Friday, August 04, 2006

The Not-So-Star-Spangled Life of Sunita Sen by Mitali Perkins (Originally released under The Sunita Experiment)

In The Not-So-Star-Spangled Life of Sunita Sen, Sunita (affectionately known as Sunni or Bontu) wonders if there is a “correct word” for someone like her.* She doesn’t dwell on her East Indian background until her grandparents arrive from India and her mother gives up teaching, starts wearing saris, and (gasp!) cooking from scratch. Sunita is embarrassed by her “weird” family and doesn’t want anyone to visit her house – especially Michael. Her mother wants to impress Sunita's grandparents, even as they are becoming more and more “American.” Little by little, Sunita begins to embrace the wonderful confusion in her life and family — not because of a single event, but because of a growing awareness of where she comes from and where she’s going. Older sister Geetie drew chuckles from me for being a radical eco-feminist who chastises Sunita for using a razor. However, Didu and Dadu (Sunita's grandparents) are the characters to watch. Their humor and wisdom make this book sparkle. Lots of Indian poetry sprinkled within.

Mitali Perkins is also the author of Monsoon Summer, which was featured in the New Moon book club. She maintains a wonderful blog called The Fire Escape, which she calls a “safe place to think, chat, and read about life between cultures. She also maintains a fantastic book list of books by, for, and about young immigrants.

*Hopefully, I will be posting a review of Born Confused soon, a book which deals with, well, that sort of confusion.

-- review by Theodora Ranelli
(You can find my intoduction post here)

1 comment:

BookLover321 said...

This story is quite beautiful in the sense that it is teaching a young woman to respect her life and background. Thank you for writing it.