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The Space Between Us

Have you ever read a bestselling or highly acclaimed book (usually written for adults, since YAs are usually so woefully underappreciated) and just not got it? You know - it's depressing, disturbing, or just plain boring?

Well, The Space Between Us is NOT one of those!

I'll admit that I went into it thinking it was... I've been burned before by so-called "Women's Literature", but Thrity Umrigar's bold, yet gentle, foray was a force to reckoned with. I simply could not dislike it.

Taking place in modern day India, the setting is unique and intriguing but anyone who has read as many books as I have knows that beautiful or different settings do not make a book interesting in the slightest. It's like a person looking great on the exterior, but what's on the inside? The characters are the heart and soul of a book.

And The Space Between Us lavishes the reader with honest, flawed, empathetic characters that pull at your heart strings while still making you cringe during their worst moments.

Bhima is a harried housekeeper and has been for many, many years. She has swam through the bitter waters of life and come up to the surface just that - bitter. Her once happy life has dissolved into an existence based on work, going home to a slum where people go to the bathroom in the same place, where the smell drifts to the streets, and the privacy is at a minimum. And now, the one person that had made her life glimmer with hope again - her college attending granddaughter - is unwed and pregnant and refusing to say who the father is.

Sera is a tired woman herself. After years of mental and physical abuse, she is now free of her husband (deceased) but feels empty. All she has is her beloved daughter and her charming son-in-law who are about to bring a little grandchild into the world. Things are looking up for her, but she is still troubled by her past. A past only Bhima truly knows, having been her housekeeper for years and having witnessed the evidence of Sera's injuries and bruises.

To give too much more would be to disservice the journey the reader goes on with these remarkable women. It is a story with no clearcut answers, but enough to keep the pages turning lightening fast. I was surprised by just how entertaining the book was, in terms of not wanting to put it down. You wish for the best, but you fear for the worst.

Thrity Umrigar writes with an elegant style, letting us delve into our heroine's memories first hand - instead of just telling us. I enjoyed it thoroughly and found it be refreshing in it's honesty. But I will divulge one disappointment - without giving too much away - I felt that one of the character's story deserved a bit more of a conclusion. I understand the position Thrity left it in, and I appreciate it's poignancy, but I did put it down wanting just a bit more. If anyone reading this review has read this beautiful book, let me know what you thought of the end. You'll know what I'm talking about, I think.

But I definitely recommend it. It was a stunning piece of work. And proof that with a wonderful writing style and excellent character development a simple story (in premise) can become much more.

P.S. What do you guys think of the final results of the Hottest Harry Potter Character poll? A tie (Ron and Harry both got 37% of the votes)! And Neville (12%, a tie with "Other") got a vote! I'll get up a new poll as soon as I can think of one.


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