Genres: Young Adult
Padma Venkatraman’s inspiring story of a young girl’s struggle to regain her passion and find a new peace is told lyrically through verse that captures the beauty and mystery of India and the ancient bharatanatyam dance form. This is a stunning novel about spiritual awakening, the power of art, and above all, the courage and resilience of the human spirit. Veda, a classical dance prodigy in India, lives and breathes dance—so when an accident leaves her a below-knee amputee, her dreams are shattered. For a girl who’s grown used to receiving applause for her dance prowess and flexibility, adjusting to a prosthetic leg is painful and humbling. But Veda refuses to let her disability rob her of her dreams, and she starts all over again, taking beginner classes with the youngest dancers. Then Veda meets Govinda, a young man who approaches dance as a spiritual pursuit. As their relationship deepens, Veda reconnects with the world around her, and begins to discover who she is and what dance truly means to her.
I didn’t realize that this book was written in verse. When I opened it and the first chapter was verse I planned on skipping it and getting to the real story. That’s what I do when I see verse. If an author quotes song lyrics or poems in the book, I skip it. That probably makes me a bad person but it is the truth. I don’t like verse.
Apparently I learned nothing from my own reading of Brown Girl Dreaming.
I really enjoyed this verse novel too. The author covered a lot of issues that can appear after a person’s life changes – friends fall away, people you weren’t close to are there for you, starting over with the basic functions of your body, being a financially comfortable amputee in a country where beggars are on the streets.
One of Veda’s inspirations in this book is Sudha Chandran, a classical dancer who lost a leg at 16 and has since become an actress and dancer in India while using a very basic prosthetic.