccumstomed Earth, is also short stories. Her writing is fabulous.

Witness said...

Give me a list of your favorites. I'm looking for something new to delve into!!