The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

unnamed.pngI received the book The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani as a review copy from the publisher and would like to thank them for the same.

The blurb:

On the eve of her twelfth birthday, Nisha receives a journal —a place to record the thoughts she can never seem to say aloud as she starts to see the world though older eyes.

But it’s not just Nisha who is changing. She doesn’t even recognize her country anymore.

It’s 1947, and India, newly freed from British rule is being divided into two countries: Pakistan and India. Many people are killed crossing borders as tensions among Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, and others flare. Nisha doesn’t know which side she’s supposed to be on or why she has to choose. After losing her mother, who dies giving birth, she can’t imagine losing her homeland, too.

Mama was Muslim, but now she’s gone. Papa is Hindu, and says it’s no longer safe for them to stay in Pakistan. And so Nisha and her family become refuges and embark on a dangerous journey by train and by foot to reach their new home on the other side of the border.

Told through the letters Nisha writes to her mother in her journal, The Night Diary is a story of one of the most dramatic moments in history and of one girl’s search for home, her own identity, and a hopeful future.

My take:

The book has been told in diary format written daily by Nisha, a 12 year old, living in Mirpurkhas in undivided India in 1947. The partition of India is a gruesome aspect of Indian History where there were riots, discrimination and hatred all around.
Nisha, an innocent girl, lives with her twin brother, Amil, their father, grandmother and the cook, Kazi.

An introvert, Nisha enjoys cooking and is very close to the cook. When she comes to know of the partition, she is appalled. She is half Hindu half Muslim and her cook is Muslim. She is confused as to why people would hate each other based on religion and why a country would divide based on a conflict between two people. What ensues is a beautiful tale as Nisha moves across the border with her family leaving behind her cook who is like a father to her and the only home she has known. As she journeys across the border, she learns about her history and realizes her own courage.

The story was poignant and has been told beautifully. Veera Hiranandani masterfully captures one of the bloodiest parts of history. Nisha is a likable protagonist.
She is lost between two worlds and struggles to understand where she belongs. Her unflinching opinions are refreshing and her take on the partition rings true. It was a captivating story and hats off to Veera for narrating history in such an interesting way.

DISCLAIMER: This review has been written by my fourteen year old daughter who is a history buff- bookaholic- aspiring author.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in return for a honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

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