Currently, I am discussing the books that have moved me the most. And when I sit down to ponder there is one book that I read even before turning an adult, by one of the most famous authors of the world and still carry it in my heart. The book is A Daughter’s A Daughter by Mary Westmacott. What you never heard of her, you say? I hear you. But, you have heard of Agatha Christie, the queen of detective stories, right. They are the same persons. She wrote few social dramas when she has already been established as a detective story writer hence the nom de plume for the books that she wanted to be judged on their own merit.
The story revolves around the interpersonal relationship of a mother and daughter. Set in post-World War II England, the book is all about the interplay and metamorphosis of human emotions. Nuances of human psychology that otherwise Christie skilfully uses in her murder mysteries are the main trope in this book.
The plot is simple. The mother Ann Prentice, a widow, decides to remarry. Her daughter, Sarah, cannot contemplate the idea of her mother remarrying and revolts. The mother sacrifices her happiness for the sake of her daughter. What follows is a roller coaster of human emotion. It is the merit of characterization that supersedes the plot and storyline. The author mainly focuses on the female characters and the male characters are relatively weaker. But all are painted with a humane nature, with both flaws and their goodness.
Now, why this relatively simple story holds a special place in my mind? It taught me the pitfall of self-sacrifices. How unjustified sacrifice gives rise to resentment and jealousy that can corrode a relationship. While literature and art often uphold the glory in sacrifices especially by the mother, this book is a rare one that deals with the snags in it. Society normalises the sacrifices of the mother so much that nobody keeps a tab about the unhappiness that might have roused from that sacrifice.
This book is about flawed characters but that make them real. It shows that one should not abandon one’s happiness for the sake of being noble. An unhappy mother will lead to an unhappy family.
I have read this book long back but the learning still lingers within me. And I recommend potential readers not to be put off by my over-emphasis on the emotional part and try this not so ventured project by the great author once. If you read the book, don’t forget to share your views about it with me.
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