Submitted by Amisha Upadhyaya
This was a book where I felt it deserved nothing more than a downloaded digitized excerpt. I thought I would hate it, thinking it would be about a WASP woman, blessed in every way, whining about boys and exoticizing foreign lands. I ‘m not a fan of settling discomfort by having other cultures conform to you or judging them through your own cultural lens. As Robert Louis Stevenson when he said, “There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.”
So the author is a WASP in technical terms, is blessed, and does have boy troubles. But, she doesn’t whine. She knows where she stands in the context of life. She admits to her boy troubles and also contextualizes them in relation to say, war. And she loves traveling. She is, pretty much, like my friends and me.
Though my gals and I debate (for what that’s worth), we have never gotten drunk or taken to emergency wine sessions or wound up heaps on the bathroom floors — the part of the book I related to immediately — because of an issue or policy. Except when Bush was elected a second time, and I broke down at a park in Philly.
Other than that, life can kick you at the knees, where there’s you and then there’s remnants of your heart you gingerly cradle hoping to piece back. Usually after love or a movie deal has gone awry (is that horrible I lump them together?). My place of choice is either a secluded sacred space if one happens to be around or a bathroom. I recall many reflections of a tear-stained me looking back from a bathroom mirror watching pitiful tears form and feeling like a Scarlett who’s just lost Tara. I took immense pleasure in self-pity so who was I to even attribute the word “whine” to anyone.
My friends and I also are blessed, and do not have children who have been sent to war nor suffered through a ravishing poverty ourselves. We support each other not by providing hiding places due to a genocide but through boy and family issues, often petty ones, or even worse, body image woes or job advancement glitches.
So, I was like the author. I stepped down from the pedestal and downloaded the full book. I not only liked it, I clung to it until it was finished, laughing and tearing up and going on a journey I also knew well.