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02.05.2014
A coworker recommended this book to me and she forewarned me that it would most definitely spark a few emotions in me, mainly grief, and would undoubtedly help a few tears fall down my cheeks. The tale of this book in it’s simplest form describes the life of two mother’s on opposite sides of the world, intricately entwined without being aware, due to the life force that binds them – their mutual daughter. Halfway around the globe, Somer, an American doctor, decides to adopt a child after making the wrenching discovery that she will never have one of her own. Interweaving the stories of Kavita, Somer, and the child that binds both of their destinies, Secret Daughter poignantly explores the emotional terrain of motherhood, loss, identity, and love, as witnessed through the lives of two families – one Indian, one American – and the child that indelibly connects them. Janet Jackson may be expecting a child with husband Wissam Al Mana at the age of 49, but is this really her first child? In the first bombshell interview in decades, DeBarge opens up to Radar about his belief that Jackson did give birth to a baby girl. According to DeBarge, a young woman claiming to be his daughter recently reached out to him.
The young woman suggested that they take a paternity test, but that hasn’t happened yet. DeBarge also confirms that when the woman contacted him, she admitted to being Jackson’s daughter. DeBarge claims that in the emails he received, he found out Jackson had allegedly put their daughter up for adoption.
In the beginning, he had suspected that Jackson had a baby, and even went on a search to find her, but had no luck.


DeBarge claims that he wouldn’t have cut the girl out of his life had he known she existed for sure. DeBarge also says that people gave him and Jackson a hard time about their relationship even before the baby rumors started. In 1994, nearly nine years after DeBarge and Jackson’s teen marriage had been annulled, Star magazine published a series of articles talking about the rumors of a mystery daughter. That same article claimed that the DeBarge family launched an investigation to find the child. And in an open letter published in the magazine that same year, DeBarge himself cried out to Jackson to reveal the truth to him. This lack of literature in my life was in large part to a five-day whirlwind adventure to Vegas and needless to say, Sin City doesn’t provide a lot of room or time for reading, despite all the lights. Let that be my warning to you, as a fellow reader, that this novel is not one for public transit on your morning commutes. Kavita, a mother in India who is forced to give away her daughter due to the inability to raise her in her current circumstances is the first mother we’re introduced to.
But in a culture that favors sons, the only way for Kavita to save her newborn daughter’s life is to give her away. When she and her husband, Krishnan, see a photo of the baby with the golden-flecked eyes from a Mumbai orphanage, they are overwhelmed with emotion. You must pick this book up, it is absolutely fantastic and an early leader on my 2011 favorite’s list!


Since returning home to Vancouver I thankfully fell back into my regular rhythm and quickly picked up where I originally left off in my reading of Canadian author Shilpi Somaya Gowda’s inspirational and emotionally charged novel, Secret Daughter.
It’s best left for your reading prior to falling asleep at night, or wrapped in a blanket by yourself on a Sunday afternoon. The daughter given up for adoption and in turn, the girl in the middle is Asha, who is adopted at the young age of one, by the second mother in the story, Somer, in the United States. It is a decision that will haunt her and her husband for the rest of their lives, even after the arrival of their cherished son. Somer knows life will change with the adoption but is convinced that they love they already feel will overcome all obstacles. With that said, I fully recommend that everyone reading these words pick up this book and tackle it at soon as you possibly can.
That’s literally all I can say before I start spewing forth several key heart-wrenching points in the story!



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