The Girl in the Garden by Kamala Nair
Published by Grand Central Publishing, an imprint of Hachette
At some level, Rakhee knew her mother wasn’t happy in their home in the Midwest; at some level she may have even known that her mother’s heart did not truly belong to her father. Safe at home, however, these facts are (mostly) easy to ignore. To children parents are parents, they are not unique people. When Rahkee’s mother takes her to visit India, she is pulled unwillingly into the realization that her mother is a real person, with real desires that may not involve either Rakhee or her father. In the midst of these adolescent realizations, Rakhee finds a secret garden out behind her family’s house and what may be her family’s greatest secret.
The Girl in the Garden is a beautiful coming of age novel, an immediately engaging story. Rakhee is a likeable narrator, but appropriately flawed. As any adolescent she can be demanding and obnoxious, but she is also trying to hold her family together the best that she can. Certainly she is willful, but it is that very willfulness that leads her to the garden and gives her the knowledge to either break her family apart or bring it back together.
Nair’s lush writing pulled me right in, and the emotional depth she imparted upon her young narrator kept me turning the pages. Highly recommended.What’s Old is New.
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