Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier

cover of the book Born ConfusedBorn Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Copyright Year:
Published: 2003
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks
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Format: Paperback
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No. of Pages: 512
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No. In Series:
ISBN: 9780439510110
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Dimple Lala doesn’t know what to think. Her parents are from India, and she’s spent her whole life resisting their traditions. Then suddenly she gets to high school and everything Indian is trendy. To make matters worse, her parents arrange for her to meet a ‘suitable boy. ‘ Of course it doesn’t go well — until Dimple goes to a club and finds him spinning a magical web . Suddenly the suitable boy is suitable because of his sheer unsuitability. Complications ensue. This is a funny, thoughtful story about finding your heart, finding your culture, and finding your place in America. —— From Publishers Weekly In this enlightening first novel, Hidier offers readers an engrossing, personal account of the Indian-American experience through the eyes of an insightful narrator. Dimple Lala, a New Jersey teen interested in photography, has been confused about her identity since she entered the world the ‘wrong way, ‘ causing her mother ‘twelve treacherous hours of painful labor. ‘ Her fascination with photography reveals Dimple’s keen sense of perception as well as her role as an observer rather than a participant. ‘Not quite Indian, and not quite American, ‘ Dimple unsuccessfully tries to blend in, riding on the coattails of her blue-eyed, blonde best friend, Gwyn. The author nimbly describes the shared outsider status that drew together the two, ‘the rich little girl who lived like an orphan and the brown little girl who existed as if she were still umbilically attached to her parents. ‘ During Dimple’s 17th year, however, the tables suddenly turn when Dimple’s parents introduce her to Karsh Kapoor, the son of their close friends from India. Through their meeting, the author reveals Dimple’s mother’s own secret creative aspirations (to become a dancer in her youth) as well as another first-generation teen’s attempt to straddle both cultures. When Gwyn becomes infatuated with Karsh, Dimple helps Gwyn become a suitable girlfriend for him, even as she gradually comes to admire Karsh herself. In the process, the heroine embarks on a journey of self-discovery. On one level, the book explores the growing pains, rebellious phases, peer pressures and first love experienced universally by teens. On a deeper level, it celebrates a harmonious blending of cultures as it traces one adolescent’s bumpy trek towards self-actualization. If a few subplots take the main action on a slight detour (e. g. , Gwyn’s relationship with her high school-cum-college boyfriend, etc. ), the sparkling prose will carry readers along. The author seamlessly integrates descriptions of Indian food, dress and customs, often spiced with Dimple’s sarcastic commentary. But even as Dimple distances herself from her family’s traditions, her sense of respect and genuine affection for her accomplished parents (both doctors) are never far from the surface. The author poetically captures the essence of her characters and the richness of seemingly insignificant moments. Absorbing and intoxicating, this book is sure to leave a lasting impression. Ages 13-up. Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to the Hardcover edition. From School Library Journal Grade 9 Up-Dimple Lala has spent her entire life trying to fit in. In India, she is too American, while in America she feels unable to conform, largely because of her parents’ efforts to educate and involve her in Indian culture. By her 17th birthday, she feels incapable of making anyone happy and is hopelessly confused as to where she belongs. Her parents are unhappy about her obsession with photography and her dating activities, while Dimple herself feels that her best friend, Gwyn, is either ignoring her for a new boyfriend or trying to usurp Dimple’s family. Her parents come up with what they think is a perfect solution-they introduce her to Karsh, a suitable boy. Dimple is turned off at the thought. Just when she is sure that things can’t get more complicated, she meets him again, now involved in activities that would render him completely unsuitable to her parents but that interest her. By this time Gwyn decides that he seems like the perfect boyfriend for her and Dimple ends up with a number of tricky situations. This involving story, filled with detail about the protagonist’s life and background, will reward its readers. The family background and richness in cultural information add a new level to the familiar girl-meets-boy story. Teens will be rooting for Dimple and her quest to find her own place in her family and country. Betsy Fraser, Calgary Public Library, Canada Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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