Title: Someone Else’s Garden
Publisher: Harper Perennial; Original edition
Publication Date: February 1, 2011
Paperback: 400 pages
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?
There are a few books I come across where I am certain my review will not do justice to the book and Someone Else’s Garden by Dipika Rai is just such a book. Rai draws the reader immediately into the lives of a poor family, one born low-caste in rural India and the reader is spared no details about what the lives of the multigenerational characters such as Lata Bai, Mamta and Rani, are like. While the narrative is at times quite depressing, the message behind the beautifully flowing narrative is one of strength, hope, and power, which the women have in abundance. Someone Else’s Garden is more than a story of low-caste women and the lives they have to look forward to, but one of hope, and ultimately is an exceptionally uplifting novel which transcends all cultures. Rai’s prose is so exquisite one can easily become lost in the beauty and flow of her words, descriptions, and characters. Rai’s novel brings up many deep and intricate questions about life and one’s purpose in life, making this an extraordinary book for any discussion group. Someone Else’s Garden is not an easy book to read, it is painful yet offers hope, it is deep and offers up ways to help. The reader is given a glimpse into a society where women are bought and sold, where even their bodies do not belong to them and yet there is an ever present underlying theme of hope. I am exceedingly grateful to have read Someone Else’s Garden, I have a newfound appreciation of life and learned about another NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation) Pratham, a programme to provide quality education to underprivileged children in India, a programme to which Rai is donating a proceed of the royalties of this book. I cannot praise Someone Else’s Garden enough and it is my hope that all readers will choose to read this book and share it with others and discussion groups. I personally cannot wait to see what Dipika Rai has in store for her next book.
Dipika Rai was born, raised, and educated in India. She worked as a freelance journalist for many years, writing for various publications around the globe. She divides her time between India and the island of Bali, where she lives with her husband, two children, and her devoted pets. This is her first novel.
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I received a complimentary copy of Someone Else’s Garden by Dipika Rai from TLC Book Tours to be a part of this tour and offer my honest review of the book. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned book.