Before We Visit the Goddess relays the story of three generations of women in a traditional Indian family. Sabitri falls for an unreachable and unobtainable Indian man and loses her chance at an education, but her skills lead her to creating a sweets shop that is known across the city. However, the shop leaves little time for her to spend with her daughter, Bela. Bela connects to her father but then loses him during the divorce. Bela follows her love to Houston, Texas where she is sure paradise awaits (or at least an easier life). She becomes estranged from her mother and Sabitri turns to her own mother for help.
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni elegantly leads the reader through the twists and turns of life given the complications of culture, family expectations, and words left unsaid. It was easy to connect to the characters because the writing was crisp and clear. The characters were realistic and the dialogue believable. The story explores the dynamics of mothers and daughters caught in the cross-hairs of cultural and generation differences, as well as the complications of expectations, believed or real. Although this reviewer felt the ending was a bit weak, Before We Visit the Goddess will leave the reader wondering about the relationship they have with their parents and what should be said before it is too late.
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