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Posted February 25, 2014
An American Brat, written by Bapsi Sidhwa, provides an in depth, but rather brief description on American culture as seen by a Pakistani teenager. Sidhwa was born in Pakistan but currently lives in Houston and is a much decorated author of four novels. Feroza, the American brat of the novel, is sent from Pakistan to live with her uncle in America as her parents are becoming worried that she is becoming too entangled in Pakistani culture and political issues. During her supposed three month stay, Feroza decides to stay in America to attend college and, through her experiences, the novel delves into Americanization of the young Pakistani girl and how abrasive the two cultures can be. Considering Sidhwa was born and raised in Pakistan prior to coming to America, all of the vividly painted pictures of Pakistan and Feroza’s reactions in America can most likely be considered spot on. Feroza’s home town, Lahore, is the same city where Sidhwa grew up, after all.
Sidhwa does a fantastic job of examining Feroza’s Americanization through many different eyes. To Feroza’s uncle, her change in personality is normal and expected of a foreign girl in America. To Feroza’s mother, however, she has forsaken her family and become an American brat who is extremely selfish. These observations from the character bring up the theme of cultural and religious differences that Feroza must face throughout the novel. Lots of individual conflicts over culture pop up between almost every character and serve as a backbone to the novel. Learning to cope with these cultural differences either ended in success or complete failure. By having Feroza interact with so many different characters in many different places, Sidhwa was able to balance these successes and failures pertaining to intense cultural differences.
The plot itself follows a chronological pattern with a few changes in perspective. Most of the book is centered on Feroza, but there will be a few chapter where the setting will suddenly shift and a different character will become the center of attention. While these changes are a little sudden, they still fit in with the flow of the chapter and offer important plot information at the correct times. One of the aspects I dislikes is that the plot is very one dimensional. The book centers on Feroza’s experiences and her life in America, so much of the plot depicts her everyday life and struggles with no underlying goal.
What I enjoyed about the book is its attention to detail and its knowledge on the cultural matters at hand. Sidhwa is extremely knowledgably about this subject and, in reading An American Brat, it reads more like a piece of nonfiction rather than fiction. Every character is believable and true to their nature, whether they are American or Pakistani. When her mother eventually comes to visit Feroza in America towards the end of the novel, her reaction is realistic and authentic. These believable characters are what drive the novel forward, even though most of them are one dimensional. I do recommend this book for an interesting look at how cultures can conflict against each other in sometimes humorous ways. Sidhwa’s characters are very believable and real, which adds greatly to the plot of this insightful novel.
Posted February 25, 2014
An American Brat is puts a humorous spin on what it is like to travel to a new country, discover the pains and gains of falling in love, and allows an insight on what it truly means to be in a family. An American Brat starts off with Cyrus and Zareen Ginwalla, a well off family in the city of Lahore in Pakistan, discussing what to do with their child. Zareen is worried that their daughter, Feroza is being influenced by the intense fundamental ideals that are pressing the people of Pakistan at this time, and as a result the two parents decide to send Feroza to America. During her trip to America, Feroza stays with her youthful uncle Manek, who acts as more of an older brother-like figure in the story. At first, Feroza is unsure of whether or not she likes America, however through many trials and tribulations such as showering in insect infested bathrooms and eating canned food daily, she begins to embrace America fully. Through her journey, Feroza decides to study at a junior college in Twin Falls, Idaho, where she meets her roommate Jo, and the two immediately enjoy each other’s company. Jo is a strong, independent girl who loves to drink and be promiscuous with men. Jo provides Feroza a wake up call on how to live in America and enjoy her youth, while Feroza also teaches Jo how to control herself and not fall into the trap of love.
Feroza experiences love when she meets a boy named David when she is in the market to buy a car. David is kind, shy in a good way, and the two immediately fall for each other. Everything seems great, expect both Feroza and David ignore a major detail; David is Jewish and Feroza is a Parsee. This is a huge issue because Parsees are permitted from marrying outside of the religion. David and Feroza are at a crossroads of whether to marry and go against the Feroza’s parents wishing and risk being thrown out of the Parsee community, or to go their separate ways and cut their losses.
An American Brat puts in depth detail on what it is truly like to live in a new country, without being too serious about it. Sidhwa expertly depicts the emotions that overwhelm the main characters during times of dismay, and really give the reader a hearty grasp on the struggles that foreigners face in America. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in immigration, foreign customs, or anyone who enjoys a good character development story. Coming from someone who honestly would have never picked up this book on first glance, I can safely say that I was delightfully surprised by An American Brat. It allows the reader to really get a new perspective on what it means to be American, and it gives an honest opinion of how the rest of the world views America. For anyone who is looking for a good read that is exciting, humorous, and culturally enriching, An American Brat is definitely worth the read.
Posted February 25, 2014
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American Brat, by Bapsi Sidhwa, follows Forenza as she learns to live in America and develops in the American Culture. The novel provides a foreign view on the American society and portrays it with both positive and negative connotations. The depiction of Forenza as she changes through the influence of America yet stays strong to her prior beliefs and morals is amazingly detailed and motivating. The book is very well written and an interesting way to depict America.
The plot follows a girl named Forenza as she adjusts to the American culture while trying to hold onto her Pakistani values. The story beginning with Forenza in Pakistan where Sidhwa gives a little background of the life that Pakistani Parsee’s live and focuses mostly on Forenza and her family. However, once Forenza is in America, Sidhwa introduces a multitude of characters that contribute to the Americanization of Forenza and focuses on their influence on her. She has many detailed relationships that introduce her to a life style dramatically different from the one she left in Pakistan which depict America as both a great nation of wealth and power as well as a nation with more freedom resulting in a more open society. Yet through all of the tests and tribulations that America throws at her, she is still able to keep her Pakistani beliefs and morals.
Bapsi Sidhwa writing in American Brat is very good. She combines many emotions in brilliant scenes to convey the roller coast Forenza is on when she is trying to adjust to the new country and life style. Her story telling is very good and gives superb detail to not only the scenery but also the relationships and feelings throughout. She develops the relationship between Manek and Forenza in such a realistic way that they felt like part of my family. The dialogue between all the characters is very realistic and creates complex characters. Although the description is very good at times, they also take away from the book. She over describes deferent aspects and becomes very monotonous. Although some of these problems make parts of the book difficult to get through, the novel is mostly very well written and very powerful.
The story of Forenza is a very inspirational story. Her ability to adjust to the new world and gain bits and pieces from the new culture while keeping her faith and morals is a very powerful lesson for all. There is no person I would suggest not reading this book since it greatly applies to everyone and all the changes we have to overcome. I would definitely suggest reading it if you’re having any identity problems or going to have a big change in your life. This novel is perfect for the senior who is either going into college or going into the working world since it has to do with adjusting to new cultures while keeping who you are.
Posted February 25, 2014
Bapsi Sidhwa has created a novel perfectly implementing the effects that new environments and new places have on an individual. An American Brat brings you into the life of Feroza Ginwalla, a 16-year-old girl from a pre-war-on-terror Pakistan. A girl with strong home beliefs and values of the Pakistani way of living becomes a spot on American teenager in the course of several years. The story begins with Feroza’s mother wanting her to go to America to avoid the violence against women that was and still is present in Pakistan. Feroza is welcomed to the United States of America with the exact expectations of America that Feroza had heard from her home in Pakistan, promiscuous and inappropriate behavior, at least by Pakistani standard. She spends her time with her uncle Manek and learns the ropes of the American way at his college, MIT (using deodorant, drinking alcohol, going partying). She soon learns that America also has much to offer her and slowly, but surely becomes a true American. My personal opinion on the book is that it is definitely a great leisure read for anyone looking for an easy to understand book. For a dedicated reader who is looking for a book with more in depth analysis, this book would not fit their bill. It would certainly appeal to those that have a particular interest in the lifestyle in Pakistan and with how it compares to the United States. -Review by Will NagleWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 25, 2014
This is a tremendous book written by Bapsi Sidhwa. It is about the move of Feroza, a 16 year old girl, to American. She moves from Pakistan to America at this age. Her parents, Cyrus and Zareen, want her to move because of the strong fundamentalism in Pakistan. Ferozah moves in with her uncle Marek, an MIT grad student, who is only 6 years older than she is. She turns out loving the lifestyle in America. She eventually decides to attend college in America and falls in love. This book has taught me a lot. I have learned to be optimistic when approaching a new situation. If you go into a new situation open minded then you will be more likely to enjoy the outcome. I have learned this from the book. It is a nice book to read. I truly did enjoy it and i would strongly recommend it for you to read it. It also does a nice job of comparing the cultures in America and Pakistan. I learned how much women are discriminated against in Pakisan.
Posted February 25, 2014
Adaptation is the Key to be Successful as an Immigrant
Below is a review of An American Brat by Bapsi Sidhwa. The novel tells the story of Feroza a Pakistani girl that moves to America. She is forced t migrate by her mother. Feroza throughout the novel transforms her character from a shy conservative Pakistan girl to an independent and consfident women. Her mother Zareen was preoccupied because her daughter had adopted Parsi-like orthodoxy in her way of life. Feroza migrates to New York and is subjected to to bad treatment form airsport and costumes officials. After arriving in American ground, she was surprised by many of its modernity and the moving escalators. America was very moden for her standards. Feroza moves to the Big Apple with her uncle Manek. Through her adventures she becomes open minded. Feroza decides to get an education in Twin Falls, Idaho. Her parent gave her permission to get a degree. Getting an education in the Parsee costumes was not common for women. Moving to Twin Falls was the beginning of her real adaptation to American life. Jo was very American and her roommate in Twin Falls. Jo was to responsible for Feroza transformation that Feroza had undergone in college. Feroza learns how to drink drive dance and speak as an American. Feroza became very American. A major change that feroza underwent was accepting that she would like to Marry a non-parsee. Her old self was very conservative and would have never thought of marrying out of her culture. Feroza strongly disapproves of the the relationship with the Jewish guy. Zareen is successful in breaking Feroza from her loved one. Feroza continues to live in America but becomes strong because of experiences.
The author took a very a funny approach when telling this story. She did a very good job at recounting the struggles of Feroza as an immigrant. I found it really easy to read. I also like that the author explained the vocabulary words at the end of the book, the word “roti” means bread. The initiative of using parsi words and explaining them was good. Something that I learned/realized was that I should not take education for granted. I forgot that in other religions and cultures women are still not worthy of education. It is unnecessary that a woman have a higher education.
I would certainly recommend this book as one in many occasions does not realize how different cultures are. I consider myself lucky of being born in the land of freedom. Many U.S citizens sometimes take for granted what America offers openly. The freedom of religion and speech is not a universal idea. Some people in many countries are against women receiving education and of marrying outside of the same culture. This books opens the eyes of many readers that outside of America many do not have freedom of choice. It is a good book to read and to realize that if one is reluctant to change, adaptation would me much harder for an immigrant in any foreign country.
Posted February 25, 2014
“An American Brat” is a realistic fiction story told by author Bapsi Sidhwa, that tells the story of a young Pakistani girl who is sent on a vacation to America by her parents. The author Bapsi Sidwha wrote this book for a few of her family and friends, Noshir, Minoo, Feroze, and in memory of Laurie Colwin. An American brat is about a young girl named Feroza who is sent by her relatively liberal mother Zareen to live in the United States. The mother sends Feroza off because she wants her to experience the freedoms of the United States, and to get a vacation from her Pakistani life because Feroza was becoming quite the miserable girl. Once she arrives to the United States, Feroza is immediately forced to adapt to all the new ways of living that come with being a resident in the United States. For example, one of the first concepts Marek instills in Feroza’s daily routine is the idea that she must put on deodorant every day, which is uncommon for Feroza. During her time living with Marek Feroza experiences all sorts of different American customs, as she often goes with him to M.I.T and eventually finds herself at Southern Idaho College where she is studying to be a Hotel Manager. Although initially Feroza was only supposed to spend three months in the states, within no time Feroza found herself in the midst of what would end up being a three year stay in the states. Eventually Feroza falls in love with a white man named David and eventually moves in with him. Hearing this news, and fearing that her daughter was on her way to marrying someone outside of the Parsee Zoroastrian religion and therefore becoming unpure and committing a cardinal crime against nature, Zareen heads to the United States to see what kind of impact she can have on the situation. Instead of directly talking to Feroza, Zareen targets David and in her sayings, convinces David that marrying Feroza may not be such a good idea after all, and essentially scares him away. This book taught me a lot about the lack of freedom many Muslim women experience on a daily basis. It also pointed out a lot of the difficulties that come with moving to a country like America that, I, as an American, have always taken for granted, for example learning the different slang words of our language. Lastly with the airport scene, the book pointed out one of numerous stereotypes held against people that appear to be of Indian descent. One thing I liked about the book was the author’s sense of humor, I believe Bapsi Sidhwa did a good job of incorporating the humorous aspects of coming to America into her story. One thing I did not like, was the names of the foreign characters, not that it is the authors fault, but I really struggled to understand who was who throughout the course of the book, for example still at this point in the book I do not know the name of Ferozas grandmother, or of the lesbian roommates. I would not recommend reading this book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 25, 2014
As a Pakistani herself, Bapsi Sidhwa gives us an interesting look into the lifestyle in Pakistan and the Parsee community. An American Brat centers on a Feroza Ginwalla, a Parsee girl from Lahore, Pakistan, that is sent to the United States by her parents because they feel she is not developing into the type of young woman a Parsee girl should. They want her to just go on a three to four month vacation, and stay with her uncle, who is more of a cousin. This leads to her falling head over heels for America and eventually getting accepted into a small community college and then even attending a University. Our main character experiences everything America has to offer. America does change Feroza rather drastically, but it is ultimately your opinion if it is for the better…or for the worse.
An American Brat had a good pace to it. Sidhwa did not doddle around in Pakistan for much of the book. Feroza was in American and experiencing funny differences between the two cultures within a few chapters. This book taught me a few different things. It displayed the difficulties that someone from another country coming to America can go through, or even an American visiting another country. There were many things I liked about this book, and very few things that I disliked. I loved how much it made me actually laugh out loud. For example, how Manek struggled so much with the immigration officer about how Feroza was not his fiancé, and then later when he gets married Sidhwa drops the one liner “Aban was distantly related to the Junglewallas” (Sidhwa 205). There were also many funny moments as Feroza was still learning about the American culture even late into her stay, like when her college roommate Jo was teaching her to curse. However, something I did dislike was quite frankly the Parsee religion. It did not make any sense. Why are they supposed to spread the word of their religion around the world, but yet no one is allowed to convert to it, and men are allowed to marry outside of it and keep their faith, but the women cannot. This constantly frustrated me throughout the book. Otherwise, I did not have any other real complaints about the book.
My recommendation of the book would be to almost anyone, especially someone that likes stories of immigration to America and strong women. It is a pretty quick read for being 317 pages long. There are some pages that will be tough to get through, but there are also long distances in the book in which you will not be able to put it down. Bapsi Sidhwa writes an all in all excellent novel.
Posted March 22, 2013
“An American Brat” gives a good look into how someone immersing herself into a culture that is not her own can truly shape her as a person. Feroza comes to the United States at age sixteen, when she is clearly old enough to be set in what she believes to be appropriate religiously and socially. Even her mother says, “You’ve always been so stubborn!” in reference to Feroza’s strength in her beliefs (416). The characters in the novel were all three-dimensional. Every person in the book was depicted with a lot of description, both physically and personality-wise. These vivid portrayals made it so that the reader could understand and picture the characters with ease. Though this added to the reading experience, there was one aspect of the book that irked me the entire time while reading it—the dry plot. Though a lot went on throughout the novel, it was quite boring overall. There were a few exciting chapters towards the end of the book, but while reading there was absolutely no suspense. Whenever I put the book down, I was not eagerly awaiting my next chance to pick it up again.
This book gets a mixed recommendation from me. It depends on what you are looking for in a novel in order for me to say whether I recommend it or not. If you are looking for some exceptional characters with a lot of development, then “An American Brat” can certainly provide it. Also, a look into different cultures’ affect on a person is described quite well in this novel. The writing is also quite skillful and provides a lot of detail. However, when I read a book I am often quite critical of the plot. I enjoy reading plots that develop quickly, have some complication or climax involved, and a bit of suspense never hurts. As a reader, I believe these elements are
Posted March 22, 2013
While I had my issues with the story, it was a relatively easy and informative read. Bapsi Sidwa obviously has a strong grasp on the concepts she is trying to portray to her readers, being a Pakistani writer writing about Pakistani problems. For me, it felt more like I was watching someone’s life through a window when I would prefer a story with a plot, but if you like that you will enjoy it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 21, 2013
An American Brat by Bapsi Sidhwa, is the story of the American cultural influences on a native Pakistani girl. Feroza Ginwalla grew up in Pakistan in the 1970’s, a time of much political turmoil. The chaos that surrounded the country became unhealthy for a teenage girl like her. Her traditional views became much more conservative than even those of her parents. Her parents decided to send her to America on a vacation in hopes of opening her eyes to the world, loosing the ideals that Pakistan had instilled in her. As the novel unfolds, we are taken on a journey through Feroza’s unexpected and surprising encounters in America. Through the lessons from her Uncle Manek, who was already living in the U.S., and her brutally honest American roommate Jo, Feroza becomes assimilated to the American culture, adopting its attitudes, beliefs, and customs. As time continues in her stay in America, her views become farther and farther removed from her parents, loosing sight of the religious and social ideals she was brought up on, and clinging to the new American way of thinking. They begin to question whether sending her to America was a good thing after all. Sidhwa does a phenomenal job of addressing the American cultures and stereotypes as well as the Pakistani ones. Through the character’s transformation, she expands on the relationships between the two cultures and how they collide in many ways. The story also addresses the hardships that immigrants encounter when coming to America: language barriers, racial stereotypes, and other foreign obstacles. Throughout her stay in America, Feroza forms many relationships with both Americans and non-Americans, both of which help her transform and create her own opinions of American lifestyle while also changing her feelings about her life in Pakistan. This book was filled with exciting adventures and heartrending experiences that kept me reading. It was an eye-opening experience learning about life in America through the eyes of immigrants. As an America, one of the most interesting parts of the book was learning which values Manek thought were important when teaching Feroza how to live in America. It was interesting to see how an immigrant’s idea of what is important and how to act contrast those of an actual American. The book made me aware of aspects of American life and American treatment towards immigrants that I was completely oblivious to. For example, when Manek begins his career in America, he decides to change his name to Mike. He does so for the sake of the Americans he works with, eliminating the time and effort it would have taken them to otherwise learn his real name. It is surprising to me that Americans are so unwilling to accept the unknown. America is supposed to be a melting pot of different cultures and people, but making people conform to America because we are so intimidated by what is different is not an ideal that fits within the melting pot persona that America so proudly portrays.I would recommend this book to anyone looking to learn a little bit about not only Pakistani culture, but also about American culture, and the way the two inevitably oppose one another.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 21, 2013
Imagine growing up in Pakistan during the 1970s. The political scene is in turmoil, women have minimal rights, and the many religious sects are in ardent opposition of one another. Imagine being taken away from this chaos and implanted directly into American society. This is simply the story of Feroza Junglewalla.
An American Brat, written by Bapsi Sidhwa, is a story of a Pakistani teenage girl, Feroza. Afraid that she is becoming too conservative and withdrawn, Feroza’s parents decide to send her live with her uncle in the United States for three months. While she is there, she not only sees the sights, but also extends her stay by enrolling in college. She befriends people from all different walks of life and discovers that there is no stereotypical American, and no stereotypical American experience, contrary to her original beliefs. In addition to friendship, Feroza also finds love. Much to the dismay of her family in Pakistan, the man whom she falls in love with is Jewish. As a result, Feroza must struggle to find a medium between her strict Pakistani heritage, and her newfound American freedom.
The book itself gives much insight into Pakistani culture, norms, and mores. Encapsulating these within Feroza and setting her against the backdrop of American society makes for some interesting, humorous scenes. For instance, there is one scene where her uncle must explain to her the concept of deodorant, for in Pakistan it is not custom to use any kind of antiperspirant. The humor was what I found most enjoyable about the book. What I did not like about the book, however, was how the author chose to write the conclusion; to me, it seemed like a very abrupt ending and many things were left unresolved. The reader never finds out if Feroza makes peace with her family, and we never find out what happens with Feroza’s love life either. I think that the author could have worked harder to tie up the loose ends.
I do not think that I would recommend this book. While in various parts it can be considered quite comical, the plot seemed to drag on and at times got rather boring. I did not find myself eager to read on or unable to put the book down.
Posted November 6, 2012
An American Brat, by Bapsi Sidhwa is the story of Feroza Ginwalla, a Pakistani girl, who is sent to America by her family for an extensive vacation. Feroza grew up in Pakistan during the 1970s in a Parsee community. The Parsee community is a tight-knit group who believes in traditional customs. Reading about Feroza’s experience in America, I gained valuable insight into the hardships that an immigrant encounters while traveling or living in the United States. Sidhwa includes rich descriptions of both Pakistan and various places in America.
Arriving in America Feroza finds herself surprised and overwhelmed by aspects of American culture, such as the fast paced lifestyle and the clothing that women wear. However, by living and attending school in America, Feroza develops many direct relationships with her peers and, which helps her adjust acts as a serious catalyst for change. Her American roommate introduces her to a more American teenage lifestyle. Additionally, Feroza’s uncle, who has already moved to America to study, teaches Feroza American manners and behaviors. She gradually assimilates into this different lifestyle and establishes ideals that differ from her family’s values in Pakistan. She acquires a more American way of thinking about various matters, such as education and marriage. This creates worry and a divide between Feroza and her parents because while Feroza is broadening her perspectives, her mother and father are still occupied by their more conservative Parsee value. This becomes especially troublesome when Feroza falls in love with an American man and wants to marry out of her religion.
An American Brat does an immense job at demonstrating the struggles of immigrating and the hardships that many immigrants grapple with as they struggle to adjust to American culture without losing all sense of home and their original values. I gained a better understanding of the differences between America and Pakistan. Without a background in immigration literature or any personal experience, the themes of the novel as well as the events that take place throughout the story, led me to develop a strong grasp on what it is like to move to a different country and the struggles that come with feeling different. Although the detail and the realistic sense of immigrating is something that I liked most about this book, I do not think that Sidhwa did a good job at fully developing all of the side plots and characters. There are characters and conflicts between characters that tend to just disappear rather than becoming fully established. This left me with some confusion about without a complete understanding of what each side story contributed to the overall storyline.
I would recommend this book to all readers, even if you were not specifically interested in immigration literature. Being born to Zoroastrian parents and being raised in Pakistan and then moving to America gives Sidhwa credibility and the story a real sense of authenticity. An American Brat sparked my interest into the topic of immigration I believe that it can have the same impact on others. The humorous scenes and understandable situations of the characters will catch your attention and quickly pull you into a storyline that you will not want to stop reading.