Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Before We Visit the Goddess by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Before We Visit the Goddess is an intergenerational story about Sabitri, her daughter Bela and her granddaughter Tara. It skips around in time and point of view, but by the end, comes to form one story.
All three women have made mistakes, and their mistakes have cost them dearly. Bela ran away from America and never went back, Tara dropped out of college and didn't contact her mother for a decade. All three have estranged relationships, and not all of the relationships were healed.
My favourite character was definitely Sabitri, possibly because hers was the first story I read, but probably because she seemed like a strong woman. Not to mention that she didn't deserve what happened to her. I think out of all three characters, she was the most blameless. And because I think filial piety is incredibly important, I find what Bela did horrible. Yes, the same thing happened to Bela, but it seems a bit like payback for what she did to her mother, so I didn't feel as bad for her.
In the second last chapter, just as I was thinking that Sabitri was going to be the only character I liked, I found my villain.
I'm not going to spoil it, but it totally made me feel immense sympathy for Bela. As for Tara, I don't know if it's the first person narration (all those "I"s in there) for her chapters, but I never quite shook the feeling that she was a selfish character. Or rather, I never felt her troubles as deeply as I did Sabitri and Bela.
I really wish this book was longer. There are so many gaps, and so many untold stories that I wanted to know about. I totally recommend this book to anyone looking for something on family, love and loss.
Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.