Secret Daughter

Secret Daughter: A Novel by Shilpi Somaya Gowda (published by HarperCollins) has been on the best seller list for ages. It is one of those surprise hits.  It’s the story of 2 families, one in India, one in the USA, brought together by the adoption of an Indian baby girl named Asha by an American family in California. Growing up entirely American (but with an adopted father who was born in India), Asha eventually travels to Mumbai on a fellowship from Brown University as a journalist to do an article on children in the slums. This gives her a wonderful opportunity to connect with her Indian relatives, her father’s side of her adopted family, whom she’s never met. And of course, while there, she decides to try and find her birth parents. As Asha ages her American mother, Somer, has trouble dealing with the fact that she’s the only one in the family who has no connection to India and this eventually leads to a falling out of sorts between mother and daughter. And her birth mother, Kavita, has trouble dealing with the fact that she handed over her daughter to the adoption agency when she was 3 days old, and knows nothing about her since that heart-wrenching day. Is she still there, has she been adopted, is she even still alive? The book is full of emotion and feelings (“the emotional terrain of motherhood” as the back cover says), the trials of being an adoptive parent, and the loss of having to literally give away a baby. Gowda is a reat writer and her book is well worth reading.

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