Set in 1980’s Trinidad, this is the story of a family of Indian origin. Clyde and Joy Deyalsingh are parents to twin boys, Peter and Paul. Peter is a genius and Paul has developmental delays, which are believed by the family to be a result of a difficult birth. The parents find themselves in a tough situation eventually and make a choice that is hard to live with. This is a story with many important lessons but the most important is the lesson about unconditional love, which is crucial for all parents around the world to understand and thrive for.
You won’t find any larger than life, idealistic, intelligent and inspiring characters in this story but I feel that it’s all intended. The intent is to showcase the flaws in a society and culture (not just Trinidadian culture but also Indian culture since the main characters are of Indian origin) by narrating a story truthfully. It’s so easy to not see that a certain behavior is wrong when everybody around you seems to be indulging in that behavior, accepting it fully, without any questions.
There are certain incidents and descriptions in this book that took me back to my own childhood in India. These are the parts that I appreciated the most because they seemed authentic to me. That said, I can also see how these parts may be hard to comprehend for someone who grew up in the west. To me, all the characters and situations felt very real. The author’s narrative felt very authentic. The generous use of Trinidadian English added more authenticity to the story. It may be easy for some to judge Clyde and Joy after reading this book, but not for me. To me, they are both a product of their own upbringing and circumstances. It’s just sad. .
Last but not the least, talk about being transported to a different place. This book accomplished that beautifully. This is actually what I enjoyed the most about this book. You will get an authentic immersion into the culture and lifestyle in Trinidad, as it was back in the 80’s. I will also say this, this book is disturbing on many levels because it is so real. Overall, this was an amazing read for me.