Wednesday, June 8, 2011
BOOK REVIEW: Blue Boy by Rakesh Satyal
Satyal's lovely coming-of-age debut charts an Indian-American boy's transformation from mere mortal to Krishnaji, the blue-skinned Hindu deity. Twelve-year-old Kiran Sharma's a bit of an outcast: he likes ballet and playing with his mother's makeup. He also reveres his Indian heritage and convinces himself that the reason he's having trouble fitting in is because he's actually the 10th reincarnation of Krishnaji. He plans to come out to the world at the 1992 Martin Van Buren Elementary School talent show, and much of the book revels in his comical preparations as he creates his costume, plays the flute and practices his dance moves to a Whitney Houston song. But as the performance approaches, something strange happens: Kiran's skin begins to turn blue. Satyal writes with a graceful ease, finding new humor in common awkward pre-teen moments and giving readers a delightful and lively young protagonist. (May)
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I was lucky to find this book on the list of Top 100 Free Kindle eBooks a few weeks ago. I didn't really know what it was about, but it had a nice cover, so I thought I'd give it a try. I'm glad I did.
The story is about an Indian boy, Kiran, who is going through some of the normal pre-teen growing pains that we all remember, such as bullying, friendships and discovering sexuality. But Kiran has another set of hurdles to face as he learns how he is different from the other kids at school when it comes to religion, culture and...sexuality.
Although I couldn't identify with the cultural part of what Kiran was going through, I grew up in a similar environment (Midwest suburbia) where those from different cultures DID stick out and I could remember a few "Kirans" from my own childhood. To bring it even closer to home, the references Satyal makes to music and television within the story made me believe he must be a fellow 30-something, with his main character growing up in the 90s with Strawberry Shortcake, Madonna and the Golden Girls.
I highly recommend this book, especially if you grew up in the late 80s/early 90s!
A FEW GOOD QUOTES:
"I am destined for great things, too. I am blue, too. You just can’t see it yet." - Satyal, Rakesh (2009). Blue Boy (p. 32). Kensington Books. Kindle Edition.
"I have my own language. I am my own language." - Satyal, Rakesh (2009). Blue Boy (p. 98). Kensington Books. Kindle Edition.
"I am a walking museum of oddities," - Satyal, Rakesh (2009). Blue Boy (p. 45). Kensington Books. Kindle Edition.
"A book’s content never changes, and yet it is always intriguing; something you read can mean something completely different to you at a different time. This is not the case with my classmates. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that people can be devastating at any moment." - Satyal, Rakesh (2009). Blue Boy (p. 100). Kensington Books. Kindle Edition.
"Our houses of worship may be vastly different, but there is a shared movement toward life, light, jubilance." - Satyal, Rakesh (2009). Blue Boy (p. 105). Kensington Books. Kindle Edition.
"We will never be more than two containers, full of the same blood but different in size, shape, owners. His belongs to the mind, and mine belongs to the heart." - Satyal, Rakesh (2009). Blue Boy (p. 225). Kensington Books. Kindle Edition.