Book Review : Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree by Simi K. Rao

Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree (Amazon Link)
Author : Simi K. Rao
Published By : Written Dreams Publishing
Year Published : 2019
Genre / Tags : Poetry, Short Stories
Formats : Paperback, eBook
# of Pages : 144 pages


Life is not about achieving perfection, it’s about reconciling with your imperfections.

Poems are fragments of life. In Simi K. Rao’s unique poetry collection for women, there are blissful moments; deep, invisible wounds; cries for help; declarations of defiance and philosophical observations. The poems and prose pieces compiling the collection are fragments of life elucidating the different phases of the human condition. Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree will leave readers wanting for more and have a deep impact on women of all ages.


I went into this poetry collection expecting something similar to Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur but Under The Shade of the Banyan Tree absolutely carves its own distinct path. The topics of the poems vary greatly from feminism, mental health, addiction, illness, isolation, love, family, Rao’s experiences working in the medical field, the list goes on. The emotions contain equal variance- anger, affection, despair, hope. Most of the poems are positive and uplifting in nature. I also really liked the poems that were inspired by books, complete with added notes for context. Some of the more puzzling poems also include notes for context. As I have felt with all the poetry collections I’ve read thus far, some of the poems are fantastic while others fall flat.

What really struck me though are the short stories. They’re placed at random locations throughout the book and most of them are quite interesting. Some have a dream-like and random feel while others are more down-to-earth.

The last of the short stories is quite lengthy and takes up several pages toward the end. Written with the clarity and closeness of a journal entry, I really felt for the life experiences conveyed there and was enthralled. As the child of an immigrant, reading stories about the intersections of gender and the navigating of multiple cultures has immense personal significance. There have been a surge of such titles in recent years but when I was younger, they were few and far between. Stories like these are important. This particular one left an impression and elevates this collection.

Disclosure : I received this book for review purposes.

Why You Should Try It – Poetry spanning a vast range of topics and short stories that add even more variety and a change of pace to the overall collection. This collection is a rollercoaster of emotions, but has an overall positive atmosphere.

Why You Might Not Like It – Some of the poems are very short and might come off as being too simple. While I found the short stories to be worthwhile, they can distract stylistically from the poems and the diary-like nature of them might not be everyone’s cup of tea.

Overall Rating – 8.5/10

Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree (Amazon Link)

Thanks for reading my review of Under The Shade of the Banyan Tree! Are you a fan of poetry and have any favorite poets to recommend? I’m gradually developing more and more of an affinity toward poetry, it can be such an uplifting reading experience and just relaxing. Exploring this genre has definitely expanded my TBR, looking forward to reading and reviewing more. ~ Kitty


2 thoughts on “Book Review : Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree by Simi K. Rao

  1. Great review, Kitty Marie! I feel like this title rings a bell but I’m not sure from where. Poems and short stories are kind of hit/miss for me but this sounds like it covers an interesting range of topics! Will definitely keep it in mind if I’m looking to read something like this one day 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Dini! I have felt the same way about poems/short stories and am only more recently diving into that pool. Short stories seem especially refreshing these days. I hope you like this book if you do decide to pick it up sometime. 🙂


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