Wow. This book was super powerful. I have a hard time with books like this. It was so incredibly sad, heart-breaking, and hard to read at times. So it’s not a book that I can easily say “It’s so good go read it” But if I look at the writing style and the story of overcoming your past, redemption, and moving forward, it is a powerful read. Just be prepared and warned.
The story follows an Indian family, moved to the United States from India when the children were young. The father, Brent, is now in a coma, and the family comes back together as he nears the end. Like many books, this book flashes back to the past to explain what is going on in the present. Brent’s wife is Ranee and together they have three girls, Marin, Trisha, and Sonya.
We come to know each of these characters very intimately. Brent only through his wife and daughters and their memories. In reading the book description, which I pasted below, I’m not sure that I ever really came to understand Brent’s actions or at least never felt any bit of sympathy for him. His wife, Ranee, tried hard to be the typical submissive wife all while holding in and experiencing a lot of pain at Brent’s hand. And seemed to constantly struggle with providing for and protecting her daughters. She is really a complex character as the book goes on and I came to really understand her decisions, some of which I couldn’t ever imagine having to make. But she probably surprised me the most of anyone.
Marin, the eldest, forced into an arranged marriage, much like her mother, is the Type A, super competitive sister, daughter, wife, and mother. We get glimpses into her marriage to Raj, and her daughter Gia is a prominent character throughout the book as the past meets the present. Also tormented growing up at Brent’s hand, we come to understand why she is who she is and how to use that moving forward.
Trisha, the middle daughter, works hard to maintain perfection. Married to a man of her choice, and always Brent’s favorite, she appears to have it all together. As we learn more about Trisha, we see this is not the case, as she holds some dark secrets from the past that come to light throughout the book.
Then there is Sonya, who throughout her entire life, had been told she should have been aborted. Promised a boy, Brent decided to not abort Ranee’s third pregnancy, but when Sonya arrived, she took the majority of his frustration and could never live up to his expectations. Now a world-traveled photographer estranged from her family for the last many years, she comes home to face her demons.
I could go on, this book had so many levels and characters, but all so flawlessly brought together for this powerful story of not letting your past define you and moving forward. It ends with an encouraging message and left me thinking about it for days.
I would recommend this book, just go in expecting to be challenged. Hugging my kids a little tighter after this.
Thank you to Kindle First for offering this book for April.
When her father falls into a coma, Indian American photographer Sonya reluctantly returns to the family she’d fled years before. Since she left home, Sonya has lived on the run, free of any ties, while her soft-spoken sister, Trisha, has created a perfect suburban life, and her ambitious sister, Marin, has built her own successful career. But as these women come together, their various methods of coping with a terrifying history can no longer hold their memories at bay.
Buried secrets rise to the surface as their father—the victim of humiliating racism and perpetrator of horrible violence—remains unconscious. As his condition worsens, the daughters and their mother wrestle with private hopes for his survival or death, as well as their own demons and buried secrets.
Told with forceful honesty, Trail of Broken Wings reveals the burden of shame and secrets, the toxicity of cruelty and aggression, and the exquisite, liberating power of speaking and owning truth.