Rich Character Development As Story Of Women Indian Immigrants Unfolds

This is a beautiful read and deserves all of the accolades it is receiving.  You Bring The Distant Near is the story of five women in the same family.  They immigrated to New York in the 1970s from India through London. Tara aka Starry is beautiful and is always turning heads and adopting new personas. She decides to adopt Marcia Brady’s style and way of speaking to become more American. Sonia is studious and passionate about her social causes.  Shanti is the child of a biracial couple and must try to keep the peace in her family.  Anna, the daughter of an Indian celebrity, reluctantly joins her American family to finish school and tries to straddle two words.  Ranee is the matriarch.  The mother of Starry and Sonia.  She struggles with tradition in her new home and later embraces a big change to her own life.  This book covers the lives of three generations of the Das family.  It is a story about culture, tradition and blending a fragmented family together.  I couldn’t put it down.  Matali Perkins is a master storyteller and character builder.  Readers will gain an understanding of the immigrant experience.  Readers who want a story with strong character development will enjoy this one.  It is definitely a girl power book with the five strong females.  This is one of my favorite reads of 2017.

Some ideas for discussing with teens:

Discuss how Sonia’s mother changes the she looked at her journal. “The words have been captured. But they did their job, they helped me survive; I can let them go.” pg.75

Discus how Starry takes in personas like Twiggy and Marcia Brady.  Have you ever done that or wanted to?

Which of the five women do you relate to and why?

Discuss the relationship between their parents.

Discuss how Sonia’s mother deals with her boyfriend/husband.  How would Sonia’s father have handled it?

Discuss how the cousins are similar and different from one another.

Discuss Ranee’s transformation.  How can someone embrace a culture without abandoning the one they already have?

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