The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

This book was chosen by chance. I found it one day on my fiance’s book shelf. It doesn’t have a summary in the back, so I had no idea what it was about. But I felt drawn to it.

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy takes place in India and follows the lives of Ammu and her twin children, Rahel and Estha, who live with Ammu’s brother, Chacko, her mother, Mammachi, and her aunt, Baby Kochamma. The book opens with the family at the funeral of Chacko’s daughter, Sophie Mol. She came to India with her mother, Chacko’s ex-wife, to recuperate after the death of her step-father. However, history had it’s own plans, and through 320 pages Roy reveals how the life and death of Sophie Mol changes the lives of Rahel and Estha forever.

One thing about Roy’s writing is that she does not leave anything a complete mystery, but teases the reader throughout. She tells the reader that Sophie Mol dies within the first few pages of the book. She tells you that Chacko throws Ammu, Rahel, and Estha out. She reveals that a lot of bad things happened in the span of one day. However, she doesn’t give the full story at the time that she reveals it. Instead, she leads the reader on, jumping from past to present to future, only revealing the juicy details toward the end when she feels like it’s time.

One problem I had was sometimes it was tough to tell whether Roy was telling the story in the past, present, or future. Sometimes it took a page or two and some context clues for me to figure it out. The only other problem I had with the book was that I felt the writing needed some getting used to. I could tell there was a story being told, but I felt like Roy wasn’t sure if she wanted to tell it or not. It was a writing style I don’t see enough of, but I feel that it is very effective in the end. The God of Small Things was brilliantly written, and, although it took me a bit to get into the story, by the end I was devouring the pages like I wouldn’t have a chance to finish it if I didn’t.

Grade: A

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