The Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Secret Daughter


Any book written by an NRI author stopped intriguing me a long time ago. The reason being that most of them are very clichéd, mostly highlighting poverty, misery, stink, suffering and the hopeless suffocation of all life forms who or which live in this blessed country.

I am not blind nor naïve, I realize that our country is adorned with all of the above mentioned menaces, yet I still believe that it takes one to know one. You cannot be sitting in a developed nation which is slowly falling apart, penning stories about a developing nation which is rapidly pulling itself together.

Most people are locked in their own world which makes them stubborn and hard to persuade. To play by their rules, to enjoy what they enjoy and to adapt can be a little frustrating. One of the greatest sources of frustration in this book was the stubborn nature of her family. How hard it is to reach them ! To make them see things her way. We spend our lives butting up against people as if they were stone walls.

I believe all of us are narcissists at the end of the day. As we grow older, our narcissism grows. We become absorbed in our own experiences, tastes and opinions. A hard shell forms around us. People truly love themselves, but I feel what they love most is their ideas and tastes reflected on another person.

Fiction is ok. But in my understanding, all things fictional are born out of something truthful. And sometimes you just don’t want to face the truth.

I guess it’s high time these Indian-born-Bisleri-drinking-born-bred-and-fed-in-U.S authors stop writing about India as a crippled third-world society. I don’t know about others, but I believe in perceptions and this snake-beggar perception of my own country irritates me a little. There are other important issues affecting society today which is why, coming back to my point of writing the review of this book, The Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda.

This book portrays a very sad yet a riveting story about female foeticide in our country. A serious issue that our society is grappling and shamelessly tolerating for centuries now. It’s a disease which unfortunately doesn’t see caste, creed, rich or poor. It is a plain rejection of the female species for reasons unknown or rather stupid. It portrays two women in different set of circumstances and countries trying to deal with motherhood and the loss of it.

Many of us have difficulty reconciling the person we are right now with the person we want to be. Somewhere we all are disappointed that we have compromised our youthful ideals and we still imagine ourselves as that person who had so much promise. You somewhere feel soul-less as you read the part about abandoning a baby in the beginning. But the main protagonist had to live with the choices she made.

It is also a good book to read if you are considering adoption, one of the many ways of starting a family and the struggles of it all. It’s an interesting book and can say, a one-time read.



  1. Compared to your beginning, I was expecting to read in the conclusion about what a terrible waste of time this book is, so I was surprised to find that you actually recommend the book as a one time read!

    1. I am a writer,thus, writing off completely somebody’s hard work is tough for me…plus I am down n dusted with India being projected as a yesteryear’s country…that’s why,the beginning and the end contradict …

    1. Female foeticide still govern in our books/newspapers/tv serials…even after completing 60 years of Independence… we can hope and put sincere efforts for the situation to improve so that the basics of life get back in place.

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