the next good book

Family Life by Akhil Sharma


224 pages

What’s it about? The Mishra’s are a middle class family living in India when they decide to immigrate to America for a better life.  Birju and Ajay are just boys but the move is easier for Birju- who is older and seems to move through Queens with a certain confidence that the rest of the family lacks.  The novel is narrated by a younger Ajay who struggles throughout the novel. What did it make me think about? How every family has their own unique set of struggles. Should I read it? I thought this short novel was beautifully written.  It was a coming-of-age story and I always love that viewpoint.  Ajay has a distinct point of view and though you often feel yourself wincing at his choices- you are always rooting for him.I read that the author took 12 years to write this story. With that kind of effort we should all be reading this book. Quote- “We were all a little shy about the lives we lived at home.  At home we didn’t;t eat the food that white kids ate.  At home our mothers and sometimes our fathers dressed odd clothes.  Our holidays were not the same as white people’s.  Our parents worshipped gods who rode on mice. To attack someone based on his or her family brought up so much of our own shame that we didn’t have the heart to be mean.”   

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