My Basmati Bat Mitzvah

Finished My Basmati Bat Mitzvah by Paula J. Friedman.  I received a copy from the publisher for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

During the fall leading up to her bat mitzvah, Tara (Hindi for “star”) Feinstein has a lot more than her Torah portion on her mind. Between Hebrew school and study sessions with the rabbi, there doesn’t seem to be enough time to hang out with her best friend Ben-o–who might also be her boyfriend–and her other best friend, Rebecca, who’s getting a little too cozy with that snotty Sheila Rosenberg. Not to mention working on her robotics project with the class clown Ryan Berger, or figuring out what to do with a priceless heirloom sari that she accidentally ruined. Amid all this drama, Tara considers how to balance her Indian and Jewish identities and what it means to have a bat mitzvah while questioning her faith.

There are a lot of comparisons to Judy Blume’s classic Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret.  While this book isn’t quite up to that standard, it’s very sweet and fun.

I love Tara and her desire to be true to both sides of her heritage, even when it seems like they’re at odds.  She isn’t necessarily sold on the idea of having a bat mitzvah, but it gets even worse when it seems like it’ll be a big step away from her Indian heritage.

I know a bit about Judaism and very little about Indian culture or its faiths (typically Islam or Hindu, depending).  Probably my favorite part about reading this was learning more about both.  (My second favorite part was everything else.)

And, of course, there are also friend and boy issues.

This book is absolutely delightful.  I wish I had read it much earlier than I did.  (I had hoped my major delay would have meant that the author had written more books, but apparently not.)



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