Title: The Night Diaries
Author: Veera Hiranandani
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
In The Night Diaries, Nisha receives a diary on her 12th birthday and turns to writing to make sense of her world during the Partition of India in 1947. She writes about her love of cooking, her family, and her confusion and fear as gaining independence from Britain has split her country into two parts and her family is forced to move to a new home. While Muslims and Hindus used to live side by side peacefully, her country is split and there is one part for Muslims and another for Hindus.
Veera Hiranandani shows us the turbulent historical period of the Partition of India from the perspective of a young girl, and well balances details of this event and Nisha’s personal thoughts, ideas, and struggles. Her pacing and storytelling is wonderful, and although she keeps the story real, she also keeps it hopeful. Nisha’s story is told with enough detail that readers with little or no knowledge about the Partition of India can understand it, yet the story is still interesting and coherent.
I appreciated how Veera Hiranandani shows us how Nisha recognized the changes in her world, and her wondering what it might be like if things were different, if her mother were alive, or if she could still see people and not try to figure out if they were Muslim or Hindu and if they could stay or had to go.
The Night Diaries is epistolary, written as a series of letters by Nisha. Although I don’t always like stories written in letters, I think this format was a good choice for this story. It allows the author to share details and Nisha’s thoughts and feelings that help us understand her and her time better without feeling like the story is being interrupted.
If You Like…
If you enjoyed Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson, Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, or The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Bradley, you will like The Night Diaries. While targeted toward children, The Night Diaries should interest anyone who likes learning about historical events, likes to get to know a character, and appreciates outstanding storytelling.
Have you read The Night Diaries? Do you like historical fiction?