Review: On the Outside Looking Indian by Rupinder Gill

Title: On the Outside Looking Indian

Author: Rupinder Gill

Genre/Pages: Memoir/288

Publisher: Riverhead

Publish Date:  May 1, 2012 (reprint edition)

Rating: 2 bookmarks (borrow it)

Source: courtesy of the publisher

Nat’s One-Sentence Synopsis: On the cusp of 30, Rupinder Gill decided to embark on a second childhood–attempting to capture the typical North American rites of passage–after missing them the first time around thanks to a very traditional Indian upbringing outside of Toronto.

As a fan of memoirs, I eagerly accepted this reprint back in May with high hopes.  I read it almost immediately but my response was tepid, at best.  Unfortunately, this was one of the many books I read over the last few months that didn’t quite meet my expectations and left me feeling like the Wicked Book Blogger of the West as I considered ratings and my written review.

While it was interesting to read about Gill’s upbringing in a very traditional Indian family, I think my weariness of memoirs with a ‘gimmick’ finally got the best of me.

Gill’s writing was fine and funny at times, but I think her story would have made a good magazine feature rather than a 288-page memoir.  She covered all the kid-bases–from sleepovers, to dance classes, to Disney World–and her story had heart, but I would have enjoyed it far more as a short piece.

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