IndieWritersReview’s Book Review: An Unlikely Goddess by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

book review

Hello everyone! Today I wanted to share my thoughts on An Unlikely Goddess by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar.



Mohana has a PhD from the University of Florida with a focus on gender and postcolonial theory. She is an award winning writer of novels, memoir and academic books.

An Unlikely Goddess

a an unlikely goddes

Winner of the SheWrites New Novelist competition 2011

Sita is the firstborn, but since she is a female child, her birth makes life difficult for her mother who is expected to produce a son. From the start, Sita finds herself in a culture hostile to her, but her irrepressible personality won’t be subdued. Born in India, she immigrants as a toddler to the U.S. with her parents after the birth of her much anticipated younger brother.

Sita shifts between the vastly different worlds of her WASP dominated school and her father’s insular traditional home. Her journey takes us beneath tales of successful middle class Indians who immigrated to the U.S. in the 1980s.

The gap between positive stereotypes of South Asian immigrants and the reality of Sita’s family, who are struggling to stay above the poverty line is a relatively new theme for Indian literature in English.

Sita’s struggles to be American and yet herself, take us deeper into understanding the dilemmas of first generation children, and how religion and culture define women.

Cover design by Law Alsobrook
Cover photography by Guiri R. Reyes

My Thoughts

I will say that I have always enjoyed reading Author Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar’s works. An Unlikely Goddess, as with previous works by Ms. Rajakumar offered an inside view into the culture and familial dynamics of the South Asian society. In the story we followed Sita a young woman, born into a family where the sons were considered most valuable. Thus she began early in life, with a sense that she was just not good enough. Once Sita’s brother was born, this vague sense of unworthiness was solidified and  set Sita on a perilous emotional journey to discover her own self-worth and place in the world.

Once the family relocated to America, having left all that was familiar; Sita was thrown into an atmosphere where culture  and religion clashed. This occurrence added an entire new level of challenges for the young woman as she attempted to hide her family’s financial status which was barely above the poverty line. Soon Sita, evolved little by little into the woman who had been hidden inside.

I enjoyed following Sita’s journey to self discovery. Ms. Rajakumar presents a well-written engaging tale that is  lush with vibrant details of a culture  at times steeped under stereotypes.

The story was mainly expressed from Sita and the other feminine influences in her world; which allowed the reader to get a better understanding of the social and  emotional development  of the  young women in Sita’s world.

This was a well-written, intelligent read. Engaging, beautifully described and entertaining. I fully recommend for those that are fans of Women’s Fiction, History and Cultural Studies!


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