Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Forbidden Daughter Book Review

I read The Forbidden Daughter by Shobhan Bantwal for the New Authors Reading Challenge.  It is a novel about how the selective abortion of female fetuses has been used by those who care about the old ways in order to produce only male heirs.

Isha Tilak and her husband Nikhil have one daughter, Priya.  Priya is treated abysmally by her grandparents compared to her male cousins but the family does not address the issue. When Isha becomes pregnant for the second time, an ultrasound is performed to check on the baby's health but also to check the baby's sex.  When Isha is found to be pregnant with a second girl her ob-gyn offers to perform an abortion.  In addition, her in-laws insist upon it. Selective abortion is not legal in 2006 India and Isha's Doctor, Dr. Karnik, has broken the law by offering to perform an abortion.  Nikhil is outraged and gathers information on Dr. Karnik but is unable to use it after he is mysteriously killed while at work.  Isha's in-laws blame the killing on the curse of the new baby but she is convinced it has something to do with Dr. Karnik's solution to her problem.

The Forbidden Daughter is a beautifully written book about modern Indian culture.  It gives an interesting look into the continued importance of having a male heir in today's society.  The author took on a tough subject and made it a captivating read.  I was spell bound by the main character Isha's decision to forgo her Brahman airs and go out on her own in order to raise her daughters. She overcomes the notion of how a well-bred woman should behave and becomes an independent woman.  

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