Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Review: The Sari Shop Widow by Shobhan Bantwal
Source: Personal Copy
Anjali thought she had a lifetime to fulfill her dreams with her husband, but his unexpected death left her numb and distraught. She became a twenty-seven year old widow. She returned home to her parents and tried to heal, eventually she began to run her parents sari shop in New Jersey’s Little India and thought the store was doing well. Unfortunately, her father hid the fact that the store was in financial trouble and now they face closure or asking her wealthy uncle to step in and help. Anjali is frustrated that she wasn’t aware of this before, and she can’t believe her father is bringing in her controlling uncle. When her Uncle Jeevan and his partner show up, Anjali is determined to keep the store unchanged. She can’t believe her uncle plans to expand the store when they are already in so much debt.
Anjali was a great character; she’s headstrong, determined but also broken. She still struggles with the death of her husband, and when she and her uncle’s business partner begin to enjoy spending time together, Anjali feels guilty. She expects it not to work out, and she doesn’t know what to do it if does work out. How can she move on from her husband? Can she love someone as much as she loved him? She doesn’t want to risk loving someone again, and losing them. Her growth throughout the novel was interesting. She had to step back and let her uncle and Rishi do what they do best.
Anjali was ready to fight and refuse to make changes to the store that weren’t needed, she expected her controlling uncle to walk in and take over. Jeevan had calmed in his later years, and his character was much different. I thought the dynamic between Anjali and Jeevan was interesting. I loved seeing Anjali’s attitude change towards her uncle.
Overall, I enjoyed The Sari Shop Widow. It wasn’t as deep as other multicultural reads I’ve enjoyed but it was entertaining, light, and enjoyable. I would definitely try this author again, I thought her writing was great. I enjoyed all the characters. I appreciated that the story was not predictable, and the hardships were real and convincing. If you’re looking for a lighter, multicultural read, I would recommend this one.