Girls Burn Brighter

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 06 Mar 2018

Member Reviews

This was a tough one to read as it is heartbreakingly sad but oh so lovely as well! When the two young girls, Poornima and Savitha meet, they are drawn to each other through poverty as well as innocence. They are soon separated by a series of more-than-unfortunate events, and the rest of the book is told alternately though each of their eyes. as they endure atrocity after atrocity in their quests for "normal" lives. But what is one to do when poverty is all you've ever known, and you are an uneducated Indian woman tossed out by your family? You do what you must to survive. Enough said. Beautiful and poetic prose make this a must-read even as it's often painful to witness...

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I struggled to write this review and to figure out how many stars to give this book. When I first finished it, I tentatively gave it 3 stars, but upon reflection I’ve rounded that up to 4.

This is a very dark book. It spans 4 years of the friendship between two girls from a small village in India. Poornima and Savitha, whose names mean moon and sun respectively, meet by chance when Savitha is hired to help Poornima’s family with their weaving loom. They become inseparable, and love each other fast and fiercely. They have found each other at a time when things are beginning to change. Poornima’s father has begun trying to arrange her marriage, and Savitha’s optimism and strength helps...

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So all the trigger warnings for this book. It is a hard read. There is violence, there is rape and lots of terrible things happen to these two women. The writing is beautiful so it gets four stars just for that. But it was hard to stomach everything else. And the ending was definitely lacking.
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Devastating is hardly an adequate adjective to describe the horrors visited on the two central characters of Rao’s scorching debut, and by extension uncounted numbers of actual impoverished women and female children in India, some of whose suffering occasionally appears in stories in our newspapers. This saga of cruelty, subjugation, sexual abuse, marital oppression, prostitution and pain of other heart-wrenching kinds also, of course, comes perfectly timed to ride the current wave of female outrage animating voices of resistance in many countries.

Following on from her noted short story collection An Unrestored Woman, Rao has delivered a tale of female friendship between two pained souls...

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This book needs an epilogue of some kind.  The way it ends, so abruptly, with no payoff or closure, is really unsatisfying.  It's a wonderful book, but there needs to be some kind of closure.
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I have to say that this novel should definitely come with trigger warnings. I am not one to shy away from certain subjects but there was an incident in the novel that was even hard for me to get thru. When I first started this novel I did not think that I was going to finish it because it didn't capture me right at first but once I was into the story, I was hooked! This story is set in India for most of the novel and I am so glad that I have read I Am Malala because it allowed me to be familiar with the setting. This is one of those debut novels that people are going to be hungover from after reading it because it is so intense and touches on subjects that society likes to put blinders...

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https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2284803552  
My review can be found at Goodreads.
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I absolutely loved this book. From the beginning of this story, I couldn't put down the book. It captured me the moment I started reading it and continued to enrapture me and then abandoned me right at the end! I could feel my hands ball up into fists while I read some of the scarier parts and I also felt the need to cry when everything seemed hopeless towards the end.

The story takes place in two different perspectives. First, it starts together with the main characters and their lives in Indravalli in Southern India. Poornima is a burden to her father for being born a woman and therefore he's looking for someone to marry her off to. Savitha is poorer than Poornima so she spends...

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A beautiful and compelling story of the deep and loving connection between two women.

This novel is set in India where two young, poor girls Poornima and Savitha cross paths and form a bond that is ultimately tested but becomes stronger as the years go on. Both girls grew up in a culture where men rule and women are looked down on. Poornima, who lost her mother now is forced into caring for her father and to take care of her siblings. She is also going to be handed off in an arranged marriage.Then your introduced to Savitha who begins working for her father. Savitha saw and lived life differently from Poornima. The two girls became the best of friends and truly loved one another. Then...

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Fabulous book.  Thoroughly loved.  Highly recommend!
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"Girls Burn Brighter" by Shobha Rao is a poetic tale about two young women, Poornima and Savitha, whose lives intertwine amid hardship until circumstances force them apart with both trying to find their way back to each other.

Poornima, a village girl in India, loses her mother to cancer while her cruel father is trying to marry her off. Her father needs money to care for the family and to pay for her dowry, so he hires Savitha to weave saris for the wedding season. Though the same age as Poornima and poorer, Savitha saves her money for her younger sisters' dowries. Knowing Savitha may not get enough food at home, Poornima tries to prepare her a hearty lunch. They bond over...

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This beautifully written and absolutely devastating book could not be more relevant than it is in the here and now. At one point in the reading I could do nothing except close the book and weep. The story is one of tragedy and loving friendship. Girls do burn brighter and it is sad that they so often do not know it.
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The first 50 pages of this are 5 stars...and then nothing happy or pleasant or PG rated happens ever again. The author has this interesting way of leaving out graphic details that somehow makes what she's writing about even more unsavory. I usually love dark and depressing but for me this was too much of both.
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I've been waiting for this new release since reading An Unrestored Woman. There was an obvious thoughtfulness in the way Shobha handled the issues that befell many of her characters in An Unrestored Woman - issues that were present for no other reason than because they are women. The challenges the women faced were authentic and the ways they handle them were varied. So when I realized she was writing about resilient women yet again, I was filled with expectations.

The opening of this story sucked me right in. Pretty is the word that kept coming to mind as I was thinking of a way to describe the writing. What the girls go through in Girls Burn Brighter is brutal and, at times...

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“But what about love?”

“What is love, Poori?” Savitha said. “What is love if not a hunger?”

When Poornima’s mother dies, her father hires a young girl named Savitha to work the sari loom her mother once toiled at. Though far more poverty-striken than Poori, her passion for life burns brighter than seems possible in such drudgery. Poornima is stunned by the conditions Savitha lives in, piles of trash near the huts, stray dogs sniffing around, cow dung walls, discarded tin for roof, by comparison she and her father live in a palace. That despite these conditions Savitha has a loving bond with her father surprises her. Love isn’t enough, though, in this world that rages against girls and...

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A gut wrenching tale of female friendship in the middle of a male dominated culture. Beautifully written. The story itself felt vaguely familiar to me. I think it is similar to other books I’ve read. A little too bleak to be a full pick.
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BROOKE’S REVIEW

Shobha Rao’s novel, Girls Burn Brighter, is an evocative novel that is as beautifully written as its beautiful cover is. This searing novel tells the story of two friends, Poornima and Savitha, whose friendship spans years and continents.

These women meet as young girls in their Indian village and become as close as sisters. They find in each other someone who cares for them, and in Savitha, Poornima admires the fire and fierceness that burns within her, despite the poverty that surrounds her.

When an act of violence disrupts their childhood, the pair is fractured, and Poornima is left chasing Savitha across the globe. During her journey, she also comes to terms with...

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"'You fool,' she cried again, and heard the girl whimper. What a fool you are, she thought, fuming. What fools we all are. We girls. Afraid of the wrong things, at the wrong times. Afraid of a burned face, when outside, outside waiting for you are fires you cannot imagine. Men, holding matches up to your gasoline eyes. Flames, flames all around you, licking at your just-born breasts, your just-bled body. And infernos. Infernos as wide as the world. Waiting to impoverish you, make you ash, and even the wind, even the wind. Even the wind, my dear, she thought, watching you burn, wiling it, passing over you, and through you. Scattering you, because you are a girl, and because...

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Girls Burn Brighter is a compelling and heart-wrenching tale about the friendship of two impoverished girls in India. The ordeals they face are horrifying and at times hard to read, but the hope these girls cling to and their determination to survive kept me turning the pages. I won’t forget Poornima or Savitha any time soon.
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