Tuesday 24 June 2014

Review: The Good Children by Roopa Farooki

The Good Children by Roopa Farooki
Publisher: Tinder Press
Release date: 19 June 2014
Rating: *****
Back cover blurb: 1940s Lahore, the Punjab. Two brothers and their two younger sisters are brought up to be 'good children', who do what they're told. Beaten and browbeaten by their manipulative mother, to study, honour and obey. Sully, damaged and brilliant, Jakie, irreverent and passionate. Cynical Mae and soft-hearted Lana, outshone and too easily dismissed. The boys escape their repressive home to study medicine abroad, abandoning their sisters to their mother and marriages. Sully falls in love with an unsuitable Indian girl in the States; Jakie with an unsuitable white man in London. Their sisters in Pakistan refuse to remain trophy wives, and disgrace the family while they strike out to build their own lives. As they raise their own families, and return to bury the dead, Sully and Jakie, Mae and Lana, face the consequences of their decisions, and learn that leaving home doesn't mean it will ever leave them.

Roopa Farooki was not a novelist who was familiar to me when I was sent the Good Children. However, since reading the novel, she is definitely one I want to become more familiar with. 

The Good Children is without doubt, one of the best novels I have read so far this year. Beautifully written, it transports us through a vast time frame (1938-2009) and both begins and ends in Lahore, Punjab. 

Told through the eyes of each of the 'good children'; Sully, Jakie, Mae and Lana, it takes us through their abusive childhood, their escape into the real world, and their return home in adult hood to bury loved ones.

The Good Children is split into three sections;

Usually I'm not a fan of authors who split their work like this, but in this instance I found it it really worked. Particularly as each chapter was told from a different characters point of view, which some might find difficult to follow. 

Personally I loved hearing from the voice of each character and thought that Farooki did this very well.

The Good Children covers a wide range of emotive subjects, including, rape and domestic violence, racism, sexism, homophobia, cultural differences and the effects on children of parental choices. Each is handled sensitively and explained fully.

Some of the cultural issues/traditions explored may seem shocking to us Westerners, but the reasons for such traditions are explored so brilliantly that we as the reader can perfectly understand the actions, even if we don't agree with them.

The Good Children is a novel that will transport you fully into another world, whilst reminding you of the true value of family. It really teaches us the value of understanding different lifestyles and cultures without being preachy, and I would literally recommend it to everyone.

You will adore it.

The Good Children is available to buy online now and from all good book shops.

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Thank you to the publishers who sent me an advanced proof copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

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