Born Confused

( 100 )

Overview


Cross-cultural comedy about finding your place in America . . . and finding your heart wherever, from an amazing new young author.

Dimple doesn't know what to think. Her parents are from India, and she's spent years rebelling against their customs. Now everything from India is suddenly hip -- even her best friend Gwyn has a bindi dot as an accesory. To make matters worse, Dimple's parents are trying to set her up with a "suitable boy." Their first meeting is a disaster -- the ...

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Born Confused

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Overview


Cross-cultural comedy about finding your place in America . . . and finding your heart wherever, from an amazing new young author.

Dimple doesn't know what to think. Her parents are from India, and she's spent years rebelling against their customs. Now everything from India is suddenly hip -- even her best friend Gwyn has a bindi dot as an accesory. To make matters worse, Dimple's parents are trying to set her up with a "suitable boy." Their first meeting is a disaster -- the boy is way too soft-spoken.. But then she bumps into the boy again at a club -- where he's the DJ. Suddenly the suitable boy is actually suitable -- because of his sheer unsuitability. A comedy about balancing your culture with your confusion.

Seventeen-year-old Dimple, whose family is from India, discovers that she is not Indian enough for the Indians and not American enough for the Americans, as she sees her hypnotically beautiful, manipulative best friend taking possession of both her heritage and the boy she likes.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Dimple Lala is an ABCD, American Born Confused Desi, a charming, articulate Indian teen who spends her seventeenth summer trying to find herself with both her American friends and her loving immigrant parents who are still steeped in India's traditions and language. Growing up in Springfield, New York, down the street from her blonde, blue-eyed "supertwin," Gwyn, Dimple feels American, and she's rebellious when her parents start talking about finding her "a suitable boy." The arranged meeting with Karsh, a NYU student and son of Indian friends, is predictably strained and frustrating. "It's like Titanic. Without the romance," she confides to Gwyn, a comment she will rue all summer as her best friend gradually takes "the suitable boy." As Gwyn and Karsh move on, Dimple loses herself in her family and her background, only to find her many-cultured self, as well as a stronger, different friendship and "a suitable boy." Dimple is a photographer. Her "third eye" is always with her, and her narrative is a feast for the senses, creating a reading experience that is unusual in YA literature today. Yet this will not be an easy read. While it is the story of every teen, the writing is dense and detailed, with a vocabulary and references that will challenge readers. It's the careful choice of every word that marks this reading experience.--Booklist, December 15 2002-- boxed review

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.--School Library Journal, December 2002

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 a

Publishers Weekly
"An engrossing, personal account of the Indian-American experience through the eyes of a New Jersey teen," wrote PW in a boxed review. "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 toward self-actualization." Ages 13-up. (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
VOYA
Sixteen-year-old Dimple Lala, the only child of loving East Indian parents, has a good life. Dimple is confused about her identity, however, and despite her passion for photography, she lacks the self-confidence to pursue it. Her parents want her to embrace her Indian heritage, but because she has always lived in New Jersey, Dimple wants to be more American, more like her best friend Gwyn. When Dimple's parents set her up with Karsh Kapoor, the son of a family friend, she goes through with the uneventful meeting for her parents' sake. Later, in a chance meeting at a club, Dimple is surprised to discover that she likes Karsh. When Gwyn decides to go after Karsh, Dimple feels that she is no competition for her vivacious friend. Her interest in Karsh sparks a need to know more about her heritage, and Dimple gets involved in the local South Asian community. Dimple finds other South Asian Americans who are struggling with identity issues, including a lesbian couple and a drag queen, and she no longer feels like a misfit. As Dimple becomes more comfortable in her own skin, she moves from black-and-white to color photography, realizes she loves Karsh, and has a falling-out with Gwyn. Dimple's happy ending is a little too tidy, particularly her fast reunion with Gwyn, and therefore is a bit unbelievable. An unusual and delightful coming-of-age story, it begins rather slowly, but Desai Hidier's vivid descriptions and sense of humor will hold the attention of readers, and they will cheer on Dimple. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2002, Scholastic,432p,
— Carolyn Carpan
School Library Journal
Gr 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 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An Indian-American teen experiences a dizzying summer chasing boys, her best friend, and her identity. Dimple Lala is accustomed to being one of only two Indians in her suburban New Jersey high school, but custom does not lead to comfort, and she feels acutely that she has no real place either in the Indian community of her parents or the American world of her peers. When her best friend Gwyn, blonde, beautiful, and endlessly charismatic, fixes her up with a college boy for her 17th birthday and she becomes monumentally, stinking drunk, her parents decide to take drastic action in the form of an arranged introduction to a "suitable boy." Dimple does her best to fend off their good intentions, but, too late, she finds herself falling in love, almost against her will, with said suitable boy, who actually spins a mean disc as a nightclub DJ. Dimple emerges as a smart, funny, and original voice whose familial, friendship, and identity struggles are both universal and beautifully specific. Newcomer Desai Hidier crafts a frequently hilarious narrative whose familiar teen-quest-for-identity plot is peopled with highly distinctive and likable characters and is overlaid with a fearless and glorious sense of linguistic possibilities that (along with some idiosyncratic punctuation) seems positively Joyceian. The wordplay is fairly simple at first, but as the plot progresses and Dimple’s feelings and understandings become more complex, the language becomes increasingly metaphorical and abstract. On a solo nighttime photographic tour through New York, Dimple comes close to a cultural epiphany, and the descriptive language takes off. At one point she describes exiting the New York subway: "From a swifttunnel of cut blackness and counterfeit light through a yellowy pool of candle wax turnstiled, metal still muggy to the touch from that rush of hungering hands and up the stairs and out the narrow door into that greater darkness but this one enormously ongoing and violently adorned." If the plot is a tad predictable, if the love interest is just about too good to be true—who cares? The exuberant, almost psychedelic linguistic riffs will catch readers up in a breathtaking experience that is beyond virtually anything being published for teens today. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780439357623
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/28/2002
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 738,092
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Lexile: 890L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.64 (h) x 1.32 (d)

Meet the Author


Tanuja Desai Hidier is American-born and currently based in the UK. She grew up in Wilbraham, Massachusetts and graduated from Brown University. Prior to moving to the UK, she lived in New York City, where she worked by day as a writer/editor for magazines, CD-ROM projects and websites.

Her first novel, Born Confused, is a coming-of-age story with an Indian-American protagonist, an aspiring photographer living in New Jersey, and is set in both NJ and New York City, largely in the context of the burgeoning South Asian Club scene. The heart of Born Confused is about learning to bring two cultures together without falling apart, yourself, in the process. The book takes its title from ABCD, or American Born Confused Desi, a slightly derogatory term that the first generation South Asians in the States and elsewhere use to describe these second generation Americans who are supposedly “confused” about their South Asian backgroun. Desi is Hindi for “from my country.”

This theme of first and second generation India, and of finding your place in America, figures prominently in much of Desai Hidier's other work as well. her Partition-era short story, “The Border,” was awarded first prize in the fiction category in the London Writers/Waterstones Competition in October 2001. Also in the fall of 2001, her short story, “Tiger, Tiger,” was included in the Big City Lit anthology (New York City) celebrating the last decade of Asian-American writing. Earlier versions of both these works were part of the collection of connected stories for which whe was the 1995 recipient of the James Jones First Novel Fellowship Award.

Desai Hidier's short films, The Test (she wrote and directed) and The Assimiliation Alphabet (she co-wrote and -directed) deal with many of the same cultural assimilation themes as her fiction. The Test has screened at the Tribeca Film Center as part of the 19th Asian American International Film Festival, as well as several other venues. It received an Award of Merit from the 1996 Sinking Creek Film and Video Festival at Vanderbuilt University and was included in the curriculum of a New York University course in 1997, South Asian American Youth Comes of Age.

Tanuja now lives in London, where she is the lead vocalist/lyricist in a melodic rock band.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 100 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(76)

4 Star

(14)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 100 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 26, 2009

    totally me!

    Anybody want to figure me out this is the book to read I mean it's me from start to finish (well not the ending but you get the picture). I mean I am so totally an ABCD (American born confused desi) that it's not even funny. the parents are even exactly like mine! my mother is constantly complaining about my weight and my father is always telling me I can do better. and even though I'm engaged to someone of a different race their still trying to get me married off to someone of my own culture. Anyway good read and if you're indian (asian indian that is) and you were born in the U.S. and you need to find out exactly who you are and what you are this is the book to read

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2008

    the things you need to know about this book (good and bad):

    1.) as ignorant americans,it gives you an insight to other cultures 2.)it starts off tad bit slow, but does pick up 3.) may get you into trouble because you will be staying up late to read this 4.)gives you hope (eventhough that sounds cheesy) 5.)tells you what a real drag queen looks like DRAG QUEEN POWA!!! 6.)will blow your mind 7.) no includes a dull moment 8.) some of the terms may be hard to read (in which case..learn to read) 9.) everyone and anyone will have something in common with a character 10) proves that we're all human BAN RACIAL LABELS!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2014

    Molly

    Okay

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2013

    Boo

    Come on

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2013

    Kova

    'Crazy girl' res 4 ^~^

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2013

    Lunas

    I gtgtb. Goodnight. =_=

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2013

    Brooke

    Hahaa good name!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2013

    Disywhisper

    What an ugly hairless kit

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2013

    S

    Snaketail screeches as a kit slides into the moss. He is hairless.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2013

    Hopeheart

    She gave her friend a higg.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2013

    Hollyleaf

    Meow

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2013

    Dovetail

    Dovetail padded into the den, her thick fur hung at her skinny form raggedly. She sighed and sat away from every.one "everyone hates me" she muttered looking at her paws.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2013

    Fy

    "Pfh......"

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2013

    Fernre

    Iidii kmamye. She hisseback in Russian. She padded back to the clan and to result twenty four.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2014

    Lunas

    I gtg. See you later.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2012

    Read it!

    Hey check out this book! Trust me, you ll love it. Its very touching qnd great. Especially for you teens. I didnt only read it because im indian, i read it to see how i fit in. Great book!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Loved It!

    I was completly immersed in this book! I felt like I knew the charcters and the story was very well written. It was sad, funny, and clever. It had a very good moral. :D

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  • Posted September 19, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A beautuiful, hilarious, well-written book

    I loved reading this book. It had so much depth and substance that anyone can relate to it. Dimple Lala is a teenage girl confused about her culture and who she is as a person. She feels she isnt Indian enough or American enough. She learns through her photography and her family that she just needs to be herself and that she defines the person she is, not her heritage. From her cousin, her best friend Gwyn, the "suitable boy", to her crazy parents, everyone has great influence on Dimple. i promise you will fly through this 500 page book. i didnt want it to end, but it left me feeling satisfied.

    This book was written in an interesting way. and it was sooo funny. lol i couldnt stop laughing. i think i even laughed out loud on the train one morning, and u know what, i didnt care what anyone else though. at one point i cried too. its just that incredible. you have to read it.

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  • Posted June 19, 2009

    Can't think of enough good words!

    No matter what you're looking for in this book, you'll find it. Beautiful language, relatable story, amazing characters . . . I adore this book. It's fascinating; I could never read it too many times.

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