Audience: Middle Grade
Format: e-Book/Library copy
Talking to you was always easy, Rukku. But writing's hard.
- opening sentences
This book is written in the form of a letter from Viji to her sister Rukku. In the first couple of chapters, we find out that Viji & Rukku's father is abusive to their mother and mean to Rukku (who is developmentally disabled). But when their father turns his violence on the girls, eleven-year-old Viji decides they have no choice but to run away. She believes it's the only way to protect Rukku from their father. Homeless, Viji & Rukku are alone in a dangerous and uncaring world. Luckily, they find shelter on an abandoned bridge with two young boys and they become a family.
Venkatraman tackles issues of religion, social justice, and the meaning of family as she gives us a glimpse into the heart-wrenching life of India's homeless children. Her writing transported me to the streets of India - it wasn't hard to imagine the smells and the slime of the trash heaps the kids had to wade through. The kids face danger and hardships every day, but amidst their struggle to survive, the four children become a family and find love, support, courage, and hope together.
This is a must-read book that touched my heart, broke it, and put it back together again.
I read this for the Booklikes-opoly Silk Road railroad space. It has 160 pages making it worth $2.00.