Children's fiction

American as Paneer Pie by Supriya Kelkar

I am not a teenage girl, and I was not born in a country where my forefathers (and mothers) could not trace they ancestry back to, but there was something so relatable about this book that I read it in almost one stretch, wanting to see it all the way through. The one bias I might have had is that I spoke a different language at home than the city I lived in throughout my schooling(which was entirely in English). I was so shy that I refused to make mistakes enough to speak the local language and for someone outside of India it would be hard to imagine the impact that can have on one’s social life even in the simplest terms. By the time I school was ending, I found a larger crowd of people who accepted (however grudgingly) that I probably would not reply in any other language than English. All of this endeared Lekha to me because in some ways, in my own little world, I was her.

It is not easy to be comfortable in your own skin, and Lekha learns the hard way. This is an ideal book for those families who do not wholly conform to the western pattern. I loved the fact that the idea of her maintaining her families tradition of being vegetarian (because she believes in the logic of it) and although she cringes at having to explain it to her fellow Americans. The family dynamic was soothing and loving while having a strict enough backbone. It is not a big book, so I will only mention one more thing with regards to the storyline. Lekha is a first-generation American, born in the US but completely ‘Desi’ at home. She encounters, for the first time, a girl from the very same family background as her but is comfortable about it and her family has just moved to their corner of the US.

It was simply written, with enough explanations to those who are not familiar with some of the words used, there is a lot of foody descriptions that had my stomach rumbling. I highly recommend this to anyone who likes reading books aimed at a middle-grade audience or books about being different.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers. The review is entirely based on my own reading experience.

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