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Bindi Babes (Bindi Babes (Paperback)) Paperback – November 8, 2005
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From School Library Journal
Grade 4-7–Amber (10), Jazz (11), and Geena (13), three Indian sisters, live with their father in England. On the surface, they are perfect students who dress in perfect clothes and get along perfectly with each other. In reality, the girls are missing one big element in their lives, their mom. Ever since her death the year before, their father has indulged his daughters' every material wish, but is rarely at home. That suddenly changes when he invites his sister from India to live with them. The girls immediately plot how to get rid of her, including a plan to marry her off. Auntie is a delightful character who consistently manages to turn their plans around with hilarious results. The story has a nice blend of traditional culture, including a cousin's big fat Indian wedding and more modern discussions of boys and school. With solid writing and a sense of humor, Dhami weaves a tale of three material girls who discover the priceless value of family, friends, and neighbors. They also learn the importance of grieving for their mother and of not having to be perfect.–Linda L. Plevak, Saint Mary's Hall, San Antonio, TX
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Gr. 5-8. A year after their mother's sudden death, 14-year-old Geena, 12-year-old Ambajit (Amber), and 11-year-old Jazvinder (Jazz), aka the Bindi Babes, may be perfectly behaved and rule at school and at home (in England), but they still haven't dealt with the loss of their mom. Then Auntie arrives from India and tries to interfere with their carefully constructed routines and coping mechanisms. In an effort to be rid of her, the sisters decide to find her a husband. If they can just get her to their school, they'll orchestrate a meeting with Amber's gorgeous teacher, Mr. Arora. But are these "perfect" girls able to unbend enough to misbehave? Indian words describing food, clothing, and familial relationships add cultural flavor to the story, but girls from everywhere will relate to the main characters. Although there is some sense of the girls' grieving process, the overall tone of the story is light and innocent as the girls come to realize that being perfect is no substitute for dealing with a life-altering event. A sequel, Bollywood Babes, is planned for March 2005. Cindy Welch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Escaping his grief through work, their father is rarely home and when he is, rarely speaks to them other than to indulge them in nearly everything they ask. When he announces that their Auntie is coming from India to live with them and take care of the girls, they are furious – they certainly do not need anyone to babysit them! When Auntie arrives and starts interfering in their lives – especially when their father starts saying no to new clothes, sneakers and pierced ears – they decide she’s got to go. Marrying her off would be the best way to benefit everyone, but who to choose, and how to do it?
The book is ‘tween chick lit; it is an easy read with little emotional depth or character examination. The ending is predictable but satisfying, and leaves the family’s story open to a sequel. In fact, the book is the first in a 4-book series. Ms. Dhami provides a glimpse into Indian culture which has doubtlessly introduced many girls to a new culture in our increasingly diverse society.
Things I liked:
1. The author obviously had an authentic knowledge of life in a mostly desi community in England. Because I am not from England, I had a pretty hard time in the beginning understanding some of the slang, how neighborhoods related to each other, and even that most of the anglicized names in the book were referring to other desi kids, but that is okay because the book does not apologize or over explain these things. You have to just figure it out as you go along.
2. The storylines were good for its young adult audience, although I would say that the it would be more for the 12-14 year old set, rather than the 15-18 year olds.
3. I liked how the last book of the trilogy ended with good closure, but leaving enough room that if she were to write another book, it would be okay.
Things that could have used some improvement:
1. Similar to another reviewer, I also had a little bit of a hard time, especially in the first book, figuring out the difference between the three main characters, or even basics about who was oldest, etc. By the third book, it was simple to differentiate in my head, but maybe setting a LITTLE more context would be good.
2. The book sometimes jumped from 'scene' to 'scene' without any warning (in the middle of a paragraph). I don't know if it is because the e-book formatting was poor or not, but in one example, the girls are at a store with an elderly person, and in the next sentence, the main character is waking up a few days later with an idea.
Specific things about each book:
Bindi Babes - not sure why the 'babes' are there, but nice enough story talking about what happens when an 'interfering Auntie' comes to stay with three sisters and their dad who are mourning the loss of their mom. I wish they developed Auntie's character more here, rather than just the girls' reaction to Auntie, but it was fine.
Bollywood Babes - my favorite book of the three. Cute storyline and really starts expanding the social circle/community the girls live in.
Bhangra Babes - A nice way to end the trilogy with general closure, and who doesn't love a wedding-- but, I do wish there were more descriptions of the wedding.
A cute, quick read in an authentic voice that I would recommend to anyone.
P.S. I was able to borrow this book electronically from my local library (through Overdrive) so you may want to try that before you buy.
Will it work?
Merchant Mr Attawal, disagreeable next door neighbor Mrs Macey, head of the lower school Mr Grimwade, teachers Miss Thomas and Mr Agora, a clumsy newspaper boy, inspectors coming to visit Coppergate, Ms Woods and a special assembly, sharing a room and of course Auntie all figure in this entertaining tale.
Narinder Dhami has set down a captivating, absorbing anecdote certain to enchant girls in the target audience of 11-15 year olds. The interaction among the sisters, their dealing with having their lives turned topsy turvy first by the demise of their mother and later with the introduction of an aunt they don't really know, don't trust, and don't want to like; provides the grist for a fun read.
Enjoyed the read, happy to recommend.
Reviewed by: molly martin
20+ years California classroom teacher