Thursday, September 06, 2007

One Last Post!

One last post before I go-go...

Also, can I say how much I am NOT looking forward to flying with the double whammy ear and sinus infection combo? The Beijing Kao Ya, however, should make up for it. (That's Peking Duck. I've been brushing up on my food vocabulary.)

Also, 'cuz I'll be offline, an early Shana Tovah to y'all. I'm celebrating by climbing a Taoist mountain (Tai Shan) to watch the sunrise. I figure starting the Days of Awe with a bit of awe is probably a good thing.

Anyway, one last book review.

Gifted: A Novel by Nikita Lalwani

Rumi was 5 when her kindergarten teacher walked her home to tell her parents she had a gift for math.

At age 10, she sees a news report about an 8 year old who's just done their math O-level. She could do that. She wants to do that. In fact, she's a little ticked that the 8 year old beat her to it.

Her father grabs a hold of this dream and subjects Rumi to a rigorous study schedule. All math, all the time. Nights? Weekends? Math.

Their goal, their dream, is to attend Oxford by age 15. Mahesh wants it for prestige, to make his immigrant family's mark on their new country. Rumi wants it to escape her life and parents in Cardiff. Rumi wants the freedom it promises.

Mahesh will do everything to make sure their dream comes true, but Rumi is growing and would like to have other things on her mind than just math.

Rumi is an interesting character and Lalwali's omniscient narrator's shifts in point of view make this less a story focusing on the immigrant experience and more an exploration of the relationships, motivations, tension and drama that hold this family together and ultimately tear it apart.

Lalwani's narrative gift lies in the little details-- the way Rumi becomes addicted to raw cumin as a means of control in her life. Or the way, when studying, she has the radio on, the record and pause button both depressed on her tape deck, ready to record a good song if one comes on...

An excellent book for book discussion groups.

Available September 11.

Full disclosure: ARC provided by Random House through Library Thing Early Reader's Program.


Lotus Reads said...

Wow, China! Have a marvelous time on holiday Jennie, how long will you be away?

Thank you for reviewing "Gifted", I am looking forward to receiving my copy in the mail.

BTW, just have to mention, my daughter is enjoying "Does My Head Look Big in this?" Thanks very much for the recommendation!

Jennie said...

Hi Lotus!

I was in China for a week and it was awesome. Stay tuned!

I'm really glad your daughter is enjoying Does My Head Look Big in This! I look forward to your review of Gifted.

Kelly said...

Ooh..I really want to read this book, Jennie!

Jennie said...


I really liked Gifted and was surprised by it, as I found it to be about subtly different things than the flap copy promises. Different in a good way, though.