Title: The Girl and the Goddess
Author: Nikita Gill
Publisher: Ebury Press
Publication Date: 1st October 2020
One girl’s wild journey of strength, beauty and growth as she discovers who she really is.
Lyrical wonder, spiritual revelation and revolution meet with epic mythical landscapes in this deeply intimate coming-of-age story, one that teaches us all, no matter how small we feel, to become the masters of our own destiny.
Meet Paro. A girl with a strong will, a full heart and much to learn. Born into a family reeling from the ruptures of Partition, follow her as she crosses the precarious lines between childhood, teenage discovery and realising her adult self.
Nikita Gill’s masterful poetry and beautiful illustrations conjure up jasmine-scented voices and smiles inhabited by ancestor’s souls, rain dancing in a new city and the painful caverns in our hearts. We are taken on a journey of deity wisdom, fragmented family, and love lost and gained. We see power in belief, healing from trauma and hope after conflict. Undercurrents of the Trimurti – the Creator, the Preserver and the Destroyer – run deep, as Paro must confront fear, desire and the darkest parts of herself in the search for meaning and, ultimately, empowerment.
I have to confess, I am not a poetry person. It’s not something I read in general but I was so intrigued by this book and blown away by the beauty of the cover that I decided to step out of my comfort zone and give it a go! I’m so glad I did because reading The Girl and the Goddess is genuinely such a rewarding experience. It is a collection of poetry, verse and illustration that are connected by Paro, the girl whose life these vignettes tell the story of.
This collection covers such a wide range of themes and emotions that it is kind of hard to pin down, it is all-encompassing and you have to just let yourself be carried along by the words. I learnt a great deal about the many aspects of the Deities of Hinduism and also about the beautiful spirituality of India. I cannot pretend to have understood and taken it all in completely in this first reading but I’m not sure that matters because I connected so much to Paro and especially her identity as a woman and all that that means.
Another major draw of this lovely and powerful book are the beautiful illustrations, hand drawn by the talented author herself. I’m an artist myself so whenever a book has some form of illustration involved it makes it extra special for me – especially when they are as gorgeous as the ones in The Girl and the Goddess. I couldn’t resist including a couple of them here just to show you how stunning they are and I also couldn’t resist popping in a couple of the many, many quotes from the book that really spoke to me. I think this is the sort of book almost everyone will gain something from and it’s certainly one I will return to time and time again. Beautiful and elegantly powerful.
Mama teaches me early:The Girl and the Goddess by Nikita Gill
‘Despite what they will try to teach you,
Girl is not a dirty word.
Girl is power.
Girl is fury.
Girl is never-give-up-
There is a reason we call India, she.The Girl and the Goddess by Nikita Gill
Her road to freedom was as hard-won,
as furious as any survivor’s is destined to be;
and women are the fiercest survivors I know.
Thank you so much to Anne Cater of Random Things Blog Tours for inviting me on this tour and organising it. I kindly received a copy of the book from the publisher. My review is entirely my own honest opinion.