Wednesday, January 21, 2015

#105 : Daughter By Court Order by Ratna Vira : A Review


BOOK TITLE: Daughter By Court Order
ISBN: 8172345216
AUTHOR: Ratna Vira
GENRE: Fiction
FORMAT: Paperback
REVIEW BY: Shree Janani
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy from Fingerprint! Publishers. Thank you guys!

SUMMARY :A seemingly innocent remark over an innocuous cup of tea. Aranya discovers that her family has been fighting a decade-long legal battle over her grandfather’s expansive estate, all the while not only keeping her in the dark, but also keeping her very existence out of the court’s knowledge!
A cesspool of emotions, half-truths, betrayals, and the unspooling of long buried dirty family secrets threaten to overpower Aranya and disrupt what modicum of peace and balance she has in her life as a single mother of two children. At the centre of this storm is the one woman who, ever since the day Aranya was born, has had nothing but curses and abuses for her; who has deliberately kept her name out of the court; who has wished her dead for every day of her life; who refuses to now remember her birth. The woman who is her mother. Her own mother.

This is the story of a woman fighting against power, money, deceit, and treachery for her right to be recognised as a daughter. A daughter by court order . . .


A summary that promises the tale of an unwanted daughter and tackling the social stigma of gender inequality is sure to catch the eyes for avid readers. Add the writers’ background (her parents are renowned journalists) to the summary, the book is sure to create a wave. Throw in some brilliant promotional plans by the publishers and la! We have a best seller. That’s this book is a nutshell.

Our protagonist, Aranya is the quintessential unwanted female child loathed by her own mother, mistreated by her brother and let down by her father. Thanks to unconditional love from her grandparents and aunts, she manages to grow into a confident adult who can stand up for herself in-spite of her own mother plotting against her. She goes onto to win a court battle against her mother who categorically denies that she has a daughter (Thus the title).

Characterisation: Majority of the characters barring a few were well penned. The story line aided the characterisation, for, the subject requires not just protagonists, but the supporting characters as well to pack a punch.  The only character that required a lot more depth was that of Aranya’s husband. His characterisation was rather shallow and didn’t quite do justice to the whole story line. Aranya’s kids desrve a special mention. It is easy to show multitudes in an adult’s character. Showing variance and making a child character emote is not an easy task. The writer sure aced it!

Narration & Story line: The theme of gender inequality requires a compulsive narration. Especially when the protagonist’s own mum is portrayed as a misogynist who spews venom on her own daughter, the writer is forced to an arduous position to cook up something truly compulsive. This writer managed to put forth a compelling story. The narration did have some fair share of slips but that could be overlooked, for, the crux of the story was narrated well enough.

There are two ways of emoting: Active (Shouting out, using brash words) and passive (Silent tears, sad smile!). The writer has portrayed both ways with such perfection that even a novice reader can distinguish between all sorts of emotions. In such stories laden with sadness, writers by enlarge tend to get sadness, pain and anger all confused. This writer managed to create distinction between the three most over abused emotion.
Language: Needless to say that the off spring of a journalist and a highly educated economist can’t possibly mess up with language. The writer’s knowledge of the language aided in delivering all the right emotions that a given situation requires. It is pleasantly and mildly shocking that the writer is a rookie.

To sum it up, in a country that worships mothers, a tale of neglect and hatred with a compelling narration is bound to become a best-seller.

VERDICT: Must read. The plight of a daughter can’t be portrayed better than this

RATING: 4.5 on 5

Ratna Vira holds a masters degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science, as well as a masters in English Literature from St Stephen’s College, University of Delhi. She also holds an MBA.

She is the daughter of senior journalist, Nalini Singh, and SPN Singh.

Ratna juggles her corporate career with her writing and love of art. She lives in Gurgaon with her daughter and son, where she is at work on her second novel.

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Paperback & Digital

PRICE: Rs.180.50 (Digital)


Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse

1 comment:

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