Synopses & Reviews
Feroza Ginwalla, a pampered, protected 16-year-old Pakistani girl, is sent to America by her parents, who are alarmed by the fundamentalism overtaking Pakistan and their daughter. Hoping that a few months with her uncle, an MIT grad student, will soften the girls rigid thinking, they get more than they bargained for: Feroza, enthralled by American culture and her new freedom, insists on staying. A bargain is struck, allowing Feroza to attend college with the understanding that she will return home and marry well. As a student in a small western town, Ferozas perceptions of America, her homeland, and herself begin to alter. When she falls in love with and wants to marry a Jewish American, her family is aghast. Feroza realizes just how far she has come and wonders how much further she can go. This delightful coming-of-age novel is both remarkably funny and a remarkably acute portrayal of America as seen through the eyes of a perceptive young immigrant.
As An American Brat opens in Pakistan, the extended family of sixteen-year-old Feroza Ginwalla, a lively and temperamental young girl, agonize over the decision to send Feroza to America for a three-month holiday? This act of apparent audacity arises from concern over Feroza's conservative attitudes which stem from Pakistan's rising tide of fundamentalism. Feroza's chaperone in America, an uncle only six years her senior, is her guide, friend, and the bane of her existence. Her relationships and adventures shape her alternately hilarious and terrifying perceptions of America. Feroza's family in Pakistan, meanwhile, are in delicious turmoil over the possibility that American ways will ruin her. In the tradition of Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club and Gish Jen's Typical American, An American Brat brings insight while entertaining readers with an enormously satisfying story and characters. Sidhwa allows us to see Americans from the point of view of newcomers - an occasionally unsettling perspective - while gently illuminating the potentially destructive influence of fundamentalism on a culture and individuals.