Monday, October 13, 2014

The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar

4 Star

An experienced psychologist, Maggie carefully maintains emotional distance from her patients. But when she meets a young Indian woman who tried to kill herself, her professional detachment disintegrates. Cut off from her family in India, Lakshmi is desperately lonely and trapped in a loveless marriage to a domineering man who limits her world to their small restaurant and grocery store.

Moved by her plight, Maggie treats Lakshmi in her home office for free, quickly realizing that the despondent woman doesn't need a shrink; she needs a friend. Determined to empower Lakshmi as a woman who feels valued in her own right, Maggie abandons protocol, and soon doctor and patient have become close friends.

But while their relationship is deeply affectionate, it is also warped by conflicting expectations. When Maggie and Lakshmi open up and share long-buried secrets, the revelations will jeopardize their close bond, shake their faith in each other, and force them to confront painful choices.

Sabrina-Kate - 4 Star

What a heartfelt and achingly realistic story.  I always find the stories of the struggles of immigrants to be very compelling and important to consider. The story of Lakshmi was one that almost broke my heart yet I found her to be more courageous and strong that we would initially have suspected (which was a triumph I was not quite expecting) initially. Her part of the story was more compelling than Maggie's for me as I did not really care for her personality much of the time.

These two main characters were very different and yet they connected in many ways despite their very different circumstances. I found that Lakshmi was a more humble and realistic person and Maggie came accross as a bit of a snob at times which only increased my empathy for Lakshmi.

I really did enjoy the glimpse into what a life would be like for someone coming from another country and one that had very different customs and beliefs from my own. I felt that we were given a realistic portrayal of what goes on and I cannot imagine how difficult such a transition could be.

This novel was definitely remarkable and thought-provoking and kept me interested as I could never figure out what would happen next. It made me very sad at times but I feel like that just increased the realistic nature of the tale being told.

I feel like a lot of important topics were broached in this story and that the author probably used a fair amount of her own experiences which only made this novel more heartfelt.

Thank you to Harper for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

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