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Born Confused (Born Confused #1)

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,154 Ratings  ·  384 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'
Paperback, 512 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by Scholastic Paperbacks (first published October 1st 2002)
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Born Confused by Tanuja Desai HidierThe Contract by Zeenat MahalInterpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa LahiriHaveli by Zeenat MahalDone With Men by Shuchi Singh Kalra
Desi Chick Lit
1st out of 229 books — 295 voters
Kira-Kira by Cynthia KadohataGirl in Translation by Jean KwokAmerican Born Chinese by Gene Luen YangBorn Confused by Tanuja Desai HidierA Step from Heaven by An Na
Best Asian-American Teen Fiction
4th out of 139 books — 211 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sep 10, 2007 Dolores rated it really liked it
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
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
saadia k
Aug 03, 2010 saadia k rated it liked it
Shelves: growing-up, ya, south-asia
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
Jan 19, 2013 Melody rated it it was amazing
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
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
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
Feb 09, 2010 Yoonmee rated it liked it
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
Dec 29, 2014 E rated it really liked it
This book was a little bit angsty for me. But that's because, as a POC it's hard to watch the character in the story having a white best friend who most def doesnt understand the position of someone of color who might feel inadequate in a world made to cater to white people.
In this case Dimple, who is Indian, feels out of place and inferior. Especially to her best friend who is white.
But the most irking thibg is, somehow Dimple's best friend blames her for everything. Complaining about how she
Apr 05, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it
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
May 13, 2010 Melinda rated it it was ok
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.
May 15, 2007 Lakshmi rated it really liked it
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 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
Apr 12, 2014 Tellulah Darling rated it liked it
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
This book does a lot of things really well, and it tackles a lot of big themes and questions. Dimple comes from a family of Indian immigrants and trying to balance her culture with American expectations has not been easy for her. As she goes into the summer before her senior year of high school, she is pushed to confront her previous ideas of her culture, identity, friendship, and love.

The Good:

Dimple is an endearing character. I identified with her quite a bit. She's quiet but compassionate. S
there were a lot of really good things about Born Confused. I loved the diversity, the use of Indian culture, and the relationship between friends. However, the nature of the romance annoyed me, and I don't think that it was, the defining novel for a generation of American immigrants especially Indian ones. I am an Indian- New Zealander who has lived in both places, and I didn't find that I identified with Dimple more than any other character. Maybe my expectations were too high.
This book is div
May 05, 2014 Marie rated it it was amazing
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
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.
Oct 09, 2014 Histteach24 rated it it was ok
I was confused why this book needed to be 500 pages. I picked it up because the school I teach in has a large Indian population. I wanted an inside look at the struggles teenagers feel trying to balance being American with their native culture. The book had noteworthy quotes and a great moral, but it could have been covered in 300 pages max. The story just dragged on and on. The author is too wordy. At times I was lost in what she was even talking about because she would go off into tangents. Ma ...more
Sep 02, 2014 Jen rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
More like 3.5 stars. This was both a typical and an atypical coming of age story. Typical, in that it's from the point of view of a modern teenage girl who is trying to discover who she is and what she wants as she goes from high school junior to high school senior and beyond. Atypical, because she is an American Indian (not Native American, from the country of India), living in New Jersey in a primarily Caucasian community, with parents who have ideas more in line with traditional Indian cultur ...more
Jul 10, 2014 Jackie rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elizabeth Joseph
Jun 25, 2014 Elizabeth Joseph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: summer, poc, quiltbag
What I needed. Review to come.

Alright, I'm actually going to try to review this. Given I am an Indian young person, maybe my perspective will count for something.

The review will have mild spoilers.

I liked the writing style as I feel the author didn't explain too much (although she did at times) and the style was mock-lyrical prose. However, the dashes instead of quotation marks when a person was talking, seemed to give a sense that Dimple was alone instead of talking to people. Just use quota
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 11, 2008 Christy rated it liked it
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
Chee Vang
Aug 16, 2013 Chee Vang rated it really liked it
I've been holding back on writing a review for this book. There's just so much I want to say about it that I'm not sure if I am capable of verbalizing how much I really adore it. "Born Confused" is a coming-of-age novel about our protagonist and narrator, Dimple Lala. Dimple is American but also Indian, and she has a difficult time fitting in as an American teenager who can't escape her Indian heritage. She has a best friend, Gwen Sexton, who she grew up with and considers her twin since both gi ...more
Jan 15, 2012 Sunil rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, 2009
Dimple Lala is an Indian-American teenage girl with very traditional parents. She loves photography and her white best friend, Gwyn Sexton. Enter Karsh, a Suitable Boy for marriage. Dimple, of course, thinks he's totally lame...until she meets him in his natural environment, DJing a party. But as soon as she decides she actually likes him, Gwyn gets all starry-eyed for him. Hijinks ensue.

That's the précis, and it's a fairly generic plot with the exception of the arranged marriage element (which
Annalee Schnebele
May 01, 2011 Annalee Schnebele rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-lit-class
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
May 29, 2009 Ashley rated it it was amazing
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"
Uzma S.
Jan 29, 2014 Uzma S. rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 23, 2014 Julie rated it really liked it
This was an interestingly nuanced ya coming-of-age novel featuring a heroine whose parents are Indian immigrants. Dimple Lala (great name!) hadn’t thought much about about her heritage when she was younger, but she has just turned 17 and suddenly things are more complicated: her parents are introducing her to a suitable boy and urging her to be more Indian, while Dimple wants to be a photographer and maybe date a cool college guy. This isn’t just a typical teenage angst book, though, since thin ...more
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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 about Tanuja Desai Hidier...

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Born Confused (2 books)
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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.” 35 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.” 29 likes
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