Gupta’s writing style is stark and unflinching, demonstrating that each family’s unhappiness is distinct and individual.
By Prachi Gupta ‧ RELEASE DATE: Aug. 22, 2023
Gupta’s memoir is a powerful exploration of the complexities of life in an Indian-American family, where ambition and discontent are ever-present. She grew up as part of the “new model minority” of highly educated, wealthy, and hardworking immigrants from India. This success, she believes, is a result of a “thrice-filtered and stratified” selection process, where the most privileged in India leave for better opportunities abroad. Her father moved from India to Canada to the U.S. for an arranged marriage, and then began a successful career in medicine. He was often emotionally distant and full of self-doubt, and he demeaned Gupta’s mother, a modern example of how women’s voices were appropriated by both the British colonizers and Indian men in power. Gupta recounts the pressures of being brought up with aspirational expectations of perfection that she came to resist, and the friction between parents and daughter grows ever more grinding as the memoir progresses. She admits that she never asked her mother what hopes and dreams buoyed her amid the loneliness and grief of leaving her family and country behind. The memoir ultimately reveals the tragedy and rupture within a seemingly ironclad nuclear South Asian family. Gupta does not often become overwrought, but her difficulty in understanding the motives of her driven father and a mother she never asked about her hopes and dreams is palpable.
Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2023
Page Count: 288
Review Posted Online: June 28, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023