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This book is about rural poverty in India in the past, and how a pious woman copes with the problems she faces trying to help her family survive. Her deep religious beliefs are not pushed here, but are one reason she finds peace and grace in her situation of poverty, oppression, famine, and societal changes.
One might not agree with her passive acceptance of her life, but it is the way that literally millions of peasants have coped with poverty in many countries in the past.
I am astounded that other reviewers hated the book, presumably because the protagonist didn't think and act like a rich NYC yuppie lady.
Presumably they don't want to recognize that other countries and cultures don't think the same as they do, and recognize the reason behind both the passivity of the masses and the passion of the revolutionaries in poor countries are two sides of the same coin.
This book sucked! It was very depressing and made me want to move to America (even though I already live in America). this book is offensive because I have an Indian friend.