NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar

4.0 out of 5 stars Choices. Friendship. Forgiveness...

Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Dr. Maggie Bose is asked to visit a new patient who was admitted after an attempted suicide the previous night. Lakshmi, immigrated from India, and estranged from her family left behind, is startled and hesitant to confide in the African American psychologist. Their relationship moves beyond the professional one usually mandated in therapy and becomes a sort of friendship as Maggie and her Indian husband, Sudhir, try to help Lakshmi make changes in her own marriage and improve her situation in life.

Unfortunately, both Maggie and Lakshmi have different expectations of their roles in the unequal relationship they have. Both ultimately disappoint and hurt each other in ways that permanently fracture their fragile connection. Lakshmi, upset by something that Maggie has said in response to a revelation, is stunned by an unexpected discovery of her friend's secret, and does something that completely shakes up Maggie's life. Forgiveness -- difficult to give and sometimes hard to accept.

This book created a wide range of emotions as I read and I often felt that I could not really connect with either character. The choices and reactions they had to situations were none that I could identify with and neither did I really like Maggie or Lakshmi though I was empathetic to their emotional pain at times. I did not appreciate Lakshmi's first person narrative in dialect and that was irritating enough to cause me to rate the book lower. Despite that, the way that the author writes is really amazingly profound. The manner in which her characters experience personal revelations and insight probe the depths of the human heart and our capacity for love and forgiveness even though our follies and foibles often strain the bonds of family and friendship.

The conclusion is satisfying and fitting and I would recommend this to book groups as it definitely will provide for some great discussion of these themes.

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