Saturday, August 24, 2013

Oleander Girl

Title:  Oleander Girl
Author:  Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Publication Information:  Simon & Schuster. 2012. 289 pages.

Book Source:  I read this book based on how much I enjoyed other books by the same author.

Favorite Quote:  "Sarojini admits he has a point; girls have to be toughened so they can survive a world that presses harder on women .... But deep in a hidden place inside her .... Sarojini knows she is right too. Being loved a little more than necessary arms a girl in a different way."

The Oleander Girl is Korobi Roy. Her very name stands for the oleander flower - beautiful yet strong. To her knowledge, Korobi was orphaned at birth and raised in a loving home by her maternal grandparents. She knows that there exists some mystery around her parents' death, but she does not know what. The only memento she has of them is a love note found in the book.

As the book begins, she has met and become engaged to Rajat, and is anticipating her future with happiness. Unfortunately, shortly after the engagement, her grandfather dies. His death reveals many family secrets including those surrounding Korobi's parents.

It sets up Korobi on a quest to answer her questions and delve into the past. This brings a trip from India to the United States - a new world and new relationships.

Oleander girl reads like the plot of a Bollywood movie. A beautiful, but not rich orphaned heroine. A handsome, rich young man who sweeps her off her feet. A family revelation that sends one off on a quest. The pull of home and the promises of new love. How will it all end?

This book lacks the depth of other books I have read by the same author. The characters and emotions seem more superficial. Maybe, it is because the plot line resembles a commercial Bollywood movie, which are known more for their showmanship rather than the depth of story. A story that hovers at the surface of relationships and motivations.

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