Friday, November 18, 2011
Book Review: Bindi Babes, by Narinder Dhami (Delacorte, 2004)
The Dhillon sisters - Amber, Jazz, and Geena - are perfect. They are perfect students, perfectly dressed, and perfectly popular. Their teachers always look to them for help with their classmates and for the right answers, and the girls never disappoint. The girls keep their act airtight so no one will sense the pain they are in from losing their mother the year before. The sisters will not even talk about her at home for fear of letting loose all the emotions they have bottled up.
Escaping his grief through work, their father is rarely home and when he is, rarely speaks to them other than to indulge them in nearly everything they ask. When he announces that their Auntie is coming from India to live with them and take care of the girls, they are furious - they certainly do not need anyone to babysit them! When Auntie arrives and starts interfering in their lives - especially when their father starts saying no to new clothes, sneakers and pierced ears - they decide she's got to go. Marrying her off would be the best way to benefit everyone, but who to choose, and how to do it?
The book is 'tween chick lit; it is an easy read with little emotional depth or character examination. The ending is predictable but satisfying, and leaves the family's story open to a sequel. In fact, the book is the first in a 4-book series. Ms. Dhami provides a glimpse into Indian culture which has doubtlessly introduced many girls to a new culture in our increasingly diverse society.
Narinder Dhami has also written the popular film Bend it Like Beckham. Her website offers links to her books, author facts, and a link to Amber's blog, where the Bindi Babes narrator keeps readers up on the latest gossip. Random House provides a teachers guide complete with discussion questions and links for further reading on diversity.