Friday, June 28, 2019

The Bridge Home

The Bridge Home. Padma Venkatraman. 2019. 208 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Talking to you was always easy, Rukku. But writing's hard. "Write her a letter," Celina Aunty said, laying a sheet of paper on the desk.

Premise/plot: The Bridge Home is a coming of age children's novel set in India. Viji, our heroine, is writing to her sister, Rukku, recounting the past few months. It's written in second person past tense. (That's a bit unusual, but oddly enough it works for the most part.) Their adventures begin when Viji and Rukku run away from home--their father is abusive, and their mother can't stop him. They have very little, but Viji is confident that she'll be able to find some kind of work in the big city. But will she? Can she find a way to support her little sister?

In the big city, the two are homeless. They become family with two boys--Arul and Muthi.  These four may be homeless and living day to day but they've found something special in each other.

My thoughts: The Bridge Home isn't for the faint of heart. It's a SAD, SAD, SAD book. And not because there's a dog on the cover. It addresses big issues--poverty, hunger, homelessness, etc. It is beautifully written.

I took the orange and turned it around, just as you had. It glowed like a small, pale sun. I felt its weight, its perfect ripeness--not too soft, not too firm. I breathed in its citrus scent. I started to peel it, noticing things I'd never noticed before: how the leathery peel isn't colored the same all the way through, how the papery sections inside feel like leafy veins, how the pulp is shaped like raindrops. When, at last, I placed a section in my mouth, I could hear it burst as my teeth met the flesh, squeezing the juice out onto my tongue, tart at first and then sweet. Everything else melted away except for the taste, the smell, the feel of the fruit on my tongue. I ate the fruit slowly. The way you liked to do things. Until then, I'd thought it was a sad thing that you were sometimes slower than the rest of us. But that day, I realized that slow can be better than fast. Like magic, you could stretch time out when we needed it, so that a moment felt endless. So the taste of half an orange could last and last. (45)

© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comment:

Lark said...

I have this book on my Goodreads want to read list. It just sounds so good.