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3.18  ·  Rating Details ·  946 Ratings  ·  143 Reviews
Rumi Vasi is 10 years, 2 months, 13 days, 2 hours, 42 minutes, and 6 seconds old. She’s figured that the likelihood of her walking home from school with the boy she likes, John Kemble, is 0.2142, a probability severely reduced by the lacy dress and thick woolen tights her father, and Indian émigré, forces her to wear. Rumi is a gifted child, and her father, Mahesh, believe ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 11th 2007 by Random House (first published 2007)
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Oct 07, 2007 Tenli rated it liked it
I found this book uneven, but the raggedness with which the story unfolds is in some ways a perfect mirror for the way that this child's life gradually goes further and further off course. I appreciated that none of the deeply flawed main characters was portrayed a villain, and, in particular, how well the author captured Rumi's growing bafflement and chaotic inner experience.
May 21, 2009 Gerund rated it did not like it
Shelves: immigrant-lit
This debut novel by India-born, Britain-raised writer Nikita Lalwani takes an intriguing premise and plods with it to a disappointing end.

Though unstated in her acknowledgements, the writer was obviously inspired by the true story of Sufiah Yusof, a mathematics prodigy who entered Oxford at the age of 12 in 1997, only to run away three years later, claiming she had been emotionally abused by her ambitious father.

In the book, Rumi is the maths genius daughter of Indian immigrants who is coached b
Emma  Kaufmann
Jun 29, 2008 Emma Kaufmann rated it it was amazing
Very moving and emotive account of a young Indian girl in the UK who is hothoused to achieve academic greatness while at the same time cracking up under familial pressure while desperately just wanting to fit in with her peers.
Nov 07, 2007 Jennifer rated it liked it
The writing in Gifted is so interesting and subtle. The only disappointment for me was the ending,which I didn't think fit the characters.
Ron Charles
Nov 16, 2013 Ron Charles rated it liked it
The day before school started this year, my wife received an e-mail from a student enrolled in her English class. He wanted to know if he could narrow the margins of his summer homework by a quarter of an inch because his answers were running long.

Such are the joys of teaching in the overachievement capital of the country. As the well-heeled and the big-brained dive back into schoolwork this month, I wish they (and especially their parents) would take a break to read this arresting new novel by
I could hardly stand this book. It was nominated for the booker prize (the longlist for 2007), and that's why I read the thing. I was expecting something completely different from what the book was actually about. What was it supposed to be? Control-freak parents? Immigrant mentality (whatever that is)? A coming of age story? It didn't satisfactorily resolve anything. Rumi was well developed, but her character goes from being interesting to a total loser and I'm not sure what kind of redemption ...more
Dec 16, 2011 Kathryn rated it it was ok
I read this book quickly but found myself thinly satisfied at the end. Rumi's character and internal life were flat and undeveloped; the author attempted but fell short of her target. I felt a detachment from all the characters. I felt I was reading descriptions instead of internal experiences of consciousness. In fact, it reminded me of a psychological case study rather than a story.[return][return]For a woman as sheltered as Rumi, the scenario with the Muslim college student rang false. She wa ...more
Oct 28, 2010 Alesa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really haunting story about a girl whose parents are from India, and how they push her to become a child prodigy in math. It asks a lot of really important questions, such as, "When is it appropriate to force a child to explore their talents, and when does this turn into abuse?" "How important is it for a gifted child to have a normal childhood, versus seeing how far their talents will take them?"

It brought up some painful memories from my childhood. And it helped me assess my extreme
May 16, 2017 Samiksha rated it liked it
The book depicts the classic struggle of the Asian immigrants in their western dreamlands. The immigrant generation is happy to embrace a new, better life in the new world and relish in its comforts. This generation is very happy and also proud to fit in the society, until the next generation becomes an obvious factor.

This is when,the immigrant generation - now responsible parents; want to have all of above without letting go of its roots far away in the home land. They desperately try to grab i
Mar 13, 2017 Regina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, uni-reads
Don't know whether to give this 3 or 4 stars, so I guess I'll settle on 3,5.
This book really provoked me in a lot of ways. I felt sorry for many of the characters and just wanted to scream and tell them reason (but obviously, they cannot listen). I read this for my contemporary multicultural British literature course, and the more we talked about the book, the more I appreciated it.
If you want an insight into an Indian 'immigrant' family's way of living, this is an enjoyable (and frustrating)
Feb 17, 2017 Agatha rated it really liked it
The story of a mathematically talented young Indian girl who is growing up in Cardiff, Wales. Her traditional Indian parents have a very strict study schedule for her to ensure that she fulfills her talent, and they dream of her becoming the youngest (age 14) student ever to pass her O levels (and then go onto Oxford University). Gradually, however, as she grows older, she not surprisingly begins to rebel more and more against their restrictions. A coming of age novel which also examines cultura ...more
Mar 28, 2008 Bookchica rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Teens, Young Adults, anyone interested in Ethnic literature
Gifted, Nikita Lalwani's debut novel is an effortless read. Nikita balances the strong immigrant theme and that of a child's angst (at a time when the child is too young to even understand such emotions) very naturally.

Rumi is 5 when she is identified as a gifted mathematician. A label that takes over her life, her thoughts and her family. Mahesh, Rumi's father, channels all his immigrant insecurities into making sure that Rumi is his proof to his adoptive country. The proof that his rigid belie
Jul 09, 2016 Strawberry rated it really liked it
I think this is the kind of book that will resonate more with people who can relate to having the kind of parents who dismiss and push away the hopes and dreams of a child in order to load the child's shoulders with their own hopes and dreams, loudly protesting whenever the child voices even the quietest whimper of dissent. Angry bellowings of 'I'm doing all of this because I love you you selfish pig!' can be heard nightly in homes like this. Sad thoughts of 'If you loved me, you'd let me breath ...more
om Publishers Weekly
In this penetrating coming-of-age debut from London-based Lalwani, 14-year-old Rumika Vasi struggles to fulfill her mathematical gifts and her family's demands on them, while also finding friendship and romance. Rumi, labeled gifted in kindergarten, becomes subject to the grim home teaching of her father, Mahesh, a professor of mathematics at the University of Swansea in Wales. The goal: to be accepted to Oxford by age 14. Shreene, Rumi's mother, resentfully accepts the hous
May 24, 2008 YoSafBridg rated it really liked it
Though young Rumi Vasi might be a Gifted mathematical genius in every other way she is a normal pre-teen (later teenage) girl, in this first novel by Nikita Lalwani~or at least she longs to be (i've often found this to be true of highly gifted people~either they are longing for normalcy or they are lacking in emotional maturity for lack of it~note i did NOT say ALL gifted people.) Rumi is the first-born child of Indian immigrants in Cardiff, Wales. When she is five she is identified by her teach ...more
May 07, 2014 Patty rated it it was amazing
A novel about a gifted girl with driven parents. The pressure starts young, when Rumi is identified as "gifted" by her first teacher; her parents' response to this builds up from a suggestion that she join MENSA, into taking her A and O levels early, and eventually attending college (Cambridge, even) at 15. Rumi's life centers around constant studying, to the exclusion of all else, particularly any sort of normal social life or friends. At one point she even drops out of high school entirely to ...more
Dec 13, 2009 Rachael rated it liked it
Fascinating concept, but totally unfulfilling conclusion! At age five, Rumi's teacher informs her parents that she is unusually gifted in math, and her father sets her on a relentless (perhaps even abusive) pursuit of academic excellence-- to the exclusion of any type of normal childhood. As the parent of an EXTREMELY intelligent toddler, I found Mr. Vasi's choices to be exactly what I would FEAR doing to my son. The book follows Rumi to Oxford at the age of 15, but seems to end rather abruptly ...more
Jul 23, 2008 Christian rated it it was ok
Gifted recently received the Desmond Elliot Prize, and the Chair of Judges said:
Gifted is a book of extraordinary range; it is touching, tender, funny and at the same time truly compelling. It covers the issues of duty and family loyalty, and the demands of an extraordinary talent, while holding at its heart the story of a young girl struggling with the agony of first love and her own, very particular, identity. Above all, it has a wonderfully bittersweet charm and for that reason Desmond Elliot
Aug 12, 2009 Juhi rated it it was amazing
This book was about a very talented child named Rumika Vasi. But when puberty strikes Rumi struggles with deciding to folow her dad's dream of her being the youngest girl to go to a university or be with the one she likes. Her mother's longings for her to pick up her heritage and become a wife in India was one of the many problems Rumika faces in this book. Rumi wants to be a normal teen, the one who loves to listen to music, like boys, etc. But Rumi faces many pressures that causes her to do th ...more
Feb 09, 2015 David rated it it was ok
Shelves: from-library
The Perfect Cliché Storm.

Rumi, daughter of Indian immigrants in 1980s Wales, is a gifted child. Not a prodigy, one who start publishing astrophysics papers at 12, but a merely "gifted" child who skips high school. The trouble is, her father doesn't know, or care, what the difference is. And so he puts her through a Spartan mathematical training regimen that would put every Tiger Mother to shame, demonstrating the superiority of Hindu wisdom against Western decadence. Rumi, meanwhile, isn't allow
Rusmira Kajtezovic
Odlična knjiga, zanimljiva tema, bogatstvo izražavanja riječima i rečenicama. Kad je pročitaš ostaneš pod dojmom i osjetiš se bogat za još jedno iskustvo u životu.

Ja je nisam doživjela kao napad na jednu državu, narod, kulturu, kao što sam čitala u nekim komentarima.

Autorica je samo prikazala preko onoga što je njoj blisko temu koja se može primjeniti na sve države i kulture u svijetu: brak, rad, disciplina, odricanje, odgoj djece, u ovom slučaju natprosječno nadarene djevojčice i ambiciju rod
Aug 27, 2007 Sandhya rated it liked it

With quite an uninspiring title and zero buzz around it, it wasn't likely that I'd have picked this book up anytime soon. But given that it's in this year's Booker long list (whatever that's worth), and considering my growing fondness for Indian literature, I gave it a shot in the dark.

Having read it, I'll say the book scores heavily on originality. But more importantly, it possesses a rare emotional power that makes it both a heartbreaking and deeply affective read on several counts. Also, it'
Aug 20, 2007 Jennie rated it really liked it
Rumi was 5 when her kindergarten teacher walked her home to tell her parents she had a gift for math.

At age 10, she sees a news report about an 8 year old who's just done their math O-level. She could do that. She wants to do that. In fact, she's a little ticked that the 8 year old beat her to it.

Her father grabs a hold of this dream and subjects Rumi to a rigorous study schedule. All math, all the time. Nights? Weekends? Math.

Their goal, their dream, is to attend Oxford by age 15. Mahesh wants
20009 bookcrossing journal: I finished this over a week ago, but as we have been without the internet for kicking on three weeks (grrr evil Internet supplier) I haven't gotten around to journalling!

I enjoyed this book, although having read about so many immigrating to the UK/USA - children born abroad being different from the parents stories now, I don't know whether I am getting a bit of overkill on this theme. I have to admit I really got going with this book part way through when she was a te
Jul 13, 2008 Alea rated it it was ok
The story of young Rumi Vasi, math genius, and her family explores many themes including adolescence, the nature of genius, and an Indian family living in England. At a young age it is discovered the Rumi is gifted in mathematics and her father takes it upon himself to nurture those skills and help her get into Oxford at the age of 15.

Immediately the book “The Namesake” by Jhumpa Lahiri and the movie, “Bend it Like Beckham” written and directed by Gurinder Chadha came to mind, both sharing some
A coming of age story with some very sweet moments, and others that made less sense to me. Rumi's awkward moments and social missteps are touching, and probably would have happened even if she hadn't been pushed so hard to study. Her father's friend, Whitefoot, had some good scenes, and was the only character to bring out the human side of her father.

I think this book wanted to be about the parents, Mahesh and Shreene. They both had more inner conflict than Rumi would have realized. Mahesh proba
Maham Farhan
Aug 09, 2016 Maham Farhan rated it it was ok
As a Pakistani, I'm also very familiar with Indians because hey! Neighbours. In many ways, we are similar but also very different too. This book tho, it portrays Indians in a very close-minded sort of way which I don't agree with at all. They are so not like that! They and we also accept the world like it is! Anyways, the book was pretty good from the beginning that's why I gave a 2 star instead of 1 but going into the middle, it just started to become really boring and opened irrelevant topics ...more
Jul 25, 2010 Denise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gifted is an interesting look at the immigrant experience through the eyes of a young math prodigy. Rumika is the daughter of two Indian emigres, her highly disciplined father and her very religious and traditional mother. Both see Rumi as their prodigy, their one real chance to succeed beyond measure. But Rumi is just a young girl, never allowed to let loose and be normal. As she nears accomplishments even her parents never thought she could reach the tension within her builds. In the end Rumi ...more
Dec 16, 2011 Lamepun rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am biased towards this book, because it resonates with me for two reasons: the first is that Rumi is the daughter of immigrant parents and has to somehow fit between her parents' culture and the culture of 80's UK, and the second, that she is a 'gifted' child suffocating under extreme parental pressure.

For me, this book was a sort of validation of the feelings and problems I had when I was a teenager. If it weren't for that, I wouldn't have loved it so much, but I think it's still a great book
Oct 05, 2014 John rated it it was ok
I fail to understand how this book appeared on the Man Booker longlist. I can only assume that the publisher, Viking, pushed it very hard. I just don't think that this book is well enough written to deserve such an accolade. In my opinion, it lacks character delineation and development and the plot has quite a lot of holes. For example, there is a total lack of interaction between the family and Rumi's secondary school; surely someone, somewhere would have raised concerns about the lack of any b ...more
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NIKITA LALWANI was born in Rajasthan and raised in Cardiff. Her first novel, Gifted, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and won the Desmond Elliot Prize for New Fiction. Nikita was also shortlisted for the 2008 Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year. She lives in London.
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“She enjoyed this part, despite the out-and-out ban on fiction, but it was always a pleasure soaked in guilt.” 0 likes
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