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Born Confused

(Born Confused #1)

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3.81  ·  Rating details ·  4,854 ratings  ·  459 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
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Published by Push (first published October 1st 2002)
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Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,854 ratings  ·  459 reviews


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Dolores
Jul 30, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Melody
Jan 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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 u
...more
CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian
This is a knock-out coming of age YA novel about identity, belonging, friendship, and romance. It's the story of Dimple finding out who she is as a person, discovering what her passions are, (re)connecting with her culture and family, reimagining an old friendship, and falling in love for the first time. There's a lot in here about feeling stuck between cultures: too Indian to really be American, and too American to really be Indian.

I loved the characterization and I loved the writing. I though
...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
...more
CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨
After finishing this audiobook (which was 14 hours long), I realized that I'll miss the characters in this book. This book was certainly wasn't perfect but wow, Born Confused is undeniably special.

- This book explores a variety of themes - family, friendship, love, arranged marriages, cultural identity, alienation from her Indian heritage, following your dreams, and growing up - all which are explored very thoroughly and with nuance.
- Loved how the narrative grew with Dimple; how her p
...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 wante
...more
Melinda
Mar 24, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Julia Gaughan
Maybe this is a YA book that you really need to be YA to read. Only read for a book club. Don't recommend.
E
Dec 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ho
...more
Ashley
Apr 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 "Bo
...more
Nafiza
It is not just the fact that I identified so closely with this book that made me like it so much. Or maybe it is. Maybe the fact that the book so blithely talked about something that was close to my own reality that made me prize it above others. Or maybe it’s because Dimple is a well drawn character, who is so very dynamic in emotional growth throughout the novel. Or her juxtaposition with the best friend who is in search for a culture and finds one, the very one that Dimple is so determined to ...more
Sarah
Apr 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Lakshmi
May 12, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Elena
Jan 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Pratyu
Jul 18, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
idk man i'm south asian and i read this book a long time ago but i remember feeling kind of mad the whole time. It generalizes indians so much and the main character (?? i don't remember her very much) was unlikable.
Brigid ✩
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.
Jannah (Cloud Child)
I read this in my teens and remember feeling as if I shouldn't be (I don't know why) but enjoying it a lot. Completely forgot what it was called until now. Must read again!
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.
Otone
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I have read--I can't do it justice but to say, just read it.
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/>
Tanuja
...more
Chee Vang
Apr 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dar
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Goes far beyond the surface story of a Jersey girl with parents from India, living in the shadow of her attention-seeking white bestie, and competing over a boy. This long, intricate book takes its time to explore friendships, crushes, identity and feeling at home in your skin. I've read very few YA novels in which a girl narrator is developing a technical skill as well as her confidence. The section on friendship rifts and being a third wheel is the best I've ever read on the subject. This is n ...more
Elisabeth Stones
Whew, this is a LONG, different book. I listened to the audiobook, and I think if I were reading the paper copy I would have skipped/skimmed long parts of this. For the first half of the book, I was fairly patient with the self-examination and the stream-of-consciousness, but after many hours of the audiobook I just wanted them to get on with the plot, and for SOMEONE to say something directly to SOMEONE else without any more pussyfooting around or any more phrases beginning with "it seemed like ...more
Shanti
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
...more
Elizabeth Joseph
May 24, 2014 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
...more
Jackie
Jun 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
...more
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TANUJA DESAI HIDIER is an award-winning author/singer-songwriter and innovator of the ‘booktrack’. She is the recipient of the 2015 South Asia Book Award, the James Jones First Novel Fellowship, the London Writers/Waterstones Award, and the APALA Children and YA Honor Award, and her short stories have been included in numerous anthologies.

Her pioneering debut BORN CONFUSED — the first
...more

Other books in the series

Born Confused (2 books)
  • Bombay Blues (Born Confused #2)
“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.” 41 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.” 33 likes
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