Girls Burn Brighter

Girls Burn Brighter

Book - 2018
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A searing, electrifying debut novel set in India and America, about a once-in-a-lifetime friendship between two girls who are driven apart but never stop trying to find one another again. In breathtaking prose, Shobha Rao tackles the most urgent issues facing women today: domestic abuse, human trafficking, immigration, and feminism. At once a propulsive page-turner and a heart-wrenching meditation on friendship, Rao's debut novel is a literary tour de force.
Publisher: New York : Flatiron Books, ©2018.
ISBN: 9781250074256
Characteristics: 307 pages ;,25 cm.

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r
ritikanathani
Nov 25, 2018

I enjoyed reading Girls Burn Brighter, specially the first half. I was invested the the friendship that Rao has portrayed between Poornima and Savitha and I was rooting for them throughout the book.

The story is fast paced and never boring, even though at times the author is overindulgent in describing the surroundings and background. The writing style does a good job in utilizing the sense of sight, smell, taste and touch, specially for the parts that are based in India.

With this story Rao has touched upon almost all the social issues faced by women and girls in India and perhaps rest of the world - Poverty, Lack of Education, Female Infanticide, Eve Teasing, Rape, Marital Rape, Dowry, Acid Attacks/ Burn Attacks, Domestic Violence, and Human and Sex Trafficking. There is usually an immediate shock value associated with this theme. But the friendship between the protagonists

Where I was a little bit disappointed was-
1. The series of coincidences in the second half seemed 'movie-like' to me. It was a bit far fetched and seemed rushed unlike the first half which flowed much more naturally.
2. Lack of exploring any male characters- Mohan, or Poornima's husband, or Poornima's father. I wish the book could have delved more into their motivations and their psyche. Spoiler Alert It just seemed so unconvincing to me that Mohan agreed to help Poornima in her search. I agree that he was conflicted, but it was not enough to explain his role in helping her find Savitha.

Overall this was a very good debut novel and I would be looking out for more books from the author.

P.S. - For people who really liked this novel, I would recommend to watch a recent Bollywood movie called "Love Sonia". IMDB Description - Inspired by real life events, Love Sonia is the story of a young girl's journey to rescue her sister from the dangerous world of international sex trafficking.

b
brangwinn
Sep 27, 2018

When poverty is so overwhelming, girls in India have no say in their future. It’s a book you want to put down because of the tragedy but the girls’ self-determination in overcoming huge obstacles. If nothing else, you’ll be made aware of the horrors of human trafficking.

Michael Colford Jun 21, 2018

Shobha Rao's first full-length novel is devastating and heart-wrenching, illuminating cruelty and male violence almost to the point where it becomes unbearable. Yet somehow, she manages to illuminate the nearly unquenchable spirit of her two protagonists, Poonimna and Savith as they search for freedom and one another across the globe. This is one tough read, but Rao is an exquisite writer and makes the journey worth it.

l
laphampeak
May 31, 2018

This is a need-to-read story about two Indian girls, Poornima and Savitha, and their fight to survive in an unimaginable economy of living poor, born female, and the ability to survive the mindset of outdated tradition. After reading their plight a reader can never not know the possibility of what may be happening in the background of our own world.

ehbooklover Apr 06, 2018

This was definitely not a light read. In fact, it was pretty brutal and graphic at times but don't let that keep you from giving it a try. This was a powerful story about two very strong women that kept me on the edge of my seat.

debwalker Mar 23, 2018

A devastating story of the unrelenting bonds of friendship.

OPLJessG Feb 14, 2018

This book packs a punch. You will feel it in your gut, and you will not recover easily. A devastating, worthwhile read, not for the faint of heart. Tread cautiously, and you will be rewarded. It's a wonderfully written book that tells the story of a beautiful friendship, and it is heavy on the violence and exploitation they experience. Immersive, and you'll be dwelling on it for days after reading it.

JCLGreggW Jan 23, 2018

A beautiful and powerful novel about the enduring bonds of friendship even in the most trying of circumstances, Shobha Rao's novel is the sort you push into the hands of total strangers with wild-eyed enthusiasm. In a small Indian village, Poornima strikes up a friendship with Savitha, who works alongside her at the loom. After a tragedy drives them apart, Poornima cuts her ties to home and takes enormous risks to find her friend, travelling thousands of miles around the world. Readers will love this timeless and enchanting story.

d
darladoodles
Nov 23, 2017

A big thanks to Flatiron Books for sending me an ARC of this book. The story of Poornima and Savitha is told in a riveting chronicle of their tribulations and trials through their experiences together and apart. The vile treatment they are given by the men in their culture and even some of the women is deplorable and difficult to look at. Yet the two of them burn brightly in spite of the abuse they both suffer from other human beings and we yearn along with them for the two friends to be together once again to support and encourage each other. A beautiful tale of survival despite overwhelming destructive forces all around. Highly recommended!

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