The Heroine: Meena, a young Canadian girl struggling with the tension between her traditional Indian family and her yearnings for the freedom to choose her own path in life. The sixth daughter to her widowed mother, Meena knows she is expected to keep her reputation in tact, make a good match with an Indian boy and produce children. However, her relationship with bad boy Liam, a white boy from a poor family, gives her a taste of the life she could have outside the demands and obligations of her family. When Liam asks her to run away with him, Meena is forced to choose between duty and love, resulting in consequences that resonate throughout the rest of her life.
The Highs: I really enjoyed reading Everything Was Good-Bye. Not only was it a well-written and fascinating, but I feel it is a really important story for everyone living in a multi-cultural and multi-faith society. We often struggle to understand the perspectives and lifestyles of those from different cultural backgrounds and this confusion can easily turn into fear and anger given the environment. I think the only way to lessen racial tensions and promote understanding between different sects of society is through narratives such as these that help share the perspectives of minority groups that are often misunderstood by the masses.
Meena was a very sympathetic narrator, caught between her love for her family and her personal dreams and goals. Every time she tries to do the right thing, she ends up unhappy. Meena's failure to find happiness really pulled on my heartstrings. I also really felt close to her by the end of the story, due to the revealing and intimate nature of the first person POV. Meena is a realistic and fully rounded character, compiled of the many contradictions that often show up in human nature.
I also really enjoyed the love story between Meena and Liam, the high school boy who gave her a glimpse into life outside of obligation and duty. Though complicated by many different events, characters and circumstances, the ultimate prevalence of their love was inspiring.
The Lows: Frankly, the ending to Everything Was Good-Bye is quite devastating. Just when it seemed Meena had finally achieved her ultimate happiness, it is snatched away from her in a heart-wrenching instance. The ending left me cursing the unfairness of life and wanting to chuck the book at the wall.
Final Thoughts: Beautifully and honestly written. Everything Was Good-Bye shows the author Gurjinder Basran as a true talent and I am excitedly looking forward to her next book.
Rating: Everything Was Good-Bye earns eight rotis out of ten.
Connect with author Gurjinder Basran at her website here
Photo from here