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Someone Else's Garden af Dipika Rai

Someone Else's Garden (udgave 2011)

af Dipika Rai

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
794298,782 (3.85)2
The eldest of seven children born low-caste in rural India, Mamta is abused and rejected by a father who can see no reason to "water someone else's garden" until a husband is found for her. Seeking escape in matrimony, Mamta is soon forced to flee her village and the horrors of her arranged marriage to the bustle of a small city, where she struggles to find a precarious state of acceptance and make peace with her past.… (mere)
Titel:Someone Else's Garden
Forfattere:Dipika Rai
Info:HarperPress (2011), Paperback, 416 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek

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Someone Else's Garden af Dipika Rai


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Someone Else's Garden is the story of Mamta, the eldest daughter of seven children. The setting is rural India in a small village that is governed by the rules and customs of the townspeople. Her father, a cruel, self involved man, arranges her marriage and considers all daughters burdens. After her husband turns abusive, Mamta realizes she must flee to the city in order to save herself and have a life worth living. Returning back to her home is not an option since Mamta now belongs to her husband, no matter how cruel he is. A runaway wife is one of the most shameful acts a daughter can do to her self and family. Yet Mamta is so desperate she feels there is no other option. What follows is her story of finding hope, friends, love and forgiveness.
When I finished this story I had to wipe away tears. What a great book. It started off slow, lots of characters were introduced and it was hard to remember who was who. There was not a lot of action. Those of my only critiques. But by the middle of the book, I was attached to the characters and anxious to continue reading about Mamta. I was also expecting this book to be mostly about Mamta, but there is also several other characters that have huge parts in this story. The writing was beautiful and I loved the descriptions of India. There is cruelty and bleakness in this book, but this should not deter one from reading this story. I think the author is trying to remind us that life is often a struggle, but there is beauty in hope and perseverance. Thank you for a wonderful story. ( )
  melaniehope | Mar 6, 2011 |
Did you ever come across a novel that just left you in awe by the last page? Dipika Rai's novel did that exact thing for me. Rai's writing style not only captured me as a reader, the cultural differences and things that Rai added to this novel, were soul capturing and gut wrenching. It was filled with characters, both good and bad, that come together in a plot like no other. Rai blends the cultural differences, longing, hope, and anger and turns them into a well written, not soon forgotten novel.

Now, I will be honest here and say that at first I was confused by the scenes-didn't really get where it was going and why, but once I pushed forward with the story, I understood the need for the slow, confusing start to Mamta's character and her story. And what a story it was....

I know that people everywhere, have different religious views, different cultural customs, but this story really outlined what life in India is like for a young woman. I could never, in a billion years, begin to imagine being a woman and not even having the option to make a life for myself and be worth something. Poor Mamta-being sold in to a marriage and never owning her mind-it is immediately owned by her husband. This type of story, though written to be fictional, is a true eye opening experience to life in other countries and cultures. It really hit hard with me and I found myself praying for everything that this young woman Mamta had to go through as she was breaking free from someone else's garden and finding her true self.

I encourage everyone to read this book. It's filled with lots of cultural insights and makes the mind set to work. While it's far from favorite novel, it does get 4 stars. The author's talent shines through as the novel captures the readers. Well done, Dipika! ( )
  ReviewsbyMolly | Feb 10, 2011 |
So many books focus on the disaffected and apathetic middle and upper classes of society. We watch tv shows that expose the uber-wealthy. We devour gossip about celebrities and those lucky enough to be born rich. It's almost as if the poor, the disenfranchised, and the downtrodden have no voice we care to hear. And perhaps this lack of awareness is even more prevalent in a society like India where there's a formalized caste system ensuring that people find and maintain only their own level and poor women are lucky to be granted even that.

Opening with Lata Bai giving birth to her seventh child, another girl, this tale of the disenfranchised, rights-less women of small, backward, poor village India celebrates the strength and the love that gives these abused, maligned, and expendable women the courage to go on and to grasp for a better life. As her mother adds yet another female mouth to the family, Mamta, the eldest daughter, is dreaming and preparing for her very late but finally occurring marriage. She harbors romantic fantasies that even the example of her own life, being abused and neglected by her father because she was simply being raised to belong to another man, hasn't crushed. But the reality of her marriage, with her husband even selling her kidney and plotting to sell the other one as well, presses in on her and she must escape or die, despite knowing that all around her will condemn her for her choice regardless of the chilling alternative if she stayed and endured.

As Mamta finds her way in a harsh and unforgiving world, there is a second narrative running parallel to her story, one that will ultimately join her tale. This second plot line is that of Lokend, the younger son of the zamindar of Mamta's birth village. Lokend is a gentle soul, one who echoes the very best and kindest of the Hindu gods. He works for peace for the villagers but as is the case with so many of the selfless, he makes enemies who are determined to break him.

Someone Else's Garden is rife with brutality. Sadly it is not unrealistic brutality, nor is it gratuitous, included here not only to make the story realistic but also to shed light on the terrible fate of so many who cannot defend or speak for themselves. A large portion of the story contains unrelenting horrors and so the late glimmer of hope and progress unfortunately becomes unbelievable, a sort of fairytale ending to an otherwise un-fairytale-like story. There are a multitude of characters and it it hard, at the start, to keep them distinct in the reader's mind. Eventually it gets easier to sort them all out. Mamta's determination and the vestiges of hope that she manages to retain throughout her ordeals make her a very appealing character, one with whom the reader is sure to side. Her own calm acceptance of the customs and beliefs of her mother help the reader not to condemn these backwards thinking people but to understand the force of years of oppression and the centuries of tradition that have led to this mindset.

The double plot line and its ensuing complexity makes the novel move slowly for about the first half of the book. As necessary as the backstory is, there's just a bit too much detail bogging it down and making the reader work to get into a rhythm. The continual grim occurrences are hard to stomach but they serve their purpose. The sheer number of minor characters woven through the beginning also add to the challenge. But once you hit the middle of the book, the logjam breaks free and things flow more smoothly as the story picks up momentum. Those who have an interest in women's rights or rural India will be well served if they persevere with this one.
1 stem whitreidtan | Feb 8, 2011 |
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The eldest of seven children born low-caste in rural India, Mamta is abused and rejected by a father who can see no reason to "water someone else's garden" until a husband is found for her. Seeking escape in matrimony, Mamta is soon forced to flee her village and the horrors of her arranged marriage to the bustle of a small city, where she struggles to find a precarious state of acceptance and make peace with her past.

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