×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Born Confused
     

Born Confused

4.6 99
by Tanuja Desai Hidier, Tanuja Desai Hidier
 

See All Formats & Editions

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 accessory. 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

Overview

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 accessory. 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 is the DJ. Suddenly, the "suitable" boy is actually suitable - because of his sheer unsuitability. Dimple is about to find out - in a comedic way - about balancing her culture with her confusion.

Editorial Reviews

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)
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 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.--Publishers Weekly, October 28th, 2002, starred review

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 swift tunnel 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.--Kirkus Reviews, Sept. 15, 2002--starred review

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780439510110
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
07/01/2003
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
512
Product dimensions:
5.01(w) x 7.07(h) x 1.09(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author


Tanuja Desai Hidier is the critically acclaimed author of the groundbreaking novels Bombay Blues and Born Confused, which was named an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and hailed by Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone as one of the best YA novels of all time.

Born and raised in the USA, Tanuja is a writer/singer-songwriter now based in London. For more about Born Confused and Bombay Blues, as well as her “booktrack” albums of original songs to accompany them, please visit www.ThisIsTanuja.com.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Born Confused (LIBRARY EDITION) 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 99 reviews.
darkfairy1984 More than 1 year ago
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
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Why is it that i have the feeling that eryone in the clan hate me?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lilywolf is in horseclan, at cat dance result one
Labrattcq More than 1 year ago
I received ARC to provide an honest review of this book. This is a solid coming of age book; growing up, fitting in and finding yourself. Nothing new there except the focus in this book is an Indian family. We follow Dimple Lala through her journey of not being Indian or American enough. Like most teens, she is pulled in several directions at once but this story is told with humor and an interesting twist. Although the book is rather long, it is a fast read that will keep you entertained. There is something that everyone in any culture can relate to in this story and it should be a must read for teens, if it isn’t already. I know that I have suggested this book to my friends with teens and pre-teens so that hopefully they will realize they are not alone in how they feel. I wish that I could have read this book when I was their ages, but better late than never.
DiiMI More than 1 year ago
Growing up is difficult enough, but try it while being part of a family with strong ethnic beliefs and practices while trying to fit into the American culture! Dimple doesn't feel like an American, but she doesn't feel like an Indian either, in fact, she doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere! Sweet and sometimes overly naïve, Dimple measures herself against her best friend, Gwyn, the epitome of what Dimple thinks is the American ideal, fair, thin and tall, beautiful and bubbly, the polar opposite to her dark, short and full-figured self. A camera buff, Dimple falls into the role of Gwyn’s foil, her personal groupie and fangirl as she is swallowed up in all that is Gwyn. Struggling between being what her traditional parents want and what she wants, Dimple fights with insecurity magnified by feeling different, all while being desperate to find the real Dimple. Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier is a wonderful tool for learning about those who make up the melting pot that is the United States. Filled with humorous moments, dramatic moments and some truly painful glimpses of being a teen, Dimple’s tale goes beyond race, beyond culture and straight to your heart. Watching Dimple begin to blossom in her own right is like watching the first flowers of spring break through the last of the frozen snow as she learns to appreciate the wealth of knowledge from both of her countries. Highly recommended for high school reading! I received this ARC edition from Push in exchange for my honest review.
ToManyBooksNotEnoughTime More than 1 year ago
Re-Issue of a Solid Middle Grade Book I would like to thank NetGalley and Push for granting me the opportunity to read ebook in exchange for an honest review. Though I received this e-book for free that in no way impacts my review. I give this book 3.5 stars, but only 3 stars in review (as only whole numbers are accepted) until I see if the typographical errors are corrected in the finished copy from Push. <blockquote>Tanuja Desai Hidier's fantastically acclaimed cross-cultural debut comes to PUSH! 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 &quot;suitable boy.&quot; 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.</blockquote> What I like About This Story: This is a lovely story about figuring out who you are, or at least the first solid steps, since we continually evolve throughout our lives. Dimple's best friend is her opposite in most ways. Gwyn is tall, thin, with blond hair and blue eyes. She is the American ideal. And to top it off she has the personality to match, outgoing, bubbly, open, engaging, effervescent. In short Dimple thinks Gwyn is incandescent, the bees-knees, the sunshine under which she flourishes. Dimple considers herself to be a wallflower, as she never seems to know what to say, or what to wear for that matter. It doesn't help her already stunted self-esteem that she has womanly curves. Not slightly curves, but all-out hourglass curves. And when she looks around she sees white girls that are tall and thin, thin, thin. So she is constantly comparing herself to Gwyn and others like her and coming up short, so to speak. She doesn't feel like an American, but she doesn't feel like an Indian either, so she feels as if there is no place she fits. Dimple is sweet and wholesome. Her character is so naive that it's to the point of almost being too over the top. But she has a good heart. Once her blinders start coming off she becomes an even more enjoyable character. It takes her looking outside her own messy feelings to get the beginning of a grasp on the similarities between all people, regardless of ethnicity, body type, skin/hair/eye color - underneath we all have a heart, a pair of lungs, muscles, teeth, bones, etc. Even Dimple's cousin and parents show insecurities that sail right over her oblivious head.  On the surface Gwyn is a good foil for Dimple, demonstrating that no matter what your exterior looks like you can still feel you are never _fill in the blank_ enough. Yet each girl is so wrapped up in their own internal insecurities they are blind to the fact that everyone else is going through the same thing at some level. Neither girl recognizes that they are envious of one another. Eventually things come to a head and the two girls finally let out some of their frustration, anger, and accumulated slights that they attribute to the other. This serves to illustrate how bad it is to keep your feelings bottled up, yet it also shows that you will survive airing things out with the party causing them, even if it means risking permanent damage to the relationship. Karsh, Kavita, and Zara Thustra (who can resist a character named after part of the title of a Friedrich Neitzchie book?), are all great characters. Each help Dimple find herself in one manner or another. And each is also flawed to some degree, some more than others. A series of events happen that make Dimple finally look around, really pay attention to the world and people in her sphere. This in turn leads to a cascade of mini-epiphanies almost daily, and with each one another piece of her life falls into a more comfortable relationship with the rest of her. Suddenly she discovers connections where she'd never before noticed them, opening up her eyes to her own personal growth as well as the growth of those around her. Growth and changes that are not solely limited to her age group either. What Didn't Work For Me: While I loved Dimple's devotion to Gwyn, I felt that the relationship was very unbalanced. It frequently felt as if Gwyn was simply taking advantage of Dimple - &quot;borrowing&quot; and of her clothes that she liked, doing the same with Dimple's jewelry, even going so far as to try to appropriate her very culture and 'be more Indian.' It often seemed that is was all about Gwyn, and she only contacted Dimple when she needed something. Though this behavior is explained, somewhat, that still didn't seem to justify her treatment of such a loyal friend. Conversely I wanted Dimple to wake up and smell the coffee. It astounded me how she let Gwyn walk all over her. If she did get frustrated she stuffed it down deep and went right back to basking in the glow that was Gwyn. Dimple was clearly partly to blame for Gwyn's treatment of her. Although Karsh was wonderful I was a wee bit disappointed that the story was set up so that Dimple's happiness hinged on &quot;getting her man.&quot; That's not to say she didn't grow by leaps and bounds in other ways, but giving another person so much power over her happiness seemed to defeat the purpose. My final pet peeve was two-fold: the frequent use of non-English words that were  not explained or made clear by the context they were used in, and the tremendous amount of typos. One can only hope the typos are restricted to the ebook and not the print version. Plus, this is an advance release copy, so hopefully all the typographical errors will be cleaned up before the release of the final product. Overall Impression: A wonderful, meaningful story about coming to terms with growing up. The fact that the lessons weren't restricted to just one age group or ethnicity was a very nice bonus, as it helped demonstrate that we all struggle with many of the same issues. They may not be exactly the same, but odds of finding someone who isn't going through the same thing, or went through it, are slim to none. There are some sections where Ms. Tanuja Desai Hidier crafted some remarkable phrases, creating absolutely vivid images that made the entire book come to life. One such example is as follows - <blockquote>History wasn't that easy a thing to learn, seemed to be what I was learning. It wasn't a static story about dead people. It was a revolving door fraught with ghosts still straining to tell their version and turn your head, multifaceted and blinding as a cut diamond.</blockquote> All in all I found this to be a great teaching book, without feeling like you are being preached to or deliberately taught any lessons. I would certainly recommend this book for high school libraries (not middle school due to some discussions about sex, as well as underage drinking and an incident of drug use).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Come on
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I gtgtb. Goodnight. =_=
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hahaa good name!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Pfh......"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I gtg. See you later.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Slow at first, but started picking up in the middle. Really didn't care for white girl friend, Gwyn, of (main character) Dimple. She wasn't really a friend, because she was always trying to make herself look better than Dimple. She knew that Dimple and her parents wanted to marry her off to Karsh and she knowingly tried to steal him away from her. She tried by "becoming" Indian. Sorry, you are what you are. There is no way of changing your ethnicity. I didn't like Gwyn for thar reason alone! Dimple was lucky to be born Indian and with very loving and close family. Gwyn wasn't. She was trying to be something she wasn't!! Not to sound racist, but white people don't understand what it is to have culture and traditions. To be bring something from another country and continue those customs here in America!! No, I am not Asian nor am I white, but I am second generation here and I will continue to raise my family wirh knowing their ancestry, customs and traditons. To never let them forget what our family did to make it here to America!