Excess Baggage

Time for a book review!!!

Now I’m not sure about all of you, but one of my favourite moments while travelling is that 30 minutes or so after you pass security when you are free to browse the stores near your gate. More specifically, the store with the table of books out front calling my name! It’s a really a horrible habit of mine to be honest. Even when I already have a book or two in my carry-on luggage, I can’t seem to help myself! Anyways the point is, the following book ¬†was my latest unnecessary purchase.

Now being ethnic myself, I am a huge fan of ethnic literary fiction. Shobhhan Bantwal’s novel, “The Full Moon Bride” is a very common piece that addresses the struggle of dual identity and finding a balance between cultures. The novel’s heroine, Soorya Giri, is a 30 year old, single, Indian-American woman that lives a cushy, and sheltered life with her parents in a wealthy suburban neighbour-hood of New Jersey. ¬†Being the daughter of a respected plastic surgeon, Soorya’s life is filled with the best schools and opportunities that led to her job as a successful environmental lawyer at a top law firm in Manhattan. She had it all, except of course the primary requirement of any respectable South Asian woman past the age of 25; a husband. Soorya’s life suddenly becomes interesting when she becomes the pursuit of not just one, but two very different men. In her journey of romance, Soorya not only discovers love, but also the value of knowing who you are and understanding what that means.

I know this story sounds predictable, but it’s actually got some refreshing moments in here. Now I will admit that I did not love this book, but it was interesting enough to keep me reading. I guess my main issue was the author’s delivery of a cultural experience. I do understand that the author is writing for a North American audience, and is essentially trying to teach someone about a culture that is foreign to them. However, in doing so, Bantwal’s voice no longer sounds authentic. It becomes too textbook, to the point that anyone who simply knows a few facts about a culture could create Soorya’s character. As a reader, I like when an ethnic author doesn’t spell out everything for me in such an elementary manner, but rather the natural flow of their culture and their experience is illuminated in their writing and I am able to capture all the important details simply through their delivery, and not necessarily through their explanations.

Nevertheless, I did relate to Soorya’s character from a female prespective, and you can’t go wrong with a few cheesy feel good moments. All in all, it was a nice mellow read.

It really is a different time…

Well this has been a busy week of reading! I have gotten through three novels in just a matter of days! One of those was Jay Asher’s “Thirteen Reasons Why”. Definitely a much edgier book, but nonetheless intriguing in its subject matter and the dual narrative in which the book is written. The book is essentially a long suicide note….and that’s all I will say. The main reason I chose to write about this book here is just to share my reaction to reading this type of book. I mean suicide is such a difficult topic to even think about, let alone write a whole book about! But Asher has really taken something difficult and not necessarily written a masterpiece, but wrote a book that needed to be written. When things are hard to talk about, we can write them. Asher has taken a risk, and maybe even upset many readers but he got one very important message across: suicide happens, and no matter what anyone thinks, that person had a reason why. After reading this book, there was a sense of frustration, not only for me but also for some of my peers, that there should be maybe a more valid reason for suicide. But I think that’s the message Asher was trying to get across….what may not matter or make sense to some of us, may be the defining moment for that one person to whom it does matter.

Aside from the disturbing subject matter, I would definitely reccomend this book to some of my serious readers out there :)

Free time = reading time!

Hello my loyal readers!

I apologize for my absence for the last few days as it is that time of the year where American college students across the country are shouting….”WOOOHOOO SPRING BREAK!!!”. I am not exactly expressing my excitement in the same manner, but I am doing a little happy dance at the realization that for the next week I do not have class or 500+ pages of reading to get through. In fact in is finally time to settle down for some leisurely reading :)

Right now I am reading “The Joy Luck Club”. I watched the movie many years ago and was eager to see how amazing the book must be, because usually movies tend to completely kill the magic of most novels(in my experience at least). So considering the amazing-ness of this movie, I figured the book must be pretty darn good.

I just finished reading “The House on Mango Street” a few weeks ago. A very simple short read. I wouldn’t call it a timeless classic or anything, but it pulled a few heart strings. Its a story written from the perspective of a young Hispanic girl living in Chicago, and the experiences of the woman around her. The book consists of several super short chapters, that seem very abstract and random but once you pick up on the rhythm of the book, its actually a pretty cool strategy of writing. Give it a read!