Born Confused

Born Confused

by Tanuja Desai Hidier, Tanuja Desai Hidier


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780439357623
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 10/28/2002
Edition description: 1ST
Pages: 432
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.32(d)
Lexile: 890L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About 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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Born Confused (LIBRARY EDITION) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 108 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!!!
Clara53 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Born confused... ABCD (American Born Confused Desi - "Desi" meaning "Indian"... Marvelous, witty, insightful writing. The protagonist is a 17-year old daughter of Indian immigrants. And on behalf of my own daughter, I felt that I could acutely relate to the soul searching of this character. I know that my daughter have gone through similar agonizing while growing up (even more so, probably, as she was the product of two different cultures). The author has captured so skillfully the nuances of the life of the immigrant family - the sadness for the world left behind, the unavoidable adjustments which might be out of character in the new land but still necessary, the compassionate humor of trying to fit in, and the triumph of some old truths. The story is told eloquently and beautifully.
mayk13 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Born Confused a story about 17 year old Dimple Lala an Indian Girl growing up in New Jersey. Dimple Lala rejects her immigrant parents old ideas and ultimatley struggles between her Indian and American identity. She sees her brown skin and wide hips as being an outkast. Dimple Lala is an avid photographer and takes many pictures including of her best friend Gwyn. Dimple Lala compares herself to Gwyn who is a great student, beautiful,skinny and has independent life Dimple Lala wants. Dimple Lala compares herself to Gwyn constantly. "In our case the rich girl who lives like an orpahn and the little brown girl who existed as if she were still umbilically attached to her parents." Dimple Lala just got over a breakup with her boyfriend, and now her parents have found a boy named Karsh who they find good for her. Dimple Lala first doesn't like boy, but soon begins to fall for him.This is a great book that I would recommend to anyone. It's a long book (500 pgs.) that will keep you reading. The book deals with so many issues like love, identity, and friendship. The story is very realistic even though it's fiction. So if you want a long read with a great story and drama I would definitely reccomend this book!
mcelhra on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Born Confused is the story of 17 year old Dimple Lala, an Indian-American girl who feels "not quite Indian and not quite American." Dimple is best friends with blonde-haired, blue eyed Gwyn. Dimple's identity crisis comes to a head when her parents decide to fix her up with a "suitable Indian boy" hoping that she will marry one eventually. They introduce her to Karsh, the son of their friends from India. Dimple is not impressed with Karsh on first meeting him but Gwyn is so Dimple helps Gwyn pursue him. Along the way she embarks on a journey of self-discovery.I liked this book a lot and learned a lot about Indian-America culture and perspectives from it. I listened to the audio book and the narrator, Marguerite Gavin did a fabulous job. She did a wide range of Indian, British, and Teenager accents flawlessly.The only thing I didn't like about this book was that the pace could be really slow at times. The author had several times when she got on a descriptive tangent, using all kinds of over the top metaphors when I really just wanted her to get on with the story. The book is told in first person from Dimple's point of view and it was pretty unbelievable that a 17 year old had that kind of language skills, especially since this book is classified as young adult.
Maggie_Rum on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful coming-of-age story set in New Jersey (and occasionally New York City) told through the eyes of Dimple Lala, an American-Born Confused Indian. Dimple has been focused on her photography for the past few years, a hobby that she hopes to turn into a career one day. But while hiding behind her lens, her best friend Gwyn begins to steal parts of Dimple's life: her culture, her loves and her identity. During the summer before her senior year, Dimple descovers who she is and who she ultimately wants to be.
Sassy_Seshat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another favorite, coming of age/identity/evolving friendships and relationships. This story is set in the suburbs of New York and has it all. Perfect for older high school students.
heidialice on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Seventeen-year-old Dimple Lala is an American of Indian heritage, and has all the confusion of being neither truly American nor really Indian. It¿s not Dimple¿s idea to embrace her heritage, but when her white-as-snow best friend Gwyn becomes interested in all things Indian, Dimple becomes immersed in a young South Asian scene she didn¿t know existed.I loved this book. I laughed out loud, and I would even recommend to other adults, since it is so fun and well-written. It also kept me very very hungry with all the descriptions of the Indian food.
MrsHillReads on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! I enjoyed learning about another culture; however, I haven't been able to convince any students to read it. It is a really good coming of age story.
hjjugovic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this because my book club did, otherwise I never would have selected it on my own. I have a strong dislike of whiny adolescent existential BS in any form, and this book is pretty much based on whiny adolescent existentialism. As a first generation American, I appreciate the exploration of acculturation, but it's been done better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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 "everyone hates me" she muttered looking at her paws.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I gtg. See you later.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago