- Reading level: 5+ years
- Paperback: 260 pages
- Publisher: Rupa Publications India (10 July 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 8129147696
- ISBN-13: 978-8129147691
- Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 1.5 x 20.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 39 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #16,502 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Elephant Chaser’s Daughter Paperback – 10 Jul 2017
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About the Author
The daughter of a housemaid and an elephant chaser from a South Indian village, Shilpa Raj's life changed dramatically when she was selected at the age of four to attend Shanti Bhavan, a boarding school for poor children.
At sixteen, her need for self-discovery drove her to write this moving memoir of her turbulent past.
Shilpa Raj completed high school with distinction in 2011-the first in her family to do so-and received a Master's degree in psychological counseling.
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Top customer reviews
Now, this is what I call a book. It has life in it and gives the chance to the readers to step into the shoes of Shilpa Raj and feel what she had felt while reliving her memories. The high tide of emotions is sure to make you emotional.
I’ll recommend this book to everyone. This memoir comprises of every component that is bound to give you a heartfelt reading experience.
As Shilpa grows up away from the clutches of poverty and discrimination, she could feel the tension in her village whenever she went home for vacations - the injustice and oppression faced by her family, the pressure of marrying someone to serve him for a lifetime and the need for affection from her parents.
With a number of tragedies hitting her home, Shilpa learns how to steel herself against her misfortunes and miseries. Shilpa gradually tries to break all her chains that holds her back and finally makes a choice that will change her future.
Shilpa Raj writes her life's story to give everyone a glimpse of the lives led by the underprivileged society where women and 'untouchables' are frowned upon.
'The Elephant Chaser's Daughter' is the debut novel of Shilpa Raj where she beautifully tries to spread the message about how the people belonging to lower castes survive and how their survival is decided by those privileged people who does nothing but exploit them. She also brings forward the injustices and prejudices faced by women from those undermined societies. This book is an eye-opener for all as it shows the darker side of the Indian rural society and also a must read for all.
This week I was able to get my hands on The Elephant Chaser's Daughter by Shilpa Raj which is a memoir of this young woman's experiences as she and her family was forced to face the wrath of society's disease called 'untouchability' and fate's destiny called 'poverty'.
Let us get into the review, shall we?
The title is beautiful and it aptly describes what the memoir is about. Shilpa's narrative is shown to readers through her eyes but the title has a sweet connection to her roots. I found it beautiful for her to fearlessly tag herself as an Elephant Chaser's Daughter and proudly show her history to the world.
Title Rating - 4.5 / 5
The cover of the memoir is that of a young girl amidst a village background. Her face is unseen from the sun's rays. The cover is serene, picturesque and has a melancholic feel to it. I love the way it fills me with peace but also how it gives a peek into what the narrative is all about. It's apt with regards to the title and to the storyline. I loved it.
Cover Rating - 5 / 5
"As years passed, I often found myself feeling guilt-stricken at how I came to have so much compared to my family." - Shilpa Raj
As I read through the pages of the memoir, I found myself getting increasingly absorbed into Shilpa's tale. She tells her story beautifully through the first person narrative and that adds to the connection that the reader builds with her. The tale talks about her entire family, the troubles they went through and the hardships they had to face to get to the stage they are at today.
"The word 'plane' made everything seem so distant..." - Shilpa Raj
The language is fluent and simple to understand. It has a wonderful flow to it which makes it all the more appealing. I love the way the paragraphs are split as that helps the story flit from past to present which is how it is written. My favourite part was that about her sister which was told beautifully.
"I was anxious to see my mother, and nothing else could be more important." - Shilpa Raj
There isn't a systematic flow to the tale which is very engaging and, for me, one of the highlights of the novel. I feel like the entire story became double the times more interesting because of the timelines interchanging and Shilpa's history mingling with her present. What makes it even better is that there is no confusion despite the form of this narrative which shows the author's skill of story telling.
Plot Rating - 5 / 5
The fluency in the writing
The diverse timelines the tale travels through
The author's ability to tell her story without creating confusion in the reader's mind
More conversations! That is my only suggestion / critical aspect about the book.
Overall Rating: 5 / 5
Verdict: Worth Every Penny!
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