Read Along With Me #2: The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar Chapters 14-16

6 Nov

Read Along 2

The fourth installment of my second Read Along With Me book club. The book this time is ‘The Space Between Us’ by Thrity Umrigar which is absolutely amazing so far. You can look at all of our posts on the hub page. And if you think you want to join up, send me an email! We’d love to have you. There are three of us currently; myself, Claudia, and Ashlee. Let’s jump right into the questions!

Question from AshleeSera’s parents have their suspicions, Freddy undoubtedly knows the truth, yet these older adults and parents say nothing about the violence Sera is going through. Do you find yourself resenting them a little bit? Or is it simply not their place to meddle in Sera and Feroz’s business?

I’m not sure I believe Sera’s parents or Freddy understand the extent of Feroz’s abuse. Sera is quick to explain her unhappiness on Banu, not on her new husband and with the rumors Sera’s parents heard and what Freddy knows of his wife, I think they see this as a very likely cause. As an extension, they might believe that Sera fights with her husband over issues dealing with her mother-in-law, but I don’t think anyone suspects the abuse Sera is facing at the hands of Feroz. I’d like to think that if they knew, they’d do more to help her, but maybe that’s wishful thinking.


Question from ClaudiaI know this is going to sound incredibly ludicrous in my part, but I am almost always finding that I sympathize for Feroz a lot! I know! It’s crazy! But hear me out, please? Look, I’m not justifying his actions by any means, but what if Feroz was also mentally abused by Banu? What if as a child, she instilled these false and absurd idealisms that shaped who he later grew up to be? What if, after facing the world on his own, he later came to realize that his framework of the world and society was faulty, and thus he lived with frustration, resentment, disgruntlement, failure, etc?

I think this is highly likely. I remember reading A Child Called “It” by Dave Pelzer a long time ago and he talked about the cycle of abuse. By this he meant that the child of an abusive parent is more likely to be an abuser himself. Pelzer fought against the inkling to raise a child the only way he knew how; through the abuse his mother inflicted on him. I think Banu was abusive toward her husband and son and, consequently, teaching Feroz only abusive ways to deal with those close to him. I don’t think he’s a strong enough man to break away from this cycle and doesn’t know a different way to act toward Sera.

Also, I think Banu taught him that things should be done a certain way and that her way is the proper way. When Sera breaks that way that Feroz has learned for so long is the only proper way to do things, he’s frustrated with her and angry; he wants her to do it right as well. In short, I think Banu is 100% at fault for Feroz’s behavior. I wish Freddy had stepped in earlier.


It’s my turn to choose the musing topic for this week and I’ve picked tradition. As an American, some of the traditions in this book seem very foreign to me. Believing that a certain person is dirty because of who their parents are living with your in laws. One of my best friends at work was born in India and came to the United States when she married her husband. It makes it a little easier for me to see these traditions in practice. I know my coworker likes her in-laws living with her some times and hates it other times. She recently broke a bone and her mother-in-law was able to help with cooking and cleaning while she was in the cast. Her father-in-law will peel pomegranates for her while she’s at work. But she has to cook for them and cook what they like and sometimes she gets more opinions than she wanted on how to discipline and raise her kids. So there’s the good and the bad. I see the reason for this tradition. It could seem rude to someone of Indian culture that my grandmother lives alone though we see it as giving her independence and the time alone she hasn’t had before.

In the case of the novel, I think it is doing more harm than good for Sera and Feroz’s relationship. Instead of helping around the house, Sera is pushed away. Instead of having support from her in-laws, she’s shunned. We can see in the example of Dinaz and Viraf how a mother-in-law can help around the house and be a positive influence on a marriage, but Sera doesn’t see that in Banu. There are good and bad sides to any tradition and in this book we see both which I think is very fair of the author.


I hope you’ve enjoyed reading along. Please drop me a line if you are interested in joining us; we have so much fun doing these!

Until next time, write on.

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2 Responses to “Read Along With Me #2: The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar Chapters 14-16”

  1. Claudia {SparrowHawk} November 7, 2014 at 1:12 PM #

    I have to suspect that the reason I am 100% convinced that these parents are fully aware of the physical and emotional abuse, is in light of the books I am currently reading: The Underground Girls of Kabul and Keepers of the Covenant. Both books have covered a great deal of foundation with regards to the Middle Eastern culture; almost every woman/wife is physically abused. Sadly, most women (in Israel, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India) do not look forward to marriage.

    Also, do you, like me, find it interesting that Freddy and Sera’s father (I forget his name) do not hint towards physically abusing their wives? They both seem caring, patient and loving towards their spouses. Which also leaves me extremely curious about Banu’s approach towards Feroz and Sera’s courtship? Did she encourage the relationship from its inception? Did she teach Feroz how to deceptively woo Sera in?

    I took a peek at the book you mentioned, it sounds so depressing! I wouldn’t be able to contain my wrath. I am not sure if I would be able to pick it up; I’m struggling to get through The Underground Girls as it is! But I agree with your points Sam 🙂

    I love your observations on the musing topic! I have heard/read more negative responses (than positive ones) on the American tradition in leaving the elderly in a nursing home care facility or even alone at home to care for themselves.

    In my culture, we take mom or grandma in to live with a relative. Interestingly enough, my grandma is currently living with my momma. 🙂 In fact, my step-dad –who is fully American- has found it very difficult to accept this custom ha ha! But at least he is working towards accepting the tradition right? Ha ha! I keep telling him that he shouldn’t have married a Latina, we are a rowdy bunch and way too overprotective of our loved ones.


    • Sam November 8, 2014 at 11:39 AM #

      I think Feroz’s treatment of Sera is more troubling in light of Freddy’s lack of abuse toward his wife. I wonder if there’s a friend or relative from whom Feroz got this idea that it’s somehow okay.

      How interesting that your family has dealt with conflicting traditions about the older generations. I think it would be hard to adopt to a custom that’s not only different from your own, but completely opposite. My husband’s family has some Italian traditions that I find odd or I’ve never heard of before, but none of them have (yet) been the opposite of what I’ve experienced or been used to. I hope he can come to appreciate your abuela living with him!

      Happy Reading!

      Liked by 1 person

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