Thursday, May 26, 2011

Skunk Girl

Skunk GirlSkunk GirlSheba Karim

Nothing's worse than liking a boy knowing that even if he somehow noticed you and actually liked you back, you'd never be allowed to date him. Well, some things could be worse. Your older sister could be a supernerd who manages to set the academic bar so high you'd never even come close AND be the perfect Pakistani daughter. You could have some severe body hair issues-- like a line of hair running down your back right in the spots where you can't reach it to wax or bleach it. But, if you're Nina Khan, even with all of these problems, you have an excellent voice that makes readers laugh out loud at your dry, wry sense of wit and observation.

It's as though there's an unofficial Pakistani prestige point system; the higher your score, the more esteem you hold among the aunties and uncles, and the more attractive you are as a marriage prospect for their sons and daughters. Everyone starts off with zero, and points are added and subtracted based on different types of criteria. For example:

+5 if you're a doctor
+4 if you went to an Ivy League school
+3 if you're a businessman, a lawyer (the moneymaking kind), or an engineer
+2 if you're fair, if you speak Urdu, or if you're moderately religious
+1 if you're slim (for a woman), or if you're tall (for a man)

-1 if you can't speak Urdu, or if you're fat or short
-2 if you can't understand Urdu, or if you're dark
-3 if you're a religious fanatic
-4 if you're an artist, musician, poet, and anything else in the creative fields
-5 if you're gay or an atheist

Salman has to be at least an eleven. So does Sonia. Asiya's brother Zeeshan is up there too. If I do get into an Ivy League school, I'll be at least a six. But I have a feeling, when everything is said and done, that my score could end up in the negatives, and so I will be a disappointment to my parents, and the aunties and uncles will be reluctant to allow their songs to marry me. But, once you're able to leave home, maybe the amount of fun you have is inversely proportional to your score, which would mean all those gay Pakistani atheists out there must be having the absolute time of their lives.

I loved Nina's voice. I loved her snarky headings of the short chapters. I loved how she was just the right amount of self-involved-- a believable teen with issues she was dealing with but not too much invented woe-is-me drama. I loved how the fact she couldn't go to parties and stuff was commented on, but not really an issue (except with her arch-nemesis). I also loved her big, jolly, happy father. So nice to have a family life that's stricter and traditional in a way many Americans aren't used to but WITHOUT the crazy mean authoritative parents. Seriously, I loved her father.

Overall, just a lot of love for this one.

Book Provided by... my local library

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