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Saraswati's Way Hardcover – November 9, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
Only a few days of this backbreaking physical labor and some quick calculations led Akash to conclude that the debt would continue to grow no matter how hard he worked. He managed to sneak onto a passenger train for New Delhi and join up with a group of boys at the train station who supported themselves by going through the trash and selling plastic bottles. However, as Akash became more exposed to the darker side of street life, including petty crime, gambling, and drugs, he would need the guidance of Saraswati the goddess of knowledge as well as his own keen intuition to steer him toward the right path.
Set in a rural Indian village as well as the bustling train station and streets of New Delhi, this novel provides young learners with a glimpse of what it could take for an orphaned and unwanted child to survive in the most challenging of circumstances. A relatively gentle tone helps to introduce middle grade readers to issues associated with child poverty and child labor that they may otherwise not read much about.
Like many Americans, I'll admit that the Ninja is woefully ignorant of other cultures and my knowledge of India comes mostly from Slumdog Millionaire, Apu from The Simpsons, and Karl Pilkington's journey to the Taj Mahal on An Idiot Abroad. I have Indian friends, but they've been Americanized. If you're an American who is already very familiar with India and its culture, you're still going to love Saraswati's Way because at its heart it's a great story well told. But for the ignorant, such as myself, it is fascinating to have this opportunity to learn more about Indian culture and social rules wrapped around a compelling story.
From a craft perspective, Saraswatti's Way is a great example about how to write about setting and how the choice of setting informs every aspect of the story. If you're a science fiction writer describing other worlds, or a small town Indiana boy like me writing about small town Indiana, Monika Shroder is a wonderful world builder and her work is worth studying. See how she delivers exposition about culture we need to know to understand the story without ever interrupting the story. To even understand the title, you need to know that Saraswatti is the Indian goddess of knowledge and to know the importance of religion in Indian culture.Read more ›
The novel highlights many social and economic problems- the plight of the rural poor burdened with debt, child labour, drugs and state of education. Yet it does so without pessimism and hopelessness. The author does not try to find an easy solution but is able to imbue hope that if one tries one can still beat the odds.
I felt there is also a deeper message in the novel - Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, does not come by wishing or praying alone. Knowledge has to be acquired and to be sought by doing the right things. ( The vehicle of goddess Sarawati is a swan which is fabled for its ability to distinguish pure milk from milk mixed with water i.e, separate the good from the bad.) That is Saraswati's way. Akash, a devotee of goddess Saraswati, learns this lesson through his struggles to reach his goal.
The characters in the novel are realistic and can be encountered in everyday life in India. Having lived close to where the action takes place in Delhi one can appreciate the accuracy of details. Due credit also needs to be given to the author who has successfully been able to capture the stories of the deities and the local customs and traditions .
They say storytelling is a powerful way of teaching. This novel is definitely one such story which you may like to read and share it with children.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was amazing!!!!! I loved how the author took you to India in her book and described it so well you thought you were there. Read morePublished on April 21, 2013 by Kathryn J Perrotta