Book: You Bring The Distant Near by Mitali Perkins
Published September 2017 by Farrar, Straus And Giroux|320 pages
Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library
Genre: YA Contemporary
Five girls. Three generations. One great American love story. You Bring the Distant Near explores sisterhood, first loves, friendship, and the inheritance of culture–for better or worse. Ranee, worried that her children are losing their Indian culture; Sonia, wrapped up in a forbidden biracial love affair; Tara, seeking the limelight to hide her true self; Shanti, desperately trying to make peace in the family; Anna, fighting to preserve Bengal tigers and her Bengali identity–award-winning author Mitali Perkins weaves together a sweeping story of five women at once intimately relatable and yet entirely new.
I really liked this book! I’ve heard really good things about her books, and I happened to be browsing e-books on Overdrive, and knew I had to read it when I saw it.
I really liked seeing how connected all three generations of women were. The multi-generational aspect shows up more in adult fictions, at least in my experience. I really liked seeing it in YA, and I’m hoping we’ll see more multi-generational stories in YA in the future.
I really liked seeing how different all of them were, but being family really connected them in a way that we wouldn’t have seen otherwise. I thought Ranee was the most interesting- she really embraced American culture while still holding on to her Indian culture. I really liked Anna as well, especially with her relationship with Ranee. Anna really seemed disappointed that Ranee became an American citizen, and started adopting American customs and dress, but she still loves Ranee no matter what.
Something else that I absolutely loved was that they all identified as Bengali, but that there was no one way to be Bengali. Each woman had their flaws but also their strengths, and they all had their own experiences with who they were and their own place in the world.
I will admit that the shift to Ranee was sudden, when the book, to that point, focused more on her daughters. But I also liked that the book shifted to her because seeing more of her story really brought the stories of her daughters and granddaughters into focus.
I really appreciated the look at how to blend two different cultures- holding onto the culture of the place you grew up in while also trying to blend in and assimilate to a new culture. I really liked seeing this aspect of immigration, and how moving to a different country can really change things.
I didn’t enjoy Chantal and Anna’s chapters as much as Sonia and Tara’s chapters, but I still liked them a lot, and how they still dealt with some of the things their mothers and grandmother did. I loved the focus on family and family relationships and how much those family relationships can change over decades.
4 stars. I didn’t love You Bring The Distant Near, but I did really enjoy it, and I think it offers something you don’t see a lot of in YA. I loved the family and their relationships with each other.