American as Paneer Pie by Supriya Keller takes you through the many emotions of a middle school girl: happy, sad, angry, and confused.
Lekha, the main character, experiences bullying; friends who turn out to not be so friendly; and learns how to make good friends. For any girl or boy middle school can be hard. Even harder for Lekha, since she has created two lives, Home Lekha and School Lekha, In an effort to keep her Indian culture separate from her middle school friends.
At the start of the book, Lekha does not embrace her culture and is embarrassed by the things that make her unique.
There is a slow build up to knowing the characters, however once you do, you feel like you’ve known them forever. I struggled, initially, with understanding that Lekha’s mother had two names: Aai and mother. One other thing I love is that the book teaches you a lot about Indian culture. For example it tells you a lot of food and in a couple parts of the book there is a holiday that they talked about called Diwali and it gives you a little insight about that. This book really makes you feel as if you are there .
This book really gave me a perspective that diversity can be good for everyone and it can change who you are if you embrace the diversity around you. This book highlights that everyone is trying to fit in and struggling with their own identity. For example, it shows friends get in fights but if they are good friends they will be there for you.
Overall I think this is a terrific book and will definitely recommend it to others, and read it again. This book would be good for you if you like fiction and appreciate learning about other people’s cultures. This book is best for the age group 9 and up, but there are some pretty big words that you might need a grown up’s help for explaining.
This book acquires a lot of focus and deep thinking. I have spent a lot of time thinking about this book and the lesson it is trying to teach.