The Sweet and Simple Kind – Book Review

I don’t do book reviews, I don’t know how to do them, but as I read this book, all I knew for sure, was that I had to share what I thought about this book.


The Sweet and Simple Kind, A novel of Sr Lanka by Yasmine Gooneratne. I picked it up because the synopsis looked interesting, never for a moment, imagining that it would blow me away.

It traces the life of 2 cousins, who form a close friendship, through the vacations that the spend together. As their lives evolve, the author also, manages to paint a wonderful picture of Sri Lankan society and politics during that time. The two cousins, Latha and Tsunami Wijesinha, are of the same age, with just three months between them.

Tsunami Wijensinha’s family is the more affluent, more westernised family(in some ways, more British than the British themselves) and her mother is an Indian Tamil. Latha’s family is not as well off, and her mother is extremely strong in her views about Sinhalese values, which she feels that Tsunami’s family does not give enough importance to. As Latha is growing up, she finds a wonderful feeling of freedom in Tsunami’s house that she never finds in her own, only to find much later, that it is all reversed. Her, once rigid, family becomes a sanctuary for both her and her cousin.

The books traces there lives, the turbulence in their personal lives as well as their societies as they try to over come an embarrassing family scandal and go on to university together. How they react and behave when confronted by racial and caste discrimination. People changing, slowly but surely. The book just reminds me of issues, that face probably, every society. How some of the westernised folk look down on  Sinhalese speakers, how Tamils and other minorities are not treated as equals.. and how it all erupts, finally.. It mirrors society everywhere so well. And it also brings home the fact that intolerance and racial chauvinism can only be detrimental in the long run.

The characters are drawn up so well, and emotions, so beautifully conveyed. I almost cried when the book ended.. If there is any book that I have absolutely loved, in recent times, this is it! And best of all, I  got a feel of Sri Lanka, the country. The issues that it had to face as it evolved from Ceylon to Sri Lanka. One thing I know for sure is, I am going to re-read it now.. and that I need to find her other books to devour.


55 thoughts on “The Sweet and Simple Kind – Book Review

  1. smithus, sti,l half alseep here.. will come bak to actually read post

    ha ha ha!!! Can’t believe it that people are trying to be ‘first’ even in their sleep 🙂 Go to sleep and come back later – it’s just a book review post.


  2. I’m going to start searching for this book now. If its a new one then I won’t find it at our local library here 😦

    It’s published in 2006. I was so amazed when I read it! Can’t stop talking about it 🙂 Am looking for other books of hers now. I just picked it up from the library as it sounded interesting. It was so so worth it 🙂


  3. I dont read books. So pass ! 😀

    Why no new posts from you?? Have been waiting!!! Impatiently!! Even came to check at your site- just in case google reader – chadhikya-fied me 🙂

    Btw, like how I used to tell the other Smita who does a lot of book reviewing, Please review books like Tinkle, Archies, etc. It would help readers like me 😉

    😆 At the rate I am having to read to my daughter – don’t be surprised if I start reviewing Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood 🙂


  4. Well, now I have finally woken up 😛 😛
    Do you sleep-blogsurf 🙂 like sleep-walking 🙂 for you to land here in half sleep 🙂

    book sounds interesting 😛 😛 😛 will read it for sure 😛

    I think it gave me a better perspective to the conflict in Sri Lanka too.. Also, it just reinforces the causes of conflict.. how unsurmountable differences can be overcome – with a little tolerance.. I really, really liked it!


    • the first thing I do when I wake up is check blog updates……… 😛 it is a time when I am half asleep…… 😛 ROFL

      ROFL !I used to do that earlier – now am detoxifying and trying to catch up on my neglected reading 🙂


  5. never heard of this author but the plot seems interesting and the book cover is pretty…i might just read it sometime..

    I had never heard about the author either.. Just literally picked it off the shelves – because the synopsis was interesting and was pleasantly surprised to find it very good.


    • U know Smithu .. just today i was asking a colleague at office if she recommends any book … I ws done with all of them that I had; all the new ones too n I c this review; a gud one abt a gud book at that 🙂

      oh great 🙂 I never expected it to be this good.. But I really, really liked it..

      Gng to buy 2mrw itself! U read more books n give us the reviews 🙂
      Will do – my library here is not very good 😦 And I don’t buy books here as transporting them back to India is a pain 😦 So will review if I come across something impressive 🙂

      Thank u 🙂

      I should thank you for your lovely words:)


  6. wow! nice review Smithus 🙂
    you should do more of them…

    Will pick up the book 🙂

    Thank you Pixie – I don’t do book reviews because I feel that I can never do justice to the writer 🙂 But I really wanted to share this one 🙂 Hope you like reading it too.


  7. Sounds like a good, readable book. Let’s see if I can find it somewhere. Thank you for telling us about it.

    It was! Please do let me know what you think of it – if you do read it.


  8. Sounds like a good book although I must admit that I’ve never heard of this author…I’ll try to get my hands on it…

    I had not heard of the author either.. just plucked it off the lib shelves.. and was amazed at her writing..

    I was meaning to ask you – how are the libraries in Singapore?


  9. Sounds like a good book. Never heard of the author though.

    I hadn’t heard of the author either – I liked this book of hers.. will try some others of hers too..


  10. Sigh… !!

    Books… !! I used to love them and lots… but just have lost the patience of reading any more… sounds interesting though… !! 🙂

    Really? Oh that’s sad.. I can’t do without reading. I had got a little slack with too much blog-hopping – now I am cutting down on it and have started reading just as much 🙂


  11. this sounds like a really good book Smitha 🙂
    will pick it up for sure

    ..after ages I have come across a ‘different’ book 🙂

    It certainly was a different book.. and from a different perspective too.. It was a first for me – a book about Sri Lanka – by a Sri Lankan author..


  12. I was looking for a book to read and i remember IHM did a post on books,i selected a book from her post and now i am thinking of buying this book.Srilanka is a beautiful country,the other day i saw a documentary on srilanka 🙂

    I really liked it – hope you do too 🙂 Sri Lanka is supposed to be beautiful.


  13. And you said you don’t know how to do book reviews!!!

    Thank you Masood 🙂

    Even I feel like reading it now! 😛

    err….not that I don’t read at all but me more into mainstream fiction.
    Do read it – if you get a chance 🙂 And I hope you like it 🙂


  14. Cake?! What am I missing here? I want some cake too!!!

    I am supposed to be baking a cake for everybody 🙂 Next time I bake – some your way too, for sure 🙂

    Looks to be an interesting read… trying to avoid ‘deep’ books at the mo though 🙂 Might pick it up later!

    Great 🙂 Let me know if you do 🙂

    Hope you enjoyed the sunshine while it lasted… shitty weather is back. GAH!
    I know – horrible horrible wet weather! It is supposed to be summer!!!! Yes, we did make the most of the sunshine 🙂


    • 🙂 We anyways dance in the virtual world. Let’s sit on the virtual couch n njoy the virtual cake 🙂
      Thanks Pixie 🙂

      And u know .. Strawberry cake ma favourite 😉

      Is it 🙂 Me too! I love strawberry in everything 🙂 From smoothies to ice creams to cake 🙂


  15. Nice review, Smitha! I’ll have to read the book now- sounds like it’s very interesting.

    Thank you Manju, pls do let me know how you find it, if you do read it.


  16. Seems like a good book. You have reviewed it very precisely, so that no suspense is revealed! Will definitely look for it in our library.
    I was trying hard not to give away anything 🙂 It was not easy 🙂

    Reminded me of Mani Rathnam’s movie, ‘kannaththil muththamittaal’. It came in Hindi too. Madhavan and Simran acted very well.

    Is it? I have not seen it – I hardly watch movies 😦


  17. Hey this is a nice review and the book looks my kind. Will try grabbing a copy.


    I do hope you read it and review it 🙂 I love the way you review books 🙂


  18. Sounds like a nice book. 🙂
    Added to the list! I think it is an important book because we hardly know about the life in that part of the world. I mean the common man’s life.

    Yes, I hardly had a clue about Sri Lanka.. apart from the vague stuff about LTTE.. This certainly gave me some perspective..


  19. *adding book to wish list*

    this was a lovely review smithu! i am so gonna ask for this one….its very intersting the way u wrote of it!
    fleshing of characters!!!!! my fav bit of anything!!! that one line made me say “ok, decided, i will read this!”
    🙂 You are a cutie pie 🙂 I do hope you like it – if you do read it. It was after a long time that I read something different.

    sigh, at the pace of everything now, all i get to peacefully read is the Tinkle Comics i religiously buy on the 5th of every month (that’s when it hits news stands)
    i love my tinkle!!! tee hee!

    ha ha 🙂 Tinkle. You have a lot of company – Vimmuuu, Solilo .. I hardly ever read comics coz they get over so fast! I read way too fast! That was on reason, I never picked up M&Bs. I would finish them in under an hour – and what to do next? 🙂


  20. I am going book hunting. I hope I find it online as an ebook. i just found out that the world book fair is having a free download month and I’m crossing my fingers i find it there. doubtful though. I want to read it right away and cannot wait to get to a shop for it. I already like the many messages the cover is conveying.

    Welcome here ‘A’ 🙂
    I couldn’t find it in the ebook fair:( I do hope you get it.. and that you like it:)


          • I know 😦 She has this bad cough 😦 and it is quite bad today. Have got an appt for 10:50.. Will leave in a little while 😦

            Glad to know that you are fine 🙂 I thought you were not well, with all that atishooo 🙂


          • No no.. I have been getting wet in the rain two consecutive days… !! but I m a tough nut to crack… !!! take good care of her… !! its time for some hot haldi wala milk i guess… !!

            Getting wet in the rains! Wow! I wish we could do that here – but its too cold 😦 and wet 😦 Arre, she won’t have anything hot 😦

            there I go being the advising grandpa !! geee..
            ok grandpa – as you say 🙂 Now you’ve given me a new name to call you by 🙂


          • Yes yes me caught the virus .. I hv a baddddddd throat .. but no mauna vrath to cure it 😛 Let it take its own sweet time ; I don’t mind @ all 😉

            Oh you too 😦 ‘no mauna vrath to cure it 😛 Let it take its own sweet time ; I don’t mind @ all ;)’ – LOL!


  21. Will surely check it out. Have not yet read any work of fiction with a Sri Lankan backdrop. Sounds interesting.

    It was a first for me – and I loved the way she made it all come alive..


  22. definitely sounds interesting!
    sometimes the identities of ppl are lost…. a lot of it is conditioning by the society and family. now what happens when the former is in cahoots with the latter? the book u mentioned seems to be talking about exactly that..! 🙂

    Oh yes! Absolutely!


  23. oh! Poohi too? 😦

    ((((((((((((((hugs))))))))))for her
    She will get well soon:)
    god bless her:)

    Thanks so much!! Poohi passes hugs back 🙂 She is actually loving the attention – nothing makes her happier than going to the doc 🙂


  24. adding the book to my reading list Smitha…. 🙂

    As you have already know I am with HP fever now 😀 and stil lot of books were waiting in line…

    I am noting this down and read it in future… 🙂

    Beautifully written Smitha 🙂


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