Book Review: Bone and Bread by Saleema Nawaz (5 Star Rating)

Book Review: Bone and Bread by Saleema Nawaz (5 Star Rating)

Sisters, Beena and Sadhana grew up in a loving home with parents of different cultural backgrounds. Their mother was born in North America and travelled the world, she was very much a free spirit while their father came from a conservative family in India. Their father owned and operated a bagel shop in Montreal, while their Uncle managed the day to day tasks. When their father suddenly passes away, the three of them are left to grieve and learn to cope. A few short years later, their mother tragically passes away and the teenage girls are suddenly orphaned and left under the guardianship of their strict, single Uncle.  The family never approved of their mother and Beena and Sadhana had no other relatives they knew nearby. Tragedy and grief seemed to always be around the corner for these sisters. Beena unexpectedly becomes pregnant at sixteen and Sadhana develops anorexia.

Bone and Bread was a great read. Essentially this is a book about relationships, and how life continually forces changes upon individuals. Beena and Sadhana are barely two years apart, they’ve always been close and dealt with tragedy differently. Bone and Bread opens with the death of Sadhana, while Beena tries to come to grips with her death, rehashing their hardships endured together. Beena, the older sister always felt protective of her sister but at the same time, she needed to care for her son and live her own life.  Sadhana’s anorexia really takes a toll on their relationship and Beena doesn’t know how much she can trust her sister or how long she can protect her.

I really grew to love both girls and understood their hardships. Once they lost both of their parents, their foundation crumbled. They barely knew their Uncle, never had a real relationship with him and being placed under his guardianship caused them to resent him. Coming from a conservative family, having no wife, readers can really see the struggles he faces. Everyone is in a predicament and trying to survive.

As a fellow Montrealer, the atmosphere of this novel really brings it to life. Nawaz writes about a Montreal I know, and live in. This has not always been the case when I’ve read other books that are set in Montreal. I love the book cover, I think it captures the story well. I highly recommend this book, especially for those who have siblings.  Great for book clubs!

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