Posted: Wednesday, February 3, 2016
In this coming of age story, we meet Vikram Mistry, a native of India, who has lived for the past eleven years in Madison, Wisconsin. Just graduating from high school, Vikram is not a bad kid, but he has not worked his hardest in school, he resents his Indian roots, and his future is a question mark. An incident involving underage drinking pushes the limits of his parents’ tolerance and they pack up the family and return to India for good. For Westernized Vikram, this is a nightmare. Angry and shaken to his core, Vikram’s first arrival in India is shocking. There is filth, noise, disease, inconvenience, lizards, spicy food, language barriers, and wandering cows nosing through the trash. The cultural differences are wide; he misses his friends; he finds it hard to fit into his new college, and he longs for a hamburger.
But Vikram also finds in India a loving extended family, parents who are happy for the first time in years, and he begins to make a few friends. Vikram enjoys photography and finds comfort and enjoyment in capturing images of his new home. Gradually, he begins to understand and appreciate India, the society, the culture, the food, the beauty of the landscape, the history, even a potential love interest – just about the time he learns that it might be possible to return to Madison, Wisconsin to attend college.
This is good, solid storytelling. The novel won an International Book Award for Multicultural Literature and would be enjoyed by teens as well as adults. Watch for more by this author!
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