Sunday, March 28, 2010

Climbing the Stairs

Climbing the Stairs by Padma Venkatraman
G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2008
247 pages
Genre: YA; Historical

Summary: Vidya is a young girl living in India circa 1941. Her father is beaten by police during a nonviolent protest and the family must move in with the strict paternal family. There the genders are separated and Vidya laments her former more liberal lifestyle. Then her brother enlists, violating family wishes and their father's example of nonviolence.

Why I Read: I realized that I had started my other challenges but not this one so I jumped right in with a book from my list.

Thoughts: I found Vidya very engaging and it was easy to agree with her viewpoint and dislike her traditional aunts and uncles. Her ambition is to go to college and I also find that admirable. The story also has romance in the form of someone I think is her cousin (but might not be) who is going to MIT and will be away from the war. Vidya is very isolated after the move, no friends at school, no friends at home but she has books. That's why she climbs the stairs in fact, to enter the family's library. In the Author's Note, Venkatraman explains how her own family was an inspiration for the book, which I thought was really interesting.

Overall: 4 out of 5. Not too sure about the ending, it seemed a little too pat.

Cover: I like the colors and the pattern on the top but it's a little boring.

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