I finished reading the novel Chandra’s Secret by Allen Stratton last Tuesday. I read this book for class and I can tell you i probably would not have picked this book up and read it on my own. I’m glad I did have the opportunity to read it though.
The story takes place in South Africa and is centred on a girl named Chandra. the story opens with Chandra in a funeral home. Her baby sister, Sara, passed away during the night. this novel takes the reader on a journey that goes from present to past to present again, and very little is said about the potential future, except that Chandra’s teachers think she could get a scholarship and go abroad to study, and also there is a someone hopeful ending to the story.
the story tells about Chandra’s family and how her father and brothers passed away in a mining accident. Her mother remarried three times, the first remarriage ended because the husband was sexually abusing Chandra, the second died of a stroke, and the third is a drunk who ends up dead as well.
The story is also highly focused on AIDS and how it is taboo to talk about AIDS and if you have it you are an outcast
Basically the story is about death, sexual abuse, poverty and AIDS. Doesn’t sound too happy, eh? Well it’s not. But that doesn’t make it a bad book. It’s actually quite fantastic and heart-felt and makes you want to cry.