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Showing 1-7 of 7 reviews(2 star). See all 139 reviews
on March 12, 2011
I read this book for my book club. I found the book to have some interesting aspects about both biological and adoptive mothers' experiences of losing/adopting a daughter. What was intriguing to me was the part about Somer's insecurity of being a mother to her daughter from a different cultural background. However, even though the novel touches on interesting topics about international adoption and learning a new culture, the characters are not well developed. This left me feeling that the author had made assumptions characters that she created, I wished she had spent time exploring depths to their characters. Overall, I think it was a nice effort for the first novel but the results were rather uneven.
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on November 5, 2010
I'm sorry to have to say that despite the interesting subject matter - international adoption, and the terrible problem of female infanticide, after the first couple of chapters, I found this book very shallow. It read as if it was written by a tourist. I kept (perhaps unfairly) comparing it to "Shantaram" a book written by an Australian with no connection to India before going there, yet his book set in the same Mumbai slum felt so much more authentic.

"Secret Daughter" skimmed the surface of life in India and surprisingly, although the author lived most of her life in North America, her descriptions of life in California also felt like a visitors view. The most undeveloped character was the adoptive Indian born father; he comes across as a completely blank and unsympathetic person. One saving grace was that the development of the relationship between Kavita and Jass was quite sensitively portrayed but it didn't quite save the book from being flung away in disappointment once I'd got through it.
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on October 29, 2011
I wanted to like this book. I have a fondness for novels of India, but Secret Daughter has too many agendas, some of which are overindulged. The fact that Indians have more than a strong preference for boys is not a secret, nor is it just an Indian phenomenon. That adopted children often feel abandoned despite loving adoptive parents is almost cliche. The story of a child adopted to a different country/culture by an interracial couple is interesting and pertinent today; unfortunately, that story gets lost in all the other stuff, some of which seems completely random (e.g. entire chapters are spent on grandparents' deaths, who we, the readers, don't know or care about, and it reveals nothing about the other characters). When each chapter's heading includes the place, date and character name, it is not surprising that the writing is journalistic, flat. No nuance or subtlety. There is very little character development except for the biological mother but she gets lost in the second half of the book when the daughter is grown. While the daughter gets a lot of page time, she is more of a device to expose the problems in India than a fully fleshed out character. Unsatisfactory. I found myself wanting to finish this book quickly. Unfortunately, the ending was not worth my slogging.
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on May 14, 2011
While this book tries to bring to light some major provocative issues in India regarding the status of women and the treatment of girls, the characters are so one dimensional it makes the novel difficult to read. I have never been to India, and yet, based on common knowledge, I know far more than these characters who are supposed to be educated about the country.
I have no idea why this book has garnered such high reviews - every character on the North American side of the story is annoying and self-centered, and any 'revelation' they have, has been obvious to the reader from the start.
There are much better books on this subject out on the market. Don't insult your intelligence by reading this one.
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on January 18, 2012
I started reading this book because it was apparently in the same category as kite Runner but it doesn't even live up to one chapter of Khaled Hosseini's book. I found this book to be wayyyyy over-rated, Im really not sure why people are giving it such high praise because its not worthy at all!!! The story line is not good, there is no character development and the writing is horrible!
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on November 14, 2010
Not a bad book, but far too general with the characterizations. Certainly didn't get a feel for the 'true' India. Needed much more depth. Far too predictable.
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on September 6, 2010
I adore books about foreign countries, India in particular facinates me. I bought this book after reading a few excellent reviews, and was looking forward to its arrival. The books has also been on the best seller list for weeks.
Dissapointment just does not describe the feelings i have after reading just a few pages. The story line was mediocre, but mainly the writing style or lack of it was extremely irritating. Descriptions mundane and boring and the characters did not come to life for me. So, I just dont know what all the fuss is about Secret Daughter!
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