Tuesday, February 5, 2019

"The Bridge Home"

Padma Venkatraman lives in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. An oceanographer by training, she is the author of twenty books for young readers, published in India, on a variety of subjects.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, The Bridge Home, and reported the following:
From page 69:
"Look, this is our place," Kumar replied. "It's okay for you to come here, but you can't bring along every new kid in the city."

"Enough here for us all to share," Arul said.

"Yes, just look at this wealth spreading from sea to shore!" Muthu waved his stick. "Gray gold, I call it."
I don't have a copy of the real book yet, but page 69 on the ARC represents the book quite nicely, except that one of the main characters, Rukku (the protagonist's sister) isn't center stage, though she's central to the story (here, she's sitting beside the rubbish dump on which the kids are working, so she doesn't say anything). What we do see does, however, reveal a lot. Viji, the protagonist, sticks up for herself when a kid from a rival gang challenges her, and we see her friends, Arul and Muthu come to her aide. What they say on that page makes not only the depth of the bond among the four children immediately obvious, it also shows that they're very different characters, and it captures Arul's quiet strength as well as Muthu's ability to find humor in terrible and terrifying situations. It shows, I hope that this book has laughter in it, because it is about courage, survival and hope in the face of poverty, violence and loss.
Visit Padma Venkatraman's website.

--Marshal Zeringue