Review: The Braid by Laetitia Colombani

In India, Smita is an untouchable. Desperate to give her daughter an education, she takes her child and flees her small village with nothing but resourcefulness, eventually heading to a temple where she will experience a rebirth.
In Sicily, Giulia works in her father’s wig workshop, the last of its kind in Palermo. She washes, bleaches, and dyes the hair provided by the city’s hairdressers, which is now in short supply. But when her father is the victim of a serious accident, she discovers that the company’s financial situation is dire. Now she must find a way to save her family’s livelihood.
In Canada, Sarah is a successful lawyer and twice-divorced mother of three children whose identity is wrapped up in her work. Just as she expects a big promotion, her life is shattered when she’s diagnosed with cancer.
A moving novel of hope and renewal, The Braid is a celebration of womanhood and the power of connection and perseverance.

Hi y’all! Hope you’re enjoying the beginning of HALLOWEEN- oh wait I meant October. It’s finally fall and with that comes my retreat into a pile of sweaters and a pile of mugs in my room. I’m unbelievably happy to be back in my comfy wool sweaters again and I really hope that you share my sentiment! Before I start off this review I want to say thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with an ARC of this book.

Gonna be real with you folks. I liked the book, but I didn’t think that it was anything particularly special. As soon as I read the synopsis, I got a pretty good idea of where the plot was going to go. A woman in India who fights for a new life for herself and her daughter, a woman in Italy who’s family is involved in wig making, and a woman in Canada who is diagnosed with cancer. It’s fairly easy to predict whats gonna happen.

While the plot may not have been thrilling, I did really love the three women. They exhibited strength and courage throughout the book, and were really the driving force of the novel. Their relationships with their families was also touching, and seeing how hard Smita fought for her daughter, or how Sarah tried so hard to shield her children from the reality of her diagnosis, were extremely touching points in the book. Giulia’s relationship with her family and lover was also touching, and their ending in the book was so cute.

I think one of the most interesting aspects of the novel were Smita, Giulia and Sarah’s experiences as women in their communities and how they interacted with different forms of oppression. While I know relatively little about the caste system in India, this novel inspired me to learn more. Either way, Smita’s story is a striking example of the inequality and mistreatment that people still suffer in parts of the work. Similarly to this, Sarah’s experience with sexism and ableism in her story was very moving. I think it’s easy to forget that people with serious illnesses can face ableism in their lives, and making this a new motivator for Sarah was such a great idea. Giulia’s experiences were less direct, but her observation of racism both in systemic structures and casual racism in her workplace was a surprisingly tasteful way to weave in how racism is still so prevalent in our society today. In fact, all of these issues are still hugely relevant to our society, and require that we all work towards making our world a more equitable place.

Overall, I didn’t think that this book was extremely special, but it was a nice read that touched upon important subjects and had some very heartwarming moments. I would give this a 3/5.

Thats all for now ducks, and be sure to check back soon for more reviews!

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