Thursday, April 5, 2012
Review: Lovetorn by Kavita Daswani
Source: Personal Copy
When Shalini’s father announces to the family that they are moving to America, everyone is shocked. Shalini’s grandfather is livid, families are meant to stay together. Their life in India is comfortable; American will be lonely with just the four of them, in India they live with thirty-seven relatives. Shalini has been engaged since she was three years old and the thought of being away from Vikram for two years is heartbreaking. When Shalini, her parents and sister land in America, everything is new and her father is ecstatic. Shalini accepts his words of encouragement, and tries her best to accept the situation. Starting a new school proves to be very difficult for Shalini, but relatively easy for her younger sister. It’s a surprise to the family, when their mother is severely homesick and begins to suffer from depression. She withdraws from the family and locks herself in her room for days, further burdening Shalini with the household chores. After weeks of being tormented at school, Shalini learns that life is about choices, and she no longer wants to be the girl who doesn’t fit in and cowers in a corner.
Lovetorn is a great novel that tackles a very real subject. Shalini’s peers laugh at her, and mock her; she would love to pack up and go home but she wants to give her father the opportunity to enjoy his time in America, but hiding her unhappiness proves to be difficult. Her father wholeheartedly throws himself into their new life, and wants his wife to snap out of it. He doesn’t understand why she is having such a hard time adjusting. Eventually Shalini meets new people, and forms new friendships. While working for a charity event, she meets a new boy who gives her the butterflies, and she has no idea how that can happened. Vikram has always been the love of her life, and she has no idea what to do.
I really respected that Daswani never demonstrated that one culture was superior over the other. She portrayed a family experiencing the blending of cultures, and adapting. As Shalini begins to feel more comfortable in America, she never forgets who she is or where she came from. Shalini’s mother has the hardest time coming to American, and I felt that her situation was very real. Her whole life was uprooted, and she couldn’t cope. The only place she felt comfortable with was the Indian grocery store. She had nowhere to go every day, no friends, no extended family; she was very lonely and angry.
I want to mention the cover, and how I don’t think it gives this book justice. The cover portrays a romance/teen novel and this book is so much more. I think they chose this cover because it is geared towards young adult fans, but I don’t find it true to the story at all.
I really love stories that take place in India or portray Indian cultures, and this book did not disappoint. Daswani did a great job creating this family, their difficult story is sure to resemble real life immigrants trying to hold on to their culture while building a new life in a new country.