An American Brat
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Milkweed Editions
Feroza Ginwalla, a pampered, protected 16-year-old Pakistani girl, is sent to America by her parents, who are alarmed by the fundamentalism overtaking Pakistan — and their daughter. Hoping that a few months with her uncle, an MIT grad student, will soften the girl’s rigid thinking, they get more than they bargained for: Feroza, enthralled by American culture and her new freedom, insists on staying. A bargain is struck, allowing Feroza to attend college with the understanding that she will return home and marry well. As a student in a small western town, Feroza’s perceptions of America, her homeland, and herself begin to alter. When she falls in love with and wants to marry a Jewish American, her family is aghast. Feroza realizes just how far she has come — and wonders how much further she can go. This delightful coming-of-age novel is both remarkably funny and a remarkably acute portrayal of America as seen through the eyes of a perceptive young immigrant.
Feroza hugged the adventure of her travel to America to herself throughout the flight. As she hurtled through space, she became conscious also of the gravitational pull of the country she was leaving behind. Her sense of self, enlarged by the osmosis of identity with her community and with her group of school friends, stayed with her like a permanence -- like the support that ocean basins provide the wind- and moon-generated vagaries of its waters. And this cushioning stilled her fear of the unknown: an unconscious panic that lay coiled somewhere between her navel and her ribs and was just beginning to manifest itself in a fleeting irregularity of her heartbeat.
Other Editions/Foreign Translations
New York Public Library “Books for the Teen Age”
Sidhwa’s writing is brisk and funny, her characters painted so vividly you can almost hear them bickering.
–New York Times Book Review
The reader’s reaction to it shares the symptoms of eating jalapeno peppers: wincing from the power of the substance and wiping tears. . . . Sidhwa’s plot is compelling. Her style is inimitable.
–St. Paul Pioneer Press
An American Brat is an exceptional novel . . . funny and memorable.
–Los Angeles Times