Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

The Book To Read On Women’s Month: ‘Honor’ by Thirty Umbrigar

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UPR chapter.

It was a frustrating day. I had just put my book down, half read, and I was not picking it up again. It was the fourth book in a row that I had left unfinished. My frustration came from obsessively buying books that were hyped up in Book Tok, which, shortly after, ended up being disappointments. I had read some books before that were indeed good, but, ultimately, almost all of those recommendations ended up being romances about men with a serious case of red flags.

I was looking for something different: a book that would shake me to my core, that would make me think and feel beyond my horizons. I remembered that I followed Reese Witherspoon’s book club on Instagram and decided to browse for options there. I started reading different book descriptions of the ones she had chosen to read during the previous months, until I came across Honor, by Thirty Umbrigar. The synopsis immediately caught my attention.

The story follows an Indian American journalist who reluctantly returns to India after many years to cover a story for a friend, the story of a young Hindu woman whose brothers murder her husband for being Muslim. I was instantly blown away by such a harsh description, and I just knew that it would be a narrative that would have me hooked until the end. I wasn’t wrong.

Honor is a book that  shook me to my core, presenting me with a culture that I barely knew and exposing the religious conflicts that Indian men and women encounter. But it’s especially centered in the suffering that Indian women face in a patriarchal culture, and the long way they still have to go to make their country a place of justice and equality.

aB Eo11uSeeVnRLh17o8UkOIQF6A57oZCQZkYzVVQ6dTn8ke6ZSikkfrAObeHUi9VODluBLvGPOUuZpABWy3bCZLG4vQ2sO A1Rwi2T 2bYOsffkUvoIrKjNs3p9ZNdOdZvenBN2agaF4CW4N6K6sB0

Painting by S L Haldankar. 

It’s also a narrative about home, and the mixed feelings a person can have towards a place that has brought so much pain, but want to be a part of it nevertheless. The book ties the lives of the two main, female protagonists: the journalist and the victim of the crime. It unites them in their conflicting feelings towards their home country. It’s incredibly easy to connect and feel for these women, since this story is based on true circumstances that still happen in India.

It had been a long time since a book made me feel so angry, sad, and hopeful all at the same time. It’s a book that leaves you thinking for weeks, even after you have finished it. It also invites you to know more about other countries and cultures. And that is what makes a story successful: to make its readers want to come back to it over and over, to want to learn and research more, to be a more present and conscious person, and to go asleep at night thinking of the beautiful quotes that were poised between its pages.

And I would love to share my favorite quote from this unforgettable narrative, without spoiling the plot for you: 

“But you don’t love something because you’re blind to its faults, right? You love it despite its flaws.”

It’s a quote about recognition, about being able to acknowledge that the situation could be better, that it has to get better, but that there is always something to be grateful for. This Women’s month, I am grateful that there are women that write powerful narratives like Honor.

So, to conclude, this book has everything you need to reflect upon during Women’s historical month:

Women standing up for other women.

Women standing up to the male figures in their life in order to defend their beliefs. 

Women that know they have come far but recognize there is still a long, long way to go.

Myrangely Méndez is a Comparative Literature and Drama student at UPR, Río Piedras Campus. She loves having a laugh with a good romcom, browse books through Reese Witherspoon's bookclub and daydream about moving to Europe. She hopes to graduate in May 2023 and dedicate her life to writing.