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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 ...
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.
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
Posted March 26, 2009
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
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Posted June 6, 2008
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!!!
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Posted June 21, 2014
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.
Posted May 4, 2014
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.
Posted April 30, 2014
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 "suitable boy." 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 - "borrowing" 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 "getting her man." 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.
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).
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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!
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