Monday, November 7, 2016

Narsimhan, Mahtab. Mission Mumbai.

Narsimhan, Mahtab.  Mission Mumbai.  Scholastic Press  2016  261p.  $16.99  ISBN 978-0-545-74651-9  ms  Multicultural  E-BN
In this unusual story, political correctness is thrown out the window as the author, a Mumbia-born and raised Canadian, describes the friendship between two New York City boys, Dylan and Rohit. When his family takes a trip to India, Rohit invites Dylan to come along. In India, the boys embark on a series of adventures and misadventures, and Dylan gets a real education in the workings of a foreign culture. Many of the scenes are hilariously funny, and others are poignant, but there is a singular lack of sentimentality in the writing, and a freshness and frankness that are not usually encountered in middle-school novels. The friendship survives many misunderstandings and slights as Dylan walks a fine line between Rohit’s parents and Rohit himself, who is less than enthusiastic about the trip. All the while, Dylan is comparing Rohit’s family with his own, especially because his parents’ marriage appears to be spiraling downward and he is very upset about it.

The writing is direct, with the word “crap” used liberally, but it works as a style because of Ms. Narsimhan’s understanding of 12-year-old boys and their unsentimental view of the world. The one will appeal particularly to American children of Indian descent, as well as to their friends.

Summary: Dylan is a 12-year-old New York City boy who travels to India with his best friend Rohit in this rollicking story of cultural clashes, adventures and misadventures.

India-Fiction, Friendship-Fiction                     --Carol Kennedy

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