Abandoned by her mother, beaten by her father, and hurriedly married off at twelve to an abusive man twice her age, Baby Halder's early life was marked by overwhelming challenges and heartbreak. Exhausted and desperate, the young mother finally fled with her three children in 1999 to Delhi, where she found work as a maid in some of the city's wealthiest homes.
Expected to serve her employers' every grueling demand, Halder faced a staggering workload that often left her no time to care for her own children.
The young woman's luck finally turned when she started working for Prabodh Kumar, a retired anthropology professor who noticed Halder's interest in his library. Kumar helped her to read his books and newspapers—which she devoured enthusiastically—then suggested that she write down her own life story. In A Life Less Ordinary, the fascinating result of her writing sessions with Kumar, Halder speaks for a multitude of Indian women, revealing a world of poverty and subjugation few outsiders have heard about. Halder writes simply and candidly of her life as a young girl, and later as a struggling mother.
Without a trace of melodrama or self-pity, she describes her experiences of growing up poor and neglected, struggling to manage children and a violent husband while she herself was only fourteen years old, and, finally, of escaping her past ultimately to triumph as a writer.
Already a huge success in India, where it has been published in Hindi, Bengali, and several other languages, A Life Less Ordinary is an astonishing story of strength, courage, and determination that continues to inspire readers everywhere.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Baby Halder continues to work as a maid for the employer who helped her discover her literary talent. She is writing a second book that continues the narrative of her life, and she lives with her children on the outskirts of Delhi, India.From Booklist:
A best-seller in India, this stirring autobiography, translated from Bengali and Hindi, is about poverty and brutal child labor, not in factories but at home. When Halder's mother leaves, the child struggles to stay in school, but her father marries her off at 12 to a man more than twice her age, and she bears him three children. Her husband beats her, stones her, and abuses his children. No one helps until finally she dares to leave him and works in backbreaking jobs as a live-in domestic, determined to educate her kids. True to the brave young girl's viewpoint, the plain, first-person narrative is sometimes just too repetitive. But there are unforgettable scenes, as when the pregnant 13-year-old yearns to join her classmates at play and in the classroom. The astonishing Cinderella ending is rooted in gritty realism: Halder's new boss, like the kind father she never had, sees her reading his books as she dusts them and encourages her to write her own story—this story. Rochman, Hazel
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