A Toss of a Lemon, by Padma Viswanathan – my review

The Toss of a Lemon is a book that you need a quiet place to read. The story takes place over decades from 1896 to 1958 and is centered around Sivakami a Brahmin girl who married at 10 years old to an astrologer who predicted his own short life. She is only 18 when she becomes a widow with two children to raise. Padma Viswantathan describes the caste and customs that Brahmin women must follow while leading us through the life of Sivakami from childhood till her old age. From her experiences with her children, her servants and the political events that occur during the time, we really see the day to day life of the people in the villages and cities. I was moved by the determination of Sivakami to follow the caste and customs even when modern influences pressured her own family to change. I especially like the author’s writing style as she writes in present tense as opposed to past tense which makes the reading more animated and lively. There are 616 pages in the book so as I mentioned, you definitely need to take some time to really dig into the story. The story is rich in culture and heritage, I really learned a lot about the Brahmin ways after reading the book. I recommend this book to those who love to learn about language, culture and history.

4 stars out 5

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