Thank you, Algonquin via NetGalley for the digital copy to review. All opinions are my own.
From the publisher’s synopsis: A politically driven graffiti artist. A transgender Christian convert. A blind girl who loves to dance. A queer daughter of a hijabi union leader. These are some of the young women who live in a Bangalore slum known as Heaven, young women whom readers will come to love in the moving, atmospheric, and deeply inspiring debut, A People’s History of Heaven.
“Back then, Heaven was just a bunch of blue tarps strung up into haphazard tents in a clearing on the edge of the coconut grove. A for-now kind of place, not a forever kind of place. A square of dirt to tide a family over until something better came along.”
Heaven is a slum in Bangladore, India. As one of India’s fastest growing cities, modern high-rises and technology are moving in, slowly encroaching on the little space the slum’s occupants still have. A community of women, from the elderly grandmas to a group of school-aged girls, this is a story of womanhood, supporting your friends, and fighting for your home.
“It’s funny, being a girl. That things that’s supposed to push you down, defeat you, shove you back, back, and farther back still? Turn it the right way, and it’ll push you forward instead.”
The thing I loved most about this book was the relationships all of the women, young and old, had with each other. Regardless of blood relations, the women looked after the children, using their individual strengths to encourage success in each of the young children running around the slum. They knew they were poor, but they didn’t dwell on it. They didn’t pity themselves. Instead, they rose above their circumstances and shined. With the help of the principal at the local school, these girls knew they were destined for more than the life they currently led. The principal saw the brilliance of their minds and prepped them for college as a way to help them better their futures. In a place where education wasn’t freely accepted for girls, she taught them that they did, in fact, deserve to rise!
This book is beautiful in all ways – the message, the character development, the story. I am so glad I stumbled upon this one!
What’s the last book that pleasantly surprised you?