Someone Else’s Garden (provided)
• Paperback: 400 pages
• Publisher: Harper Perennial; Original edition (February 1, 2011)
The eldest of seven children, born low-caste and female 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 begins her wedded life with hope—but is soon forced to flee her village and the horrors of her arranged marriage to the bustle of a small city. Saved from becoming one of the nameless and faceless millions of rejected humanity by the salvation of sublime love, Mamta struggles to find a precarious state of acceptance and make peace with her past.
Powerfully affecting and uplifting, set against a vivid and colorful background of Eastern life, Dipika Rai’s Someone Else’s Garden transcends geographical divides and cultural chasms to brilliantly expose the commonality of the human condition, compelling us to seek answers within ourselves to humanity’s eternal questions: Is life random? Do we have a destiny?
My Take on the Book: Oh wow this is the first time I have read a book based in India. There is no way my review will do it justice. The book starts off with men and women who are born into the low-caste system of rural India. The author, Dipika Rai beautifully described the characters and the setting. I felt a part of this book as I was reading it. It was very intense and unsettling at times. My heart went out to the females in this book. They were not treated as something special, which I never understand with other cultures. If it wasn't for the women, the country would not exist. They are the ones needed to give birth to the male race! The title, Someone Else's Garden, is used and explained early on in the book. It made me wonder if this is a true saying in India.
I do have to say though, my heart also went out for the men in this book. The author did an outstanding job in describing the situation with men, too. I was able to understand more as to why Mamta's father treated her the way he did. It was heart-wrenching.
The author asked if our life is predestined? Is it random? Reading this gripping novel I wondered the same thing. I was so absorbed into this first time novel of Dipika Rai and at times I had to put the book down and say to myself that this is just a piece of fiction yet I really knew in my heart that this is not just fiction. The reading was depressing, at times, but I couldn't put the book down. I was amazed at the beauty and strength of these characters. I found myself telling the characters what to do but that was the last thing they needed! To survive, the characters had to do what was right and to learn "by and by".
If you are looking for a book to get lost in, this is it! It would make a great book club book, too. The book includes a glossary, word from the author and things to think about. Perfect set up for a book club! I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.
A portion of the author's royalties will be donated to Pratham, the largest nongovernmental organization in India working to provide quality education to underprivileged children.
About Dipika RaiOne of four children, Dipika Rai was born and educated in India. Her gypsy spirit was cultivated at a young age when she traveled throughout the country in a trusty Ambassador with her family, bumping into all sorts of characters: river pirates, princesses, tribal elders, poachers and petty politicians. After securing an MBA and doing time in the corporate world of banking, she returned to her subliminal love: writing. She moved to Bali, freelanced for 30 magazines around the globe and had a marvelous time exploring both her creative energies and new cultures. Once her children were born, it was time to stay at home. Unable to relinquish the gypsy in her, she continued to wander, but this time in a world at her desk. This world and the people in it came together to form her first novel Someone Else’s Garden.
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