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May 16, 2020

My Rating - 3 out of 5 stars
Publisher - Notion Press
Genre - Autobiography
Publishing year - 2020
Language - English
ISBN - 978-1-64783-533-0
Pages - 198  

My Review - 

What does not kill you, strengthens you.

The Gift of Life is a memoir based on Aabha Rosy Vatsa's experience of gaining freedom. She wrote more than twelve books. She is also a blogger. When she starts blogging, she dreamed of writing an autobiography one day. Now she has done it.

She was born in Phagwara, Punjab, but soon her family shifts to Allahabad. Aabha has two elders and one younger sister. She shares fond memories of her birth town and Allahabad. Her parents wanted a boy, so at the birth of her younger sister, her mother felt sad, which portrayed the '70s very well. Despite that, her parents provide an excellent education to all the girls. When the author was twelve years old, she had to move to Mongu, Zambia. She dedicates a whole chapter to that part of her life, studies, and African culture. 

She came back to India for college studies and married Sanjeev. Things took a turn from here. She soon finds out about Sanjeev's drinking problem and his behavior after the liquor consumption bothered Aabha for a very long time. Her orthodox family was never troubled by Aabha's difficulties because she became the mother of two daughters, and divorce is a big deal. She tried to be free, but all her attempts go in vain. 

Her family conspired against her, drugged her, even threatened her. Aabha's sisters are educated, but instead of supporting her, they made the matter worse. Aabha needed a savior, someone whom she can confide in. She finds some solace; while talking to online friends. But inner peace comes from the freedom which she is seeking for so long. When she found herself utterly alone, she shifts her focus to spiritual and religious principles. That's why the book has plenty of material related to different God/Goddesses, and whereby they inspire the author to keep going. She believes in Karma; her teachings from childhood helped her to get going. She puts her pain into words. 

Half part of the book hooked me, but the other part feels partly done. I respect her journey, but I wanted the answers as a reader. She talks about what her family did, but why she never confronts them is the question that bothers me. Also, there is not a single proper conversation that has to be seen between Sanjeev and Aabha, where they talk about all the issues; they are having. Aabha's elder daughter and her husband's POV on divorce is something I wanted to read. Also, more about Jatin and other kith and kin. The author left so many things on a cliff-hanger, which saddens me. 

Being an Indian woman, everyone wants you to stay in a toxic marriage, even one's own children. It is tragic because every person has the right to live their life, make their own decisions, but our society makes sure that women feel guilty at every step of her life. Especially if she thinks of her happiness first. This book is the embodiment of that deep-rooted mentality.

The book addresses some severe circumstances a woman has to face. The battle the author has to fight is keeping herself sane. She used lucid language, but it needs serious proofreading. I found spelling errors and missing punctuation in many places. Aabha's story will certainly encourage women to take control of their lives. She has her ups and downs, but I am glad that she finally attains what she wanted. Be you unapologetically. I think the book is best suitable for female readers and newbies. 

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1 comment:

  1. The gift of life is a book worth reading. I have known Aabha in Allahabad, so it really brought back beautiful memories of our Bamraulli and KV Manauri days.
    A well written book starting with poetry at the beginning of each chapter surely is a reader's delight. It brings out the challenges that she faced and her overcoming them with finesse and dignity
    I wish my dear friend the best in her future endeavours and also wish that many enjoy reading this book.