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ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING INDIAN by Rupinder Gill

ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING INDIAN

How My Second Childhood Changed My Life

By Rupinder Gill

Pub Date: May 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-59448-577-0
Publisher: Riverhead

An honest, mildly humorous account of growing up the child of Indian immigrants in Canada.

Gill begins by comparing her childhood to being raised Amish—except Amish children get Rumspringa. “In Indian adolescence,” she writes, “you never break free of the rules.” The author is certain if Indian children were given the same two-week period of freedom, none would choose to return to their old way of life. In her strict family, weekends consisted only of homework, chores and television; activities such as sleepovers and summer camp were strictly forbidden. For her 30th New Year’s resolution, Gill set out to accomplish a list of experiences she missed out on during her childhood, including summer camp, learning how to swim and taking dance lessons. As she accomplished items on the list, she became braver and decided to shake up her stagnant life as a publicist, so she quit and moved to New York City to pursue her dream of writing for TV. Unfortunately, her new life did not work out as planned, and Gill moved back to Toronto. The memoir ends without a resolution; the author is still pursuing her dream of becoming a TV writer. Throughout, Gill writes about her parents in a balanced way, presenting them as neither angels nor demons. The tone is lighthearted, and Gill is a heroine to root for—relatable, imperfect and prone to both success and failure.

A lighthearted read for readers curious about the lives of middle-class immigrants, or those looking to identify with the experience of being an outsider.