Cori’s Pick: America for Beginners by Leah Franqui
An online summary describes this book as ‘…a funny poignant, and insightful debut novel that explores the complexities of family, immigration, prejudice, and the American Dream…’.
My love for debut fiction made me reach for this book and the summary proved extremely accurate on all fronts.
Pival is a Bengali widow, that has booked a cross-country trip of the United States with a young Bangladeshi (to her surprise) tour guide named Satya and a traveling companion, Rebecca.
While Satya and Rebecca are expecting a camera-toting tourist, Pival’s intentions turn out to be much more personal, and complicated. She is trying to confirm the whereabouts of her son, Rahi, who had only recently come out as gay, when Pival’s husband received a phone call saying Rahi had died suddenly. As their trip progresses, the reader gets a glimpse at the personal lives of each character including the joy and struggles that come with being an immigrant, the pressure of living up to parental expectations, and what acceptance truly means.
This is a funny, touching and timely read that I thoroughly enjoyed.