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Friday, January 09, 2009

Born Confused - Tanuja Desai Hidier

I think I must have been born in India sometime in a previous life, because for some reason I'm kind of obsessed with India. Give me a book about India, a movie about India, a Bollywood flick, anything. I love them all. So of course when I saw the cover of Born Confused, even though I already had a zillion books checked out from the library, I had to get it.

In many ways this is a typical coming of age novel, where the protagonist, Dimple Lala (and how great of a name is that??!!) is trying to figure out who she is, who she wants to be, and how to get there. But the cultural pulls, both from her Indian born parents and her American roots, make Dimple's coming of age a bit more challenging.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but I think this book is more suitable for older readers for a couple of reasons. One is its complex and thought provoking themes such as arranged marriage, race, cultural identity and the power of art and creativity. I think older readers would appreciate these themes more and be able to think about them with more depth. The other reason is the writing itself. Not only does the author use a lot of Indian words without a glossary, the writing itself can be pretty complex, and less sophisticated readers might be lost. The writing is amazing and beautifully done, but it might overwhelm some readers.

This book is available at the Multnomah County Public Library, and if you are a lover of all things Indian like I am and are a mature reader, I'd highly recommend this excellent novel.

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