Title: The Golden Son
Author: Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Publish Date: November 29, 2016
Source: HarperCollins and TLC Book Tours
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "The first of his family to go to college, Anil Patel, the golden son, carries the weight of tradition and his family’s expectations when he leaves his tiny Indian village to begin a medical residency in Dallas, Texas, at one of the busiest and most competitive hospitals in America. When his father dies, Anil becomes the de facto head of the Patel household and inherits the mantle of arbiter for all of the village’s disputes. But he is uneasy with the custom, uncertain that he has the wisdom and courage demonstrated by his father and grandfather. His doubts are compounded by the difficulties he discovers in adjusting to a new culture and a new job, challenges that will shake his confidence in himself and his abilities.
Back home in India, Anil’s closest childhood friend, Leena, struggles to adapt to her demanding new husband and relatives. Arranged by her parents, the marriage shatters Leena’s romantic hopes, and eventually forces her to make a desperate choice that will hold drastic repercussions for herself and her family. Though Anil and Leena struggle to come to terms with their identities thousands of miles apart, their lives eventually intersect once more—changing them both and the people they love forever."
My Two Cents:
"The Golden Son" is the story of Anil, a 20-something year old who leaves behind everything he knows in India to complete his medical residency in Dallas, Texas. While he is trying to figure out the United States while trying to stay true to himself and his family, his childhood friend, Leena is forced into an loveless marriage. Both of these characters will have to figure out how to stay true to themselves while moving forward with their lives. This is a good book
I love books set in India, a place that I am absolutely fascinated with, so the setting appealed to me. As I mentioned, the book is also partially set in Dallas. I loved the juxtaposition between the unknown and the known for me. I really thought that it helped me appreciate just how different Anil's life is between India and the United States. In the U.S., Anil is a fish out of water. He is trying to get used to the culture and he's trying to understand how things are done at the hospital where he is doing his residency. He messes up a lot and begins to lose confidence at first. When he returns to India on a visit, he is looked to as a wise adviser after his father passes away. The difference in how he is seen in both places was fascinating to me.
Even with all of Anil's trials and tribulations, I was even more interested in Leena's story. As a woman in India, Leena has fewer choices than men like Anil. She is supposed to be a subservient wife and she has a very hard time figuring out her place in her new household. Some of her story is very hard to read because you feel so bad for the things that she is going through but I think it's so important to read stories that make you uncomfortable because it'll make you think a little bit more. Leena's story still unfortunately rings true for many women around the world.
The writing of the book was good. The subject matter is fascinating, which helped to carry the story. There were a couple places that could used more showing and less telling. There were also a few places that could have been smoothed out a bit in order to increase the flow of the book. Overall, I loved how the characters were written and that the author looked at two very different perspectives throughout the book. That definitely pulled me in!