I heard about this book for the first time shortly after it was published, through a student of mine. It was my first year of teaching, and a student wanted to read it for an independent book study. At the time, it looked like a good choice. Now that I’ve read it … well, I’m not sure whether some of the content was necessarily appropriate, but oh well.
This book had a lot of “stop and think” moments. Usually, these were to do with things people said to the author about what it means to be Muslim, but it also had a lot to do with the difference between being “Indian” and being “Pakistani”.
I have a not-so-secret fascination with boarding schools. Really! My parents always used them as a threatened punishment when I was a kid, and I didn’t realize until I was much older that people actually went to these on purpose, without having been sent there simply because they made their parents angry.
When I picked up this book, I didn’t think that I had read it before. About halfway through, though, I realized that most of the stories sounded really familiar, and I soon figured out that this was a re-read. Still not sure when I read it, but it was likely for a university course in my undergrad.
This was an interesting book, though a bit hard to get into at first. I’ve read – after picking this up already – that a lot of people do not recommend it as the first of Desai’s books to read, but that’s just how it worked out for me.