Keeping Corner Review by Kashmira Sheth
In 1918, a twelve year old girl named Leela, lives in a rural village India. At age nine, she is married and ready to move into her husband’s house. Unfortunately he is killed by a rattlesnake. Since she has been widowed, she is not allowed to marry ever again according to the Indian caste system. Widowed, Leela is forced to live alone for a full year also known as ‘living dead”. Forced to have here head shaved and wear ragged clothing, Leela is left with nothing. Fortunately, her brother Kanubhai convinces their family to have a tutor come to Leela while she is living all alone. Saviben, Leela’s tutor, goes to the house every few days. She helps Leela’a progress academically. She also encourages her to read the newspaper and observe the things around her and write all about them. With the help and support of her brother and tutor, Leela, she makes good out of her ’living dead”, and becomes a great student when she fulfills her year in “living dead”. Leela has now been able to reason with her father to take exams that can provide her with the opportunity to advance her education to farther places. If she passes these exams she will be able to escape the mandates of India’s centuries-old caste system and pursue an actual and real career for herself.
It was an alright book to me. I did have a hard time understanding the Indian terms that the author used. It’s a difficult read. I re-read the first couple of chapters at least 3 times to fully understand it. It should be read slowly so you can actually understand it. I recommend this book to teens who like historical novels and/or inspirational books. John K., Teen Reviewer