Author: Gabriel Packard
Publisher: Corsair Books
Published: 3rd March 2016
Source: Netgalley and Publisher
Date read: 12th March 2017
Synopsis from Goodreads:
When I was a little girl, my dad left me and my mum, and he never came back. And you’re supposed to be gutted when that happens. But secretly I preferred it without him, cos it meant I had my mum completely to myself, without having to share her with anyone. And I sort of inherited all the affection she used to give to my dad – like he’d left it behind for me as a gift, to say sorry for deserting me
So says eleven year old Shruti of her broken home in suburban middle England. But hopes of her mother’s affection are in vain: speaking little English, and fluent in only Hindi and Punjabi, Shruti’s mother is lost, and soon falls prey to family pressure to remarry. To find another husband means returning to India and leaving Shruti behind.
Meanwhile at school a new arrival, the indomitable Meena, dispenses with Shruti’s bullying problems and transforms her day-to-day life. Desperate for companionship Shruti latches on to Meena to the point of obsession, following her through high school and on to university. But when Meena invites Shruti to join her on holiday in India, she has no idea how dangerous her obsession will turn out to be…
*I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher Corsair in exchange for an honest review*
This is another one of my books that I read for #Beatthebacklist 2017 challenge, most of these books are Netgalley books that I have not managed to get around to reading….sorry Netgalley.
Oh I don’t know where to begin with this book,I was very apprehensive about reading it as the rating on Goodreads is 2.86 which is pretty low and only saw a handful of 5 star reviews. I didn’t read any reviews beforehand as I wanted to go in with an open mind.
This is Gabriel Packards debut novel and is definitely an interesting read but unsure of what genre this would fall under as it’s a story of this Indian girls life and just how awful it is.
‘The Painted Ocean’ is told from the perspective of Shruti, her father has just upped and left, disgracing her mother according to her uncle and the rest of the family. With little money and her mother unable to speak English life becomes difficult for Shruti, especially when her Uncle is arranging for her Mother to return to India to marry. Shruti will not be moving to India with her mother as her existence will ruin her mothers chances of marriage, however when Shruti mentions to the headmistress that her uncle has threatening her she finds herself in the care system and her mother abandons her. Shruti’s life sucks, she is now in the care system and being bullied by other kids at her school as she is the only Indian girl until Meena arrives. Meena is also Indian,but she has this way with words and people and gets everything she wants. Shruti clings to Meena as she has shown her kindness and becomes her friend…but is she really her friend?
The book follows Shruti from eleven years old to when she is an adult but I felt the writing didn’t progress as her age did. There were lots of ‘Like’ and ‘Cos’ in the writing that I felt was overly used and got quite annoying in the end and she would even use this terminology when she was an adult.
All the characters were unlikable, we had her mother that abandoned her though she didn’t leave for India for ages. Her Uncle was horrible and made sure she knew that she was unwanted and then there was Meena who had the gift of the gab but just used Shruti and would only be her friend when it was convenient for her.
I found the plot of this to be really unrealistic especially towards the end, everything just conveniently happened and some parts I thought were too strung out.
The story kept me interested and was easy to read but the writing style was not for me and I just found it to be unrealistic. This is definitely a book that you will love or hate.
I rated this book 2 out of 5 stars.
Thanks for reading