I grabbed Nikita Lalwani’s Gifted from my local library’s fall sale. The cover appealed to me and I checked the blurb at the back and it resonated. I added it to my list of books to read as I research setting my story partly in India and partly in the US. I read the book over two days. The story starts promising with our typical Indian parents finding out that their child is gifted. As I read and followed along Rumika Vasi’s journey into adulthood, I ached for the childhood gone missing. I ached with her as she battles her demons alone. I ache for her parents who pour everything into her. As Mahesh ponders how to celebrate a momentous occasion and comes up short, I paused and nodded. This was a feeling I could relate to.
The prose is haunting. It is reminiscent of the lush, verdant prose of God of Small Things. I love how Lalwani weaves her tale juxtaposing elements of nature and the inner desolation Rumi feels. The description of journeys literal and metaphorical are beautiful. Certain parts feel like they drag and you are not sure why certain characters are introduced only to disappear. But those are minor irritants in what is otherwise a poignant coming of age tale.
Looking to read something a little bit offbeat. Wonder what it is like to be the child of driven immigrant parents? Pick Gifted. Solid, satisfying read.