Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Review: Everything was Good-bye by Gurjinder Basran



Publisher: Penguin Canada
Pages: 272
Source: Personal Copy
Released: 2012
Rating: 4/5



Synopsis:

Everything was Good-bye introduces Meena, a young Punjabi girl living in British Columbia struggling to fit in with her peer’s and fight her strict community. Meena will never experience the freedom of her peer’s unless she walks away from the family, and break her mother’s heart. She’s seen this first-hand when one of her older sisters is expelled from the family. As much as Meena would love to lead her own life and make her own decisions, she can’t put her mother through the torture and embarrassment of another daughter gone astray. Meena is caught in the traditions of her close-knit Punjabi community. As Meena tries to asset her independence, she discovers that there are eyes and ears everywhere, and they never hesitate to report back to her mother. Eventually, Meena gives up and agrees to a traditional marriage. Everyone is jealous of her perfect match, but Meena still wonders about the high school boy who stole her heart.



Review:

The first section of the novel presents a young, frustrated and rebellious teenage Meena. She’s a second generation immigrant who wants freedom and independence. She wants to choose her own discipline, but her mother frowns upon her creative writing skills, her daughter should be a doctor or lawyer and nothing less. Meena is essentially torn between two cultures, desperate to make her own decisions. Readers learn that all of Meena’s sisters are married or about to be married according to the traditions, expect one. Her favorite sister, Harj has been gone for some time and no one has heard from her. As Meena finally decides to live according to the customs, her life enters a new difficult phase. The husband can do no wrong, and no matter what- her mother will always encourage her to return to her rightful place as a wife.

I really enjoyed Everything was Good-bye. It surpassed my expectations in many ways. Each section of the novel was engaging and emotional. Meena not only represents the second generation immigrant; she’s represents anyone who has fought against their parent’s wishes, dealt with stereotypes or lived in a strict tight-knit community. Basran did an incredible job describing Meena’s emotions, and thoughts. Readers really get a sense of who she is and where she is coming from. The only issue I had with the novel was the ending felt a little rushed. This one is recommended for those who are curious about immigration, and how families try to retain much of their culture.

14 comments:

  1. Sounds like a good book, I do hate it when an author rushes an ending though.

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  2. I love immigration stories but like Anne, I'm not a fan of rushed endings. It always feels like the author just wanted to get to a stopping point, any stopping point.

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  3. I love books about different lifestyles and cultures, so this one really gets my attention. I really enjoyed your review and think that I might have to try to check this one out when I can. Very thoughtful and introspective post today!

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  4. This sounds so interesting and i love to learn about different cultures..i need to add this one to my list. Thanks so much :)

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  5. Sounds good. One I'd love to read for the Immigrant Challenge!

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  6. Great review for this book! It sounds interesting. :) I always hate it when the endings of books feel rushed. It always throws me off, and I'm usually left feeling unsatisfied. :/ Thanks for sharing!

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  7. I love books that teach me about other cultures and this sounds like a great one!

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  8. I couldn't imagine living in such a strict culture. Makes me realize how fortunate I've been. This one sounds kind of sad and terribly frustrating for the main character. I hope she is finally able to live as she likes and ekes out some happiness for herself.

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  9. I'm second generation American on my mother's side, so I LOVE books like this! Thanks for the review.

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  10. I love learning about new kinds of cultures, and I love it even more when you read a book that surpasses your expectations! It sounds like this would be a sweet book about family, which is an aspect I always enjoy when reading a book! :)

    Awesome thoughtful review, Mrs. Q!

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  11. I haven't heard of this book, but it sounds like a wonderful read. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

    Great review :)

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  12. Probably outside of my usual reading zone, but it does sound like a good read to gain a multicultural perspective. I wish everybody would read more books from another race/gender/sexuality's point of view!

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  13. This one is new to me, too, but I definitely like the sound of it! And I can't think of a time I've read Canadian fiction. Definitely must look into that!

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  14. I finished it tonight and enjoyed it.

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