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THE NOT SO STAR-SPANGLED LIFE OF SUNITA SEN by Mitali Perkins

THE NOT SO STAR-SPANGLED LIFE OF SUNITA SEN

By Mitali Perkins

Age Range: 10 & up

Pub Date: May 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-316-69943-8

 First-novelist Perkins makes tangible the ups and downs of American children from non-Western families. Sunita Sen hasn't given her Bengali heritage much thought until her old-fashioned grandparents arrive for a year in the US. Suddenly, Sunni's mother leaves her teaching job and turns in her workout gear for flowing silk sarees; the family's pizza and sushi nights are thrown over for home-cooked samosa and other traditional dishes. Deciding that would-be boyfriend Michael will never understand her ``weird'' family, Sunni goes into self-imposed exile; she experiences racism when she and an African-American student are both pejoratively referred to as ``colored.'' Grandparents Didu and Dadu, however, relish American culture and have depths of tolerance and understanding that even their own daughter failed to recognize. Though all the characters are fully realized, it's the endearing elderly couple (he gardens, she adores soap operas) who give this story its old-world roots; Sunni's parents seem far more torn between cultures than their typically American teenage children. Gentle and palatable, the lessons are offered with compassion and easily absorbed insights. (Fiction. 10+)