Top positive review
Gripping tale of a vicious mother – a must read!
24 August 2014
I read about ‘Daughter By Court Order’ on an Air India flight – one of the books of the season. The description and cover intrigued me, but I did not realise how compelling the story was until I picked up a copy of the book.
Arnie is a normal Indian girl, growing up in a complicated and traditional joint family. Her mother, Kamini, is the mother from hell, very Joan Crawford-like, self centred, vain and focussed only on herself. Most people have limits but some clearly don’t. Kamini is one such woman and the author has developed the layers of her character extremely effectively. The reader is initially shocked, then intrigued and finally disgusted by Kamini. Aranya (or Arnie) meanwhile moves from bewilderment to resolve. Alongside the two leading ladies is the Aunt, one of the most likeable and nuanced characters in the novel. The men in the novel serve as important backdrops to the three ladies – Dadaji, Krish, Yudi are viewed in the context of their reactions to the women in their lives.
While I usually write academic articles, I was compelled to write this review as the book touched me in many ways and I don’t for a moment believe that this is feminist literature, as a fellow reviewer has mistakenly branded it. Feminist literature is something entirely different – this book certainly isn’t! Far from it!!
Daughter By Court Order is an intelligent book and an extremely good read and I would unreservedly recommend it. This is a book that should be read by men and women, teenagers and adults, Indians and those interested in the nuances of feudal societies. As Cherie Blair comments on the book jacket, it is an “important book.”
Read it … and then read it again. You will find something to make you think every time you read the book. Truly one of the books of the season.