“When a man loves a woman
Recovering addict Nick Dorsey finds solace in his regimented life. That is until he meets Shyla Metha. Something about the shy Indian beauty who delivers take-out to his Greenwich Village loft inspires the reclusive writer. And when Shyla reveals her desire to write a book of her own, he agrees to help her. The tale of a young Indian girl growing up against a landscape of brutal choices isn’t Nick’s usual territory, but something about the story, and the beautiful storyteller, draws him in deep.
Shyla is drawn to Nick, but she never imagines falling for him. Like Nick, Shyla hails from a village, too…a rural village in India. They have nothing in common, yet he makes her feel alive for the first time in her life. She is not ready for their journey to end, but the plans she’s made cannot be broken…not even by him. Can they find a way to rewrite the next chapter?”
Holy crap guys. This is a lot to take in. I feel like my brain just ran from California to NYC all by itself.
Part of that might be due to the sinus infection I have. I’m almost impressed with how much this book took on.
It at least attempted to address the issue of Female gendercide, drug addiction recovery, child brides, surviving abuse, sexual assaults, running against cultural norms, and the pluses and minuses of giving a child up for adoption (although the mother didn’t really have a choice in that matter.) It also addresses mixed relationships, marriages, 3rd world education, and a determination to survive.
It was almost pulled off perfectly. But somehow it lacked….concise execution. I feel like our two main characters were well thought out. But I felt the surrounding characters were missing texture.
And while most of the issues were addressed with tender conviction, there were a few side issues that I felt were too distracting from the main context.
There is a lesbian relationship involved, and while that isn’t forbidden from stories, I felt that when it did come up, it was preachy and forced.
I realize that the lesbian marriage was an allegory for something else, but in this manner the book did not succeed.
I even realize that these two characters were actually vital to the plot, yet it was just so much to tend to, that it came off as a little….overzealous. I think. It came off as…a little contrived. My suspension of belief fell a bit and it just made me aware that this was in fact, a fiction story. (One with very real implications.)
But there were amazing aspects of the book too. It weaved in elements of both Indian and American cultures, and our misunderstandings about each other. (yes, it shows that the road can be traveled both ways. For the good, or the bad.)
I liked that.
It also showed some cute moments of Nick explaining things to Shyla, and vice versus. I guess some people feel like those moments were played down and that in reality, there would be an even greater culture clash.
But let’s be honest here, this 290 page book is tackling much bigger issues than just culture clash. If any more had been included, it would have ripped us away from the heart of the story. This book isn’t about the here and now, it’s about the past, and the future. Except, who am I to really gauge this? I don’t know that much about Indian culture or even India in general. I’d really like to go find a fellow blogger who is Indian and have her really take it apart and find out how she feels about the accuracy/integrity of the cultural content involved.
Speaking of which, I found the relationship between Nick and Shyla mostly sweet. But I’ll admit, I wasn’t as attached to Nick as I thought I should be. I did like him, but as far as personally falling in love with him, I didn’t.
I did however like that M.K. Schiller addressed that all of us have our struggles. Even in the first world, we have devastating tragedies. It conveyed that you can’t compare apples to oranges.
Both characters changed, although how much so, I’m not sure. Shyla made a sacrifice in the name of love. Nick ended up sacrificing too, but Shyla’s sacrifice wasn’t really relevant to being with Nick. So that felt a little bit uneven in my heart.
But another thing I loved, was the immersion of the story. Yes, the ending was predictable. But the narrative the ‘book’ inside the book is being written, was very dark and very real. It was an immersive perspective, instead of a vocal one scattered throughout main character dialogue.
Technically speaking, I think that it could have used some work. It came off a little rough, and a little un-restrained in terms of topics.
Another thing that danced on the edge of believability. There’s a certain character in the book’s book, that goes through a miraculous recovery. While she does have a therapist mentioned, I feel like being able to recover from all of that within months, and be where she is in life, just four years later, is…..well, unbelievable. Sorry. I’ve been through some trauma myself (not nearly as severe as the character.) and It’s three years since then and I still have significant hold backs. I shouldn’t compare the two, but it just made me hesitate a little. I just didn’t know how to feel about it.
Bottom line? Writing: 3.5 Content: 3.5 stars. What ultimately led me to giving it four stars, was its intention. This book was a daunting challenge, one that the author tackled and very nearly conquered.
It has a crap-ton of content.
If you feel like reading a sobering account of abuse, ending with recovery and a romance, I’d absolutely recommend it to you.
I received this book in exchange for an honest review. It has not altered my review for this book in any way, shape or form.