Book Review: The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar
August 23, 2015 1 Comment
Harper (publisher) says: “An experienced psychologist, Maggie carefully maintains emotional distance from her patients. But when she meets a young Indian woman who tried to kill herself, her professional detachment disintegrates. Cut off from her family in India, Lakshmi is desperately lonely and trapped in a loveless marriage to a domineering man who limits her world to their small restaurant and grocery store.
Moved by her plight, Maggie treats Lakshmi in her home office for free, quickly realizing that the despondent woman doesn’t need a shrink; she needs a friend. Determined to empower Lakshmi as a woman who feels valued in her own right, Maggie abandons protocol, and soon doctor and patient have become close friends.
But while their relationship is deeply affectionate, it is also warped by conflicting expectations. When Maggie and Lakshmi open up and share long-buried secrets, the revelations will jeopardize their close bond, shake their faith in each other, and force them to confront painful choices.”
The Story Hour: What I thought
What a beautiful book!
In this story two women are set off against each other. There is the successful psychologist, Maggie, who follows her own path, and the Indian immigrant who has an abusive husband and no freedom. Lakshmi is an imported bride from India and has no idea about American society as she’s kept virtually isolated in the shop and restaurant of her husband.
After a failed suicide attempt by Lakshmi, the women meet in a professional capacity, but soon their relationship changes. Lakshmi has only ever heard of doctors repairing physical issues, so she doesn’t recognize the doctor–patient relationship and insists theirs is a friendship.
Maggie teaches Lakhsmi the ways of the world, and the Indian woman becomes more and more independent. Of course, as the story unfolds, we find out that the situation around Lakhsmi is not as black and white as we, and Maggie, assumed at first.
Bit by bit, the relationship between the women changes, as do their personal circumstances.
As The World We Found, this is a well-observed, very engaging novel about the status of women in society and in relationships.
Rating: 5 (out of 5)
Number of pages: 318
First published: 2014
I got this book: from the publisher for an honest review
Genre: contemporary fiction
Also read by this author: The World We Found, The Space Between Us