From the Publisher
Praise for Tanuja Desai Hidier's BORN CONFUSED:
* "Absorbing and intoxicating, this book is sure to leave a lasting impression." -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, boxed and starred review
"Compelling and witty
gives voice to a new generation of Americans." --USA TODAY
"A breathtaking experience." --KIRKUS REVIEWS, starred review
"Complicated, chaotic, and absolutely charming." --SEVENTEEN
An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
Children's Literature - Paula McMillen
Dimple Lala is one of only two East Indian students in her suburban New Jersey high school and she is forever trying to fit in by being more like her “American” peers. Her icon is long-time best friend, tall, blonde, blue-eyed Gwyn. The summer between junior and senior years presents a wealth of challenges for Dimple. Dimple is madly trying to escape the clutches of the “marriage mafia” she sees her parents to be. Gwyn wants to be like Dimple and does everything she can to appropriate Dimple’s East Indian customs, her family and, finally, the “suitable boy” Dimple’s parents have picked out for her. This book is filled with poignant insights and occasionally lyrical writing, but it is about 200 pages too long, and in many ways, too predictable. There is a heavy reliance on East Indian terms, without a glossary provided, which often makes getting the sense of the text a challenge. The frequent over-the-top and lengthy strings of made-up adjectives and adverbs become wearing in short order. Although there is much of value here, the gems of wisdom are buried in verbiage. It will be a hard sell to all but the most dedicated readers. Reviewer: Paula McMillen, Ph.D.; Ages 14 up.
"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.
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,
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.
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 truewho 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)