Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bitter Sweets

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Title: Bitter Sweets
Author: Roopa Farooki
Pages: 372
Genre:International Fiction
yearly count: 7

A tale of a family who's only facts are interwoven with deceit and false pretensions. Starting out with the lies told in order to become an actress, the grandmother in this story filles her lips with words that are not true in order to capture he ticket out of the country. Once this one ancestor allows lies to be such a central aspect of her life, she not only impacts her own life, but the life of her deceived husband and passes it on in different forms to the generations that follow. A history of falseness is all that the future generations have to live up to. Love, loss, change and growth are themes of Roopa Farooki's Bitter Sweets novel. A family's story through three generations of learned deception and what it takes to break free from the expectation to cover-up and pretend-- to lie.

No matter how much lying the characters are doing to eachother, the truth stood stronger and spoke louder than any lie. This was a great interesting, fun read and was so good. I have read some reviews that said it was superficial, I don't agree. I felt the author did an excellent work with her characters, settings and working in beautiful and timeless themes. This is the story of an Indian family, that is split between two nations but could be the story of so many as the daily lives they lead are very easy to relate to. I did enjoy this book throughly.

Roopa Farooki brings up questions of love, true love and arraigned marriages, however in this book truth is the strongest theme. Where would your family be without truth? She brings up and interesting concept, that truth can sometimes be told at the expense of hurting our loved one only to selfishly clear our own conscience. I loved reading Bitter Sweets, it was interesting to see how things took place.

What do you think? Is it truth at all costs or does it depend? It seems to me that truth may hurt for an instant, but mending is on its way....while lies form a web of guilt and pain that smothers love. What are your thoughts? Farooki portrays the Indian culture as valuing appearance over honesty, I would say the same is true in many parts of America (if not all). What do you think, does our culture value appearance over truth? Which wins here politeness or honesty?


16 comments:

violetcrush said...

i think valuing politeness over honesty is okay if it is with someone who is not very close to you. But with people whom you love, honesty is of utmost importance. Lovely review by the way :)

Meghan said...

I definitely think our culture values appearance over truth. It's a shame, though. I try to be as honest as possible. It's like when people ask, "How are you?" and they only want to hear "good" or "fine" not how you're really feeling.

Great review - I agreed with you.

- Meghan @ Medieval Bookworm

Anna said...

I place a high value on honesty, but do I really want my husband to tell me I look fat in that outfit? Hmm...

Sounds like an interesting book, and I enjoyed your review.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

joanna said...

I think honesty is important but I also think that sometimes appearance does matter. I do think that our society puts too much emphasis on appearances though and I think that as a society we suffer from that. I'm sure many problems, including health ones, could be avoided.

The book sounds interesting, it's on my list now - somewhere around 3025. :-)

thebookladysblog.com said...

I really enjoyed this book right up until the ending, which I thought was a total cop-out. But I agree that it is well-written and does a very nice job of exploring complex family relationships and the issues of deception and betrayal.

S. Krishna said...

Great review. I definitely want to read this one.

The Holistic Knitter said...

Great review - another for the tbr pile!
I've sent you an award here:
http://lyndasbookblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/award-lets-be-friends.html

bermudaonion said...

I do think honesty is important with your family, but in social situations, politeness is fine.

Serena said...

I have to say that honesty is my big priority in any relationship, though I'm sure lies exist in many relationships

this sounds like an intriguing read

Red lady-Bonnie said...

I read and reviewed this book last summer and enjoyed it very much. I agree, this book is not superficial! I found it rich and deep in character development. Great Review!

I believe that our culture definitely values appearance over truth. Sadly, I find that often the emphasis is more on status and power than on truth and sincerity.

Trish said...

Sounds like a really interesting/multi-layered book. I do think that the truth hurts sometimes, but you're right about the web of lies...they just get bigger and bigger and have more potential for hurt in the end.

Literary Feline said...

Great review! I've seen this one on the shelf while browsing through the bookstore and been curious about it. Your review makes me want to give it a try.

As to the honesty vs appearance issue: I value honesty over appearance, however, I do think that some people take that too far and believe they must always speak their mind because the truth MUST be told. Sometimes keeping quiet is the higher road to take. Which I think is a similar concept you mention the author getting across in her book.

I do believe politeness has it's place, and I don't think it has to an either/or issue between politeness and honesty. A person can be polite while being honest.

Meghan mentioned the whole "How are you?" question. I admit that I often answer "fine" when I am feeling anything but. The question is so often asked out of habit and, being a private person, I don't feel any need or urge to unload on someone I do not share intimate details about my life with. I don't think there is any harm in lying in a case like that. It hurts no one.

Literary Feline said...

As if I haven't already said enough. :-) I wanted to add that I do believe that honesty is always the best policy between spouses and significant others. Secrets and lies tend to create wedges between people in close relationships (except what you're getting him for his birthday).

avisannschild said...

I just gave you an award on my blog here.

katrina said...

Thanks for the OT book, its lovely. Once I hve read it it will be shared with other readers via bookcrossing. I also read the last book I won off you lst week, Family Matters, it was fantstic - thanks for sending it, it would have taken me a long time to have gotten round to it otherwise

Veens said...

I think truth is req'd for love and trust to stay with us... but sometimes I don't know... how much you can keep on backing on the truth to help you.

I don't know... for me truth is important.