Monday, 21 May 2018

REVIEW: The Girl in the Broken Mirror by Savita Kalhan

Pages: 288
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Troika Books
Release Date: March 28th 2018
Topics: Sexual Abuse, Culture
Buy The Book: Book Depository 

 Jay's creative writing exercise is to write a fairy tale, to end with 'they lived happily ever after'. But the way her life is panning out she's not sure it will ever reach that stage. A powerful moving gripping story which explores themes of family, loyalty and culture clash but is ultimately about hope and understanding.

WARNING: Due to the nature of the story, this review mentions the main character being a victim of rape. Please feel free to skip out on this review if you need to.

It's impossible to go into this story expecting a light read. It deals with some seriously tough subjects, and it doesn't shy away from the details. We're shown from the very first chapter that this is going to be a difficult journey, but it's such an important one.

The Girl in the Broken Mirror deals with the rape of teenager Jay after she and her mother, Neela, are left with no choice but to move in with relatives who follow a much more strict Indian lifestyle than what Jay is used to. Left with no other choice, Jay has to change the way she acts when she's under her aunt's roof.

Jay is a perfect example of how an ordinary girl with an ordinary life can be thrown into such extreme circumstances. Her life is so seemingly normal until suddenly, it isn't. There was nothing she and her mother could have done to change their circumstances, and I understand why her mother made the decision to live with family members. She thought she was doing what was best for her daughter and had no way of knowing what the outcome would be. Like a lot of horrible things in life, it progressed too quickly and silently to be stopped by those around it.

The relationship between Jay and her mother was a complex one that was tested many times over the course of the story. There was a chapter towards the end in which we got a bit more insight from Neela's point of view, and it was important that we got to see her thought process leading up to her finding out about the attack.

Although Sita was a character who only appeared in the final quarter of the book, she was one of my favourites. Her character was necessary for reminding us of the goodness we can find in the people around us. Something we needed after the harsh occurrences earlier in the story.

The thing that really stuck out to me about this book was how it covered so much of the story. We were shown the build up to the attack, as well as the aftermath. The YA books I've read in the past that contained the rape of a main character tend not to show as much of the aftermath as I'd like to see. I love it when a story shows that there is a life after horrible attacks like this one, that there is hope for those people to take control of their situation again. Whilst some of the scenes with Jay after the attack were heartbreaking and difficult to read, I love that this book showed us that she had a new chapter in her life beyond the final pages.

This is such a powerful story and an example of some of the horrible situations young women can actually find themselves in. At the start of the book, Jay would never have been able to imagine the attack she was about to be faced with, and yet it happened regardless. It was also an important look into culture and a male orientated world. I'm so grateful to Savita for writing this story because it very much needed to be told.

Royal Rating:

1 comment:

  1. Rape scenes in movies and in books churns my stomach. But I know it's necessary to discuss such sensitive matters. This sounds like a good book, but I would need to fortify my heart and my stomach should I pick it up.

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