Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Saraswati’s Way by Monika Schroder

saraswatiAkash lives in India.  When his father dies, the family gives him away to work off their debt at the landlord’s quarry.  Life at the quarry is very hard, and the only way Akash survives it is by holding on to his dream: to one day go to a wonderful school in New Delhi.  Since Akash had been a very good student with a gift for math, he plans his escape from the quarry very carefully.  With twelve-year-old Akash we travel through India as he makes his way toward New Delhi.  When he finally arrives, the crowded city overwhelms him.  Will he survive life on the streets among thieves and drug dealers?  With tenacity, Akash clings to his dream and prays to Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom and knowledge.  In the end, Akash realizes that he has to take charge of his own life and not wait for a god or goddess to rescue and reward him.  Saraswati’s Way is a powerful novel set in modern India.  Monika Schroder describes beautifully what Akash experiences.  The author also tells us, through the enthusiastic voice of young Akash, what reading a book can do for you: “It’s like going to different places without leaving where you are.”  Review by Trudy Walsh

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