Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet

( 2 )

Overview

Jeeta’s family is caught up in the whirlwind of arranging marriages for her two older sisters, but the drama and excitement leave Jeeta cold. Even though tradition demands the parade of suitors, the marriage negotiations and the elaborate displays, sixteen-year old Jeeta wonders what happened to the love and romance that the movies promise? She dreads her turn on the matrimonial circuit, especially since Mummy is always complaining about how Jeeta’s dark skin and smart mouth will turn off potential husbands. But ...

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Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet

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Overview

Jeeta’s family is caught up in the whirlwind of arranging marriages for her two older sisters, but the drama and excitement leave Jeeta cold. Even though tradition demands the parade of suitors, the marriage negotiations and the elaborate displays, sixteen-year old Jeeta wonders what happened to the love and romance that the movies promise? She dreads her turn on the matrimonial circuit, especially since Mummy is always complaining about how Jeeta’s dark skin and smart mouth will turn off potential husbands. But when Jeeta’s smart mouth and liberal ideas land her in love with her friend’s cousin Neel, she must strike a balance between duty to her tradition-bound parents, and the strength to follow her heart.

Kashmira Sheth was born in Bhavanger, Gujart, India and immigrated to the United States at the age of 17. Sheth attended Iowa State University where she received her B.S. in Microbiology. She is married to a civil engineer and they have two daughters. Sheth is both a scientist and an author. Sheth has worked for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection as a microbiologist. In 2012 she will teach at the Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College. In her free time Sheth teaches Indian dance to children.

"Warmly descriptive of life in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), this love story has a rich sense of place. Sixteen-year-old Jeeta's mother is consumed with the problems of arranging marriages for her three daughters and is sure that Jeeta's dark skin and smart mouth will turn off prospective grooms. But the teen's new friend, Sarina, opens her eyes to other possibilities. Discovering the pleasures of learning, Jeeta does well in her last year at school and enters college hoping to study law. Then, a handsome boy whom she meets at the swimming pool turns out to be Sarina's cousin. Because her mother forbids her to socialize with boys, she uses visits to Sarina to provide cover for their developing relationship. Readers may feel let down by the inconclusive ending, expecting at least an engagement, but the family's movement toward more modern ways is realistic. The novel reads like a memoir written by someone who wants to hold on to every detail of a remembered life. The tensions of family life in a small apartment are evident and the conflict between old beliefs and customs and the modern world is clear. Like the matrimonial ad her friend quotes, Jeeta is a girl with strong east-west family values, with all the contradictions that that statement suggests. This first-person narrative is a lush and loving exploration of coming of age." -Kathleen Isaacs, Towson University, MD
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
-School Library Journal

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Sheth's (Blue Jasmine) novel set in Mumbai offers readers a fascinating glimpse of modern Indian culture. While her parents work hard to find a suitable husband for their eldest daughter, 16-year-old narrator Jeeta begins to have doubts about the fixed marriages that are commonplace in her caste. Her objections grow stronger during her last year of high school when she befriends new student Sarina, the daughter of liberal-minded parents, and finds herself attracted to Sarina's cousin, Neel, another free thinker. Hoping to someday become a lawyer, Jeeta works harder at her studies and begins secretly meeting Neel, even though "Mummy absolutely forbids us to talk to boys," she confides to Sarina. This coming-of-age story brings to life the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of India, and incorporates the dark beauty of the rarely-seen koyal bird and the sweet flavor of mango to symbolize qualities that Jeeta embodies. The author emphasizes the restrictions of social mores, but also acknowledges that traditional marriages, arranged by parents, do not always lead to misery. Although Jeeta's second-oldest sister ends up in an abusive marriage, her oldest sister is happy with her husband; at one point Sarina suggests to Jeeta that fixed dates aren't always bad ("Isn't it nice to meet someone that your parents already know about? Isn't it good that they know the family well too?"). Eloquent and insightful, this book invites introspection and may lead to lively discussions about the pros and cons of honoring and breaking tradition. Ages 12-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
VOYA
Meet Jeeta Parekh, whose mother is old fashioned, always concerned with the family image. As the third and youngest daughter, free-spirited and sharp-tongued Jeeta chafes at the traditional Indian woman's life, including arranged marriages like her sisters'. The swirl of activities surrounding her sisters' weddings leaves her wondering where the romance of the movies might be. Dark skinned, like the elusive koyal bird, Jeeta has been told all her life that finding a suitor will be difficult because she is not pretty. But as she spends time with her new friend Sarina and her well-educated liberal parents, Jeeta begins to see a different future for herself. She strives to find common ground between her tradition-bound family and her own dreams of college and a future that just might include Neel, Sarina's handsome cousin. This coming-of-age story captures the flavor of modern Mumbai (Bombay). Sheth's descriptions of the minutiae of Jeeta's life enhance the novel; her word pictures transport the reader to India. She writes of everyday clothing, elaborate wedding saris, food, middle-class living in a one-bedroom apartment, the overwhelming importance of school exams, the summer heat-everything. The whys and wherefores of arranged marriage are clearly presented. Hindi words are sprinkled liberally throughout the book, and although a glossary is appended, most are defined through context. The locale may be foreign, but Jeeta's frustrations, dreams, and love-struck relationship with Neel will resonate with American teens. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P M J (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2006,Hyperion, 224p., Ages 11 to 15.
—Roxy Ekstrom
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Warmly descriptive of life in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), this love story has a rich sense of place. Sixteen-year-old Jeeta's mother is consumed with the problems of arranging marriages for her three daughters and is sure that Jeeta's dark skin and smart mouth will turn off prospective grooms. But the teen's new friend, Sarina, opens her eyes to other possibilities. Discovering the pleasures of learning, Jeeta does well in her last year at school and enters college hoping to study law. Then, a handsome boy whom she meets at the swimming pool turns out to be Sarina's cousin. Because her mother forbids her to socialize with boys, she uses visits to Sarina to provide cover for their developing relationship. Readers may feel let down by the inconclusive ending, expecting at least an engagement, but the family's movement toward more modern ways is realistic. The novel reads like a memoir written by someone who wants to hold on to every detail of a remembered life. The tensions of family life in a small apartment are evident and the conflict between old beliefs and customs and the modern world is clear. Like the matrimonial ad her friend quotes, Jeeta is "a girl with strong east-west family values," with all the contradictions that that statement suggests. This first-person narrative is a lush and loving exploration of coming of age.-Kathleen Isaacs, Towson University, MD Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786754656
  • Publisher: Argo-Navis
  • Publication date: 6/4/2013
  • Pages: 230
  • Sales rank: 1,278,590
  • Age range: 9 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2009

    Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet was okay, nothing special.

    I didn't find this book to be anything interesting. The vocabulary could have been more challenging, it was an easy read. There are lots of allusions, which should be fun for Indian readers and challenging for American readers.
    The middle section of the book dragged on for quite a bit, it was a slow-moving story. Didn't really hold my interest. It has a very open end which could have been better by describing Jeeta's future with Neel.,

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2007

    Loved it

    I never read a book about india before so I was unsure about this book but I loved it. Wonderful story. Only thing I did not like about it was the ending. What happened to Jeeta?

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

    Posted March 13, 2007

    One of my most fav book!

    Must read for all desis. I absolutely loved it. All I can say is read it,and find out what I am talking about!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2006

    A rich, beautiful coming-of-age story

    I absolutely loved this book and highly recommend it for both teenagers and adults. Jeeta is a funny and smart heroine who must find herself and her place within her culture and family. Her struggles are not unique to India, but something every teenager must face. At the same time, I loved the setting and all the richness it added to the novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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