Born Confused
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Born Confused (Born Confused #1)

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  3,349 ratings  ·  320 reviews
Tanuja Desai Hidier's fantastically acclaimed cross-cultural debut comes to PUSH!

Dimple Lala doesn't know what to think. Her parents are from India, and she's spent her whole life resisting their traditions. Then suddenly she gets to high school and everything Indian is trendy. To make matters worse, her parents arrange for her to meet a "suitable boy." Of course it doesn'...more
Paperback, 512 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by Scholastic Paperbacks (first published October 1st 2002)
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Born Confused by Tanuja Desai HidierInterpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa LahiriUntruly Yours by Smita ShettyThe Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee DivakaruniDone With Men by Shuchi Singh Kalra
Desi Chick Lit
1st out of 140 books — 194 voters
Kira-Kira by Cynthia KadohataA Step from Heaven by An NaGirl in Translation by Jean KwokBorn Confused by Tanuja Desai HidierFalling From Grace by S.L. Naeole
Best Asian-American teen fiction
4th out of 100 books — 138 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dolores
This book is a rare treat, in that it presents the life of a typical American teenager with an atypical life, is honest, but doesn't stoop to cliches and stereotypes to tell its tale. This is the story of Dimple Lala, a young woman, born and raised in New Jersey of Indian immigrant parents, who is turning 17 at the beginning of summer. Dimple rejects her parents old-world culture and wants to be an All-American girl, but everyone else sees her as Indian. For her parents, Dimple getting drunk onc...more
Briynne
So many aspects of this book were excellent. The main character, Dimple, is wonderful and well-drawn. Her parents are so adorable and honestly portrayed, you want to put them in your pocket. The "Indian thing" is handled with grace; it's an actual exploration of what it means to belong to an ethnicity outside of its place of origin rather than a trite "I feel weird, people look different than me" sort of story. I thought Gwen was a hateful, awful person, but she was interesting and held my atten...more
Jennie
Jan 02, 2008 Jennie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: yaliterature
Plot: Dimple Lala is one confused 17 year-old. She's always wanted to be like her friend Gwyn, who is pretty, blonde and seems to have it all. Dimple's family is Indian and they attempt to set her up with a suitable boy. At first Dimple doesn't want this suitable boy, but once her friend Gwyn becomes interested in him, Dimple has a change of heart. This novel is about Dimple's journey to understand her Indian background as well as how her American side mix together to form her identity.

Evaluatio...more
Kricket
this book is so good that kaavya viswanathan lifted entire passages of it for her book "how opal mehta got kissed, got wild, and got a life," and when i read the latter i actually recognized where they were from.

first read: april 2007
second read (in anticipation of the sequel!!): august 2014
this book is just as good, maybe even better, the second time around. i love desai hidier's style and how easy it is to get caught up in. found myself yellling "frock!" instead of my usual f-bomb the other da...more
Yoonmee
I'm torn as to how I feel about this book. First off, please read Briynne's reviews of this book on here. She does a great job of expressing some of my thoughts about the book.

When I first picked this up, I got into it and enjoyed reading it but maybe about 1/3 of the way through the story just felt incredibly drawn out. I can understand Dimple's identity crisis and teenage angst regarding, well, being a teenager and also being an Asian American teenager, but most of the time I wanted to shake D...more
Melody
Jan 19, 2013 Melody rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Melody by: Manda
I adored this book. It started a little rough for me, Hidier's exuberant restretching unforming rebubbling of the language was abrupt. But once I dove in, let the words into my ear, let them bounce and scintillate and dance, then I was wholly present. Straightforward, age-old plot made very fresh here. Everyone in this book does some growing in very believable, sometimes painful ways. I loved the glimpse into both the Indian culture of Dimple's parents, and the hybrid dynamic culture of Dimple's...more
saadia k
I really, really, really wanted to like this book. And, in some ways, I really did. In fact, though I had been trudging through its 500 pages for days and days, when I finally finished it late last night, I found myself feeling melancholy that it was actually over. It was a bittersweet farewell--almost like breaking up with someone you were like, sooooo totally into initally, but who quickly (as soon as the rush of pink to your cheeks wore away) began to bore you with all their incessant monolog...more
Sarah
There's something about this book.

I first read it in eight grade, and when I did, I didn't like it. I am not entirely sure why. Maybe it was the format or the style. I doubt it had to do with the characters or the plot-line. Either way, I didn't like it. But once I finished it, it stuck with me. Some conversation would remind me of it, or such. It has stuck with me for the past three years.

So, since it was so unforgettable, I decided to give it another go.

This time I liked it a lot, but it was...more
Lakshmi
This was billed as the "first South Asian American Young Adult Novel" Aimed at teens, so it's a quick and light read. I felt like I really related to it more from the South Asian American college student perspective...a lot of college student identity politics that I could totally relate to...fun to read about the dj "scene" in NY...something I always wanted to experience as a 20 something, but never really got a chance to. I liked the relationship between the narrator and her parents...that it...more
Tellulah Darling
3.5 stars

There was a lot to like about this book. I really enjoyed Dimple's voice as our protagonist, and Hidier did an amazing job at bringing this world to life. When we're in the club or Dimple is lost to her photography, I too, was completely immersed and right there with her. I also really liked that at its heart, beyond being about identity, this book was about love. Romantic, platonic, familial and self. I think there were some wonderful messages for readers to absorb but done in a way th...more
Marie
Born Confused is the narrative of a coming-of-age/coming-into-yourself summer through the eyes of Dimple Lala. Dimple is the American-born child of Indian immigrant parents, and she's struggling to fit in her very white town of Springfield. She's one of only two Indians at her high school, and considering that the other Indian is a Sikh, Jimmy Trilok, with his turban and his curried lunches... well, he's not friend material. Her best friend is Gwyn, and they've been Supertwins since early childh...more
Libby Ames
I loved the idea of this book, but I really disliked the execution. Dimple Lala is an American born South Asian who can't decide where she fits in. She doesn't embrace her Indian culture, but she also can't fit in mainstream American culture. The main idea of this book is supposed to be Dimple's journey to self-discovery and understanding of her culture. A great idea, but it goes horribly wrong.

My first problem is that Dimple seems to ignore the best parts of her culture and embrace the worst pa...more
Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
i liked this book. it's maybe a little too long, but it's good. there were just a few parts that didn't make a lot of sense, especially one odd scene involving drugs. but i recommend it.
Emily Howard
One of those books that I don't quite like entirely, but that is long enough that I felt attached to it by the end. It's a little flat and angst-driven.
Isis
I would like to thank NetGalley and Push for granting me the opportunity to read eARC in exchange for an honest review. Though I received this e-book for free that in no way impacts my review. I give this book 3.5 stars, but only 3 stars in review (as only whole numbers are accepted) until I see if the typographical errors are corrected in the finished copy.

Tanuja Desai Hidier's fantastically acclaimed cross-cultural debut comes to PUSH!

Dimple Lala doesn't know what to think. Her parents are fro
...more
Arminzerella
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christy
Dimple is a teenage Indian girl raised in America by parents who emigrated from India. She’s a typical American teenager who resents being “different” and thinks her parents are clueless and boring. She has a best friend who is the American Dream (blonde, blue-eyed, popular, outgoing), but Dimple mostly feels like an afterthought. After a night behaving “unsuitably”, her parents decide to fix her up with a “suitable” Indian boy, planning on marrying her off. Dimple, of course, wants nothing to d...more
Annalee Schnebele
I don't really know what I think of this book. On one hand, the not punctuating dialog correctly really, really irritated me. And sometimes the story was hard to follow and a little confusing; if this was intentional to mirror Dimple's confusion with her life - then rock on, if not, run-on-sentences are not always our friends. I did enjoy the romantic portion of the plot, but it seemed like there were WAY too many themes running through this novel. It seemed like everything sort of focused aroun...more
Ashley
May 29, 2009 Ashley rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Katie
It's only been a few years since I bought this book, and my copy's already been reread about four times. Let me put this in perspective: I rarely reread books. Once every three years is the maximum. But I cannot get enough of this book. The characters are realistic and compelling, with their own loves, histories and compulsions. Love is never simple in books, but Tanuja Desai Hidier reaches into your soul and makes you feel every emotion acutely.

2nd Review (5/29/09):
I just reread "Born Confused"...more
Uzma S.
I loved this book so much because it was relevant to my life. Her family was similar to mine because it seemed as if they lost their culture but they had it all bottled up inside. Dimple Lala, was an Indian girl trying to find herself and her culture. Her bestfriend, Gwyn, a typical blonde took Dimples suitable boy away and she found out she liked him when she noticed how unsuitable he was when he spent time with Gwyn. Everything had worked out by the end of the story. When I finished reading it...more
Melinda
This book is about an teenage girl whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from India. The girl wants to fit in with her American teenage friends but is constantly reminded of her Indian heritage by the color of her skin and her parents who maintain their Indian customs.

While I generally enjoy this genre of novel (Indian culture meets America), I found this book very tiresome to read. The dialogue didn't sound natural and for my taste there was way too much descriptive prose and not enough action....more
 Soph - Lock&Key
This book had some interesting bits. But some of it was rather boring as well. It is hard to say whether I liked it or not, because when I think about it I only like certain aspects of it. I liked the culture references in this book the fact that she is Indian makes the story a lot more real and enjoyable. I also liked the story line, the writing style was also good, but.................it was a tad ramble some parts of this book went on forever, and the bits that I wanted to take longer were sh...more
Joanna Sickels
Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier follows the life of Dimple Lala who is part American and part Indian (India). She doesn’t know whether to call herself American or Indian. She and her best friend Gwyn are lovers of photography and enjoy taking pictures of the school.
This book was a pleasure to read, being that the main protagonist is not the Hollywood stereotype or the spitting image of a perfect model. Dimple is somewhat overweight and has self-confidence issues, which helps the everyday p...more
Elena
Born Confused is an inspiring novel about a girl trying to find herself. Dimple Lala is stuck between two cultures, Indian and American, and never feels like she is enough of either. Then to complicate things, her parents decide to set up an arranged marriage with a "suitable boy." The suitable boy is exactly what Dimple expects him to be--until she sees him DJing magic at a party in an amazing club called HotPot. The descriptions in this book are nothing short of magnificent, and they drag you...more
Tasha
I quit reading this book because I was looking for a good cultural read, but the girl was a bit preoccupied with sex. I flipped further into the book to see if she abandoned her best friend who was a bad influence and obsessed with boys, but found they were still pursuing the same course. It wasn't the cultural read I was seeking.

Instead I'm now reading "Does My Head Look Big In This?" Which is about a Australian Muslim girl who has decided to wear the hijab (head covering) full-time. I'm enjoyi...more
Ian Wood
This is the complete review as it appears at my blog dedicated to reading, writing (no 'rithmatic!), movies, & TV. Blog reviews often contain links which are not reproduced here, nor will updates or modifications to the blog review be replicated here. Graphic and children's novels reviewed on the blog will generally have some images from the book's interior, which are not reproduced here.

Note that I don't really do stars. To me a novel is either worth reading or it isn't. I can't rate a nove...more
Margaret Fisk
Originally published on Tales to Tide You Over

Born Confused is a quintessential teen coming of age novel with boyfriend issues, best friend issues, drinking, drugs, and the whole bit. But at the same time, it’s so much more than that. This novel is about a search for identity.

It’s a walkabout as Dimple tries to navigate between her parents’ culture and her own mixed American and Indian (or South Asian as presented in the book) culture. Add that into the mix of high school trauma where she is one...more
Kirsti Call
I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

3.5 stars

This book brings you into the world of Dimple, who feels unAmerican and unIndian at the same time. She doesn't feel like she fits in either world and her inability to see how wonderful she is permeates the first 75% of the book.

What I liked: The story was compelling, the characters, real and flawed. I really liked Dimple and her friends and I wanted to know what would happen to them. I felt like the misunderstandings and...more
Christina  Torretta
Just when you thought it was safe to read and was all pink bubbly and cutesy, all hell breaks loose!

I really like how this started. I was curious about Dimple Lala right away and her narration of this is beautiful, albeit a bit wordy. But she is just an amazing gal going through what all of us do at at least one point in our lives, figuring out who the frock she is! (Frock may now be my new fav go to non curse word!)

Just turning 17 her family is in a world over their heads. The fact that they ha...more
Jennifer Clausen-greene
Wonderful book of a typical American teenager who wants to be heard, seen, free from parental restrictions and "normal." I was really worried that this book might harbor inside alot to typical stereotypes, but I was wrong. The book focuses on the story of Dimple Lala, American born but with deep Indian roots that her family expects her to hold onto. Dimple Lala is the typical confused 17-year-old girl from Jersey that is obsessed with her weight and the boy she broke up with. The story focuses o...more
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79170
TANUJA DESAI HIDIER is a writer and musician based in London, via NYC.

Her first novel, BORN CONFUSED--the first ever South Asian American coming-of-age story--was a Larry King pick of the week, an American Library Association BBYA book of the year, and a Sunday Times (Times of London) book of the week. The book has been translated into Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Italian, German, and various Sout...more
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“You must live every moment of your life in such a way that if you had to live it over and over again till infinity, this would be a good thing.” 28 likes
“They say in the east you love the person you marry and in the west you marry the person you love. But maybe it's a lot simpler than that. Maybe you just love the person you love.” 27 likes
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