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Blue Boy Paperback – May 1, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Satyal's lovely coming-of-age debut charts an Indian-American boy's transformation from mere mortal to Krishnaji, the blue-skinned Hindu deity. Twelve-year-old Kiran Sharma's a bit of an outcast: he likes ballet and playing with his mother's makeup. He also reveres his Indian heritage and convinces himself that the reason he's having trouble fitting in is because he's actually the 10th reincarnation of Krishnaji. He plans to come out to the world at the 1992 Martin Van Buren Elementary School talent show, and much of the book revels in his comical preparations as he creates his costume, plays the flute and practices his dance moves to a Whitney Houston song. But as the performance approaches, something strange happens: Kiran's skin begins to turn blue. Satyal writes with a graceful ease, finding new humor in common awkward pre-teen moments and giving readers a delightful and lively young protagonist. (May)
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"The best fiction reminds us that humanity is much, much larger than our personal world, our own little reality. Blue Boy shows us a world too funny and sad and sweet to bebased on anything but the truth." ----Chuck Palahniuk New York Times Bestselling Author
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Kiran is bright, artistic, a bit smug, and very lonely. When the child begins to see himself as turning blue, he rationalizes a new identity for himself.
The novel is quick reading, and both funny and agonizing. Kiran observes teens engaging in impersonal sex in the park, and this only serves to compound his uncertainty about himself. The resolution is a bit pat, but the struggle is very real as the boy works to come to terms with who he is.
The novel provides an unusual perspective on the Hindu religion as a child sees it, and insight into the life of a boy who is alone in the midst of people.
Blue Boy takes place over the span of a few months in the life of 12 year old Kiran Sharma, a 1st generation Indian boy living in Ohio who is growing up quickly and coming to terms with why he is so different from his classmates, who shun him. Kiran is a very bright, perceptive, funny character and once I was a few pages in I didn't want to stop reading. Kiran is stuck in that place between being a child and being a grown-up that I think everyone remembers as being complicated, and even painful at times. Kiran's desire for his parents' approval is sweet and sad. His only friend is his language teacher. He understands that he is different from his classmates, not only because of his skin but other, less tangible, reasons that he only starts to understand towards the middle/end of the book. This quote really struck me and sums up his loneliness perfectly: "There are so many unique qualities about me that I can't be put into one category. It reminds me of Venn diagrams, which Mrs. Nevins taught us about-those intersecting circles that represent different groups; when they overlap, the area that they both contain is something that they have in common. What happens when you are represented by so many circles that the area you take up is so minuscule no one else could possibly fit into it?"
At times the childish thought process was, for me, laugh out loud funny (or at least giggle), as when Kiran makes a list of qualities that define the Hindu god Krishna, whom he believes he is the 10th incarnation of (1.) Blue skin; 2.) Show-off; 3.) Flutist; 4.) Butter eater; 5.) Girlfriend). He then uses this as a checklist to being more like Krishna, going so far as to sneakily buy a tub of Country Crock and eat it plain. Imagine his surprise when his skin actually began to turn blue!
I would recommend this book highly- if you also got it when it was free and haven't read it yet, do so!
The story is about an Indian boy, Kiran, who is going through some of the normal pre-teen growing pains that we all remember, such as bullying, friendships and discovering sexuality. But Kiran has another set of hurdles to face as he learns how he is different from the other kids at school when it comes to religion, culture and...sexuality.
Although I couldn't identify with the cultural part of what Kiran was going through, I grew up in a similar environment (Midwest suburbia) where those from different cultures DID stick out and I could remember a few "Kirans" from my own childhood. To bring it even closer to home, the references Satyal makes to music and television within the story made me believe he must be a fellow 30-something, with his main character growing up in the 90s with Strawberry Shortcake, Madonna and the Golden Girls.
I highly recommend this book, especially if you grew up in the late 80s/early 90s!
Most recent customer reviews
queer, etc. And so funny :)
Story but it was really not what I expected. It gives a good picture of what a adolescent y young man growing up in a foreign place may feel.