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August 6, 2008

So if the whole no-access-from-my-computer/interrupted-access-from-my-bff’s-computer thing wasn’t bad enough, my hard drive went kaplooey yesterday.  I don’t even wanna TALK about it because there’s some blame going on there and I’m steaming–EVERYTHING was there.  I read like 40 books last month and the list is gone, including a ton of opinions and stuff.  AND my grad school application stuff.

But anyway, this week is Blog Against Racism Week, I think, and I didn’t even know that but I picked up this book and I have to tell y’all about it.  It’s called A Good Indian Wife by Anne Cherian and it’s AMAZING.  It’s about a guy who goes “home” to India and ends up with a wife.  One of the things about this book that I loved is that someone Indian (or someone with Indian food) read the book before I took it out, and it smelled lovely, like there was another part of the experience I was missing.  My mom is even more bland an eater than I am, so we never once had Indian food growing up.  I’m still completely lost about it, but Cherian makes it easy for those outside the culture to always understand what it going on, without it feeling like an Indian Culture 101 kind of book.  It’s always a good idea to immerse oneself in another culture, and sometimes I’m so in awe of the differences between, say, British TV and American TV, that I forget there’s a completely different non-Anglo world out there, a world that doesn’t have the same assumptions as mine.  It’s good to have a reminder that I’m just a tiny white person in a big colorful world, sure, but basically it’s just an awesome book.

I also read Persepolis, but I was so out of my depth there with the politics.  I can’t imagine watching a movie version of it, although I am going to pick up the second one soon.  It’s impossible for me to imagine my ten-year-daughter having the same experiences that ten-year-old Marjane Satrapi has in this autobiographical graphic novel.  At first, I thought of letting my daughter read the book, then I talked myself out of it (especially the horrifying childlike drawings of Satrapi’s family friends being tortured), and then I felt guilty for talking myself out of it.  Ah, white guilt.  Should I feel bad not exposing my daughter to the horrible things in the world, or should I be happy and proud that I live in a place where she’ll only experience a fraction of the fear and violence that Marjane Satrapi grew up in?  I keep thinking that we read books about children as teenagers–like Lord of the Flies, I suppose–when we’re already past that age.  We’ve lived this or we haven’t.  I keep wanting to tell my daughter about Lord of the Flies, but something stops me.  Let her stay a child, I tell myself.  Her dad and I have worked ourselves up over the possible psychological tortures of middle school, but is that as significant as being forced to wear a veil?  Of growing up in a country where the universities “closed for two years to purge them of opponents to theocratic rule” (Wikipedia).

And of course, I’m distracted by Chinese food and Battlestar Galactica.  Don’t think I don’t know I’m blessed.

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