This is kind of cheating since I wrote this for a book report book, but all the same here goes:
Trail of Broken Wings
by Sejal Badani
report by David Kummer
For my book report book, I read Trail of Broken Wings by Sejal Badani. The author is from India, as are the main characters, so there is a plethora of Indian influences on the book, from some of the words the characters to use to their meals and also the events they celebrate. The book is a Literary Fiction book, but there are elements of suspense and mystery as the author keeps you guessing as to some plot points.
In the book, Sonya is a photographer who ran away from home after college. Her mother, father, two sisters, and their husbands all live in the same town. Sonya plans never to return there because of her childhood, when her father abused her, one of her sisters, and their mother. However, her father falls into a comma and she finally relents to her mother’s wishes, returning home.
Once there, the neatly sorted lives of the four, related women start to unravel. In only a few weeks, each of their lives fall apart in it’s own way. Sonya sees one sister, Trisha, get divorced, the other, Marian, discover her daughter’s horrifying secret, and her mother, Ranee, deal with what she has done that nobody knows about.
Each of them has secrets, and only when all the secrets are revealed will they be able to build up a normal life.
Sonya deals with helping her two sisters and mother, all while dealing with her own personal struggles. From her love interest with a doctor at the hospital, she finds a new photography opportunity, working with cancer patients at the hospital and using photography as a means to help them heal, both emotionally and physically. She sees herself in the broken patients, and gradually spends more time with the doctor, David, until at last she tells him the family secret and waits to see whether he will leave.
Their mother makes the final say in the matter of their father, deciding whether he will live or die, whether they should pull the plug or give him more time. But when all of them are ready to turn off the machines, Marian’s daughter, Gia, wants to keep him alive. Marian is forced to tell Gia the truth about what happened when they were younger.
The main conflinct in the story, for each of the sisters and mother, is undoubedtly versus themselves. However, Gia faces a dilemma in which she is pitted against both herself and another person, her boyfriend. When they all thought the abuse was long over, Gia falls back into the lifestyle they all knew so well- the lifestyle of a punching bag.
This was a fantastic book in my opinion. The descriptions were vivid and made the whole story seem very realistic. As well, the few scenes that took place in India seemed familiar enough to understand but foreign enough to make it exciting. The author’s Indian heritage greatly affected how the book was wrote, but in the end it turned out wonderfully.
Although this is a very depressing book, the ending is better than one would expect. The characters were friendly and enjoyable to read about. Every time something happened, I found myself rooting for them, hoping they would turn out better in the end, so that when the final page came I was prepared to see if they would win and desperately hoping they would.
I would definitely read the book again, because there were enough layers to the story that I could not possibly get bored. It was fun to read once, and would be just as enjoyable if I did so a second time.
Reading the book, I gained a much wider understanding of abuse victims and how it affects them psychologically. There were so many new things I learned, they couldn’t all possibly be put into a report. The emotional trauma that followed them was evident. What I found interesting was that all four women dealed with the abuse in four completely unique ways. It was interesting.
The ending wasn’t predictable until the last chapter actually came, and even then I kept reading because I wanted to be sure it would happen. Like I said, I was hoping for the characters to win.
The characters were developed phenomanally, taking most of the story to fully flesh them out. Every chapter offered a new piece of their lives that I was eager and glad to lump with the other characteristics and traits I’d learned.
While the conflict is (hopefully) not one everybody can relate to, the sense of man vs. self was definitely something we have all gone through, so that part of it was relatable. Besides that, there was the drama within the family and, of course, the love story that all of us have experienced before.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a sad read or likes Literary Fiction novels, where there are, as Stephen King says, “extraordinary people in ordinary situations.” While this isn’t exactly an ordinary situation, there are indeed extraordinary people, and you would do well to pay a little money to spend time with you.
MY RATING: 8.5/10