Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sisters of the Sari by Brenda L. Baker

Sisters of the SariThis is one of those books that I just can't recommend enough. It's funny, touching, and has lots of drama that ties in nicely together.

Kiria is a successful American woman who is the CEO of her own company. She's very independent and does what she wants, when she wants, without a man in her life. She travels to India and finds herself touched by Santoshi, a dependent in the Indian shelter system. In a way though, both women though in very different circumstances, have a lot in common. They each take care of themselves. No one else is looking out for them. Kiria simply has the money and means to do it in a more hygienic way.

Kiria wants to help Santoshi better herself and sets about opening a home for independent women in India. She enlists Santoshi's help. The novel goes back and forth from first person POV (Kiria's very humorous and witty viewpoint) to third person POV. 

I LOVE Kiria.. here's why:

"Now, here's some advice if you ever want to take a city bus in India-don't even think about it. The bus that finally came was packed, sardines-in-a-tin packed, resulting in some unavoidable familiarity with my fellow travelers. When a particularly good pothole created a bowling-pin effect among the standing passengers, I learned more about one poor young man's anatomy than either of us really wanted to know. Hopefully, his reproductive abilities were not permanently impaired."

"... getting more flies with honey. Which is a very odd expression when you think about it. Who exactly wants those flies? Entomologists? Any entomologist worth his salt should know that you get the most flies with shit."

"Sari-itis afflicts approximately one in ten Indian women. It is incurable. The disfiguring effects on its sufferers can only be controlled by placing limits on their credit cards. You see the victims on the streets of Chennai every day, pathetic women who have succumbed to the lure of the fabric and bought a sari whose pattern highlights all their figure flaws and even creates some they don't have. A short, fat woman will buy a silver sequined sari that makes passerby break into spontaneous disco dancing."

Nevertheless, while Kiria is establishing this home (which all her Indian friends feel is doomed to fail), the characters around her have their own dramas. Santoshi cannot agree with sharing a home with those of lower caste and sets off on an eye-opening adventure. Laxmi is trying to adjust to being a housewife to a weak man with an evil mother. Mary Elizabeth loves a man that technically, she is not supposed to love. (Again, caste system and all.) All these women aid each other in some way.. and enrich each other's lives.

And... Kiria has a son... and there some drama there, but I don't wish to spoil it so that's all I'm going to say about that.

The book is humorous, well written, and the author obviously knows India very well. The ending was terrific.

Five stars. I received this from the publisher. 

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