by Aditi Mehta – Houston, TX – Managing Director
Due to my current unemployed state, I had promised myself to start reading a lot more now that I have extra time on my hands. Also, as funds are a little short, I told myself that I would use the public library more rather than my monthly expeditions on Amazon.com. And boy was I surprised! I did find a fun, easy read that just happen to be sitting on a shelf all by itself.
The book, Blue Boy, was the debut novel for Rakesh Satyal and stars a curious and flamboyant boy named Kiran. Like all Indian children, Kiran is pushed it excel in his studies and as a naturally smart kid, he does. However, his interests in extra-curricular activities such as ballet and his mother’s make-up don’t really gel with his traditional upbringing. Unfortunately, Kiran becomes the mockery of the children of the small Indian community in Ohio as well as his peers in school. With nowhere to fit in, Kiran takes his interest in Lord Krishna and aims to become his reincarnation (yep, he learns to play the flute and eats a lot of butter!).
To say the least, Kiran’s journey becomes very entertaining and at times very emotional. There were conversations that Kiran had with his dad that just jumped out at me, reminding me of exact conversations I’ve had with my dad when he has been disappointed in me. Kiran’s battle with fitting into Indian society as well as a majority white school hit close to home as well. Most of all, the basic story of a boy just trying to find his identity and not be ashamed of it made the book heartfelt and truthful.
What I liked the most about this book, was that unlike other South Asian writers today, Rakesh Satyal took a humorous approach to some heavy topics. In the world of South Asian authors where Jhumpa Lahiri and Arundhati Roy rule, Rakesh Satyal provides a fresh, fun, and delightful novel without sacrificing a love of culture and a beautifully told story.