Published Date: March 6, 2018
Publishing Co.: Flatiron Books
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
A story I won’t soon forget.
Poornima and Savitha are two girls born into a poor village in India. Everyday is a struggle to survive. To have enough food, not to fill their bellies, but just enough to keep them alive. To make enough money to buy the bare essentials. Living in shacks with no doors, dirt floors and sleeping on mats. Poornima’s father is desperate to marry her off, but her skin is too dark for most men’s taste. The dowry their families demand, too high for him to pay so he grows to despise her even more. Why did she have to be a girl?
Savitha’s father is an alcoholic who begs at the temple for hand outs. Her mother works as a servant, which is considered low class. She has several sisters and she’s determined to earn their dowry money before her own so that they may have better lives.
The two girls find each other and become best friends. Savitha brings a light to Poornima’s life that she didn’t know existed after the death of Poornima’s mother. Life begins to have a kind of hope.
Then, life promptly crushes that hope. Stomps on it and spits on it’s ashes, for both girls.
A cruel act forces Savitha to run away, and Poornima is married off to an evil family. Despite their desperate situations, they are both determined to find one another again. This begins a journey across countries, that takes darker and darker twists, with no promises that they’ll ever make it back to each other.
At times, this story tore my heart out of my chest. It is beautifully written, moderately paced and achingly real. A testament to the light that burns inside every human being, and that some torches refuse to be snuffed out no matter how dark life gets.