Burnt Sugar, a novel written by Avni Doshi, succinctly captures the complex relationship between a resentful daughter, Antara, who seeks forgiveness for her poor childhood, and a neglectful mother, Tara, slowly forgetting her herself and the people around her. Doshi analyzes the tension between this strained mother-daughter relationship, as they resent each other for the inability to hold up their “roles”. According to the YouTube review of Sarah from Freshly Read Books, she says that “Burnt Sugar called into question every five star she ever gave to a book” because the “book took a very different route… a realistic one”. As Sarah indicates the realistic route, she explores the theme of trust and memory and how the daughter becomes the caretaker while her mother is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and how that thickens the intensity of their cynical and non-linear relationship. Doshi saw this from her perspective, as her mother had to take care of her grandmother. Sarah expresses that although the caretaker is not suffering from the sickness, their connection becomes lost in the process as well. Masterfully contrasting the guilt Tara retains throughout her life and people’s poor perception of Antara for her complacent attitude against her mother, the novel slowly unravels the unresolved tensions between them both, while dissecting each character in full display. Doshi draws the attention to the combative relationship between Antara and Tara to challenge their past, and emphasize the unconditional love behind a deepening mother-daughter relationship. So many authors and readers appreciate a complicated mother and daughter relationship because of how relatable it is. In some ways, every reader can find a relation to Burnt Sugar, not for their resentment to their parent or kid, but for the realism of navigating through multifaceted relationships.
Eugenie Davis, Sami D’Angelo, Kate Brosseau