Book Review

Born Confused. Tanuja Desai Hidier

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Main Characters

Dimple Lala, an American born Indian girl, struggles with her family and respecting their traditional Indian customs, starting/maintaining relationships, keeping up with schoolwork, and communicating with her best friend, Gwyn, despite Gwyn’s time-consuming schedule. Gwyn is a rich white girl, and people often think of her as a model. “…lunchbox purse in one hand, shades atop a shiny blond chignoned head…” “She was in a tight black tank studded with a heart within a heart, and as she reared up she fluttered the air before her with a big silver envelope…” If Gwyn isn’t with her best friend Dimple, she’s with her boyfriend, or if they are not together anymore, she is trying to get the attention of a another guy.

I really like the way the characters worked together in Hidier’s book. They were often creating exciting or depressing changes of events, leaving you rooting for a certain character. I also like the way Hidier paired up two completely different people as best friends, from two completely different backgrounds, yet their friendship is successful, and you’re encouraged to keep reading to see what happens to them as they work out their differences.

The Story...

Rising Action: After Dimple suffers from a year-long breakup, then another breakup a little while after, Dimple's parents decide it is time for her to be with a "suitable boy." Dimple's mother meets a good friend of hers from India, and she realizes that they live nearby - and she has a son around Dimple's age. So, Dimple's parents set up a dinner for them at Dimple's house, where the two meet each other.

As it turns out, Dimple doesn't seem to like Karsh, the boy. She tells her best friend Gwyn about him, and how she doesn't like him, but her parents wanted her to. Gwyn was also suffering from a breakup over a boy who had been cheating on her, so, at a party, Gwyn talks to Karsh, and the two quickly become a couple. Dimple becomes broken-hearted; she had just started to appreciate him.

Climax: Gwyn and Karsh's relationship develop, which causes complications between Dimple and Gwyn, and their friendship suffers

Falling Action: Gwyn is still mad at Dimple, and tells her that she still needs more time away from each other. She also confesses that Karsh broke up with her, because of his feelings for Dimple. Dimple realizes that she can be extremely overjoyed and hurt at the same time. Karsh and Dimple quickly meet up at a party, and Dimple cries when she sees him. She was so glad to see him, and Karsh confesses his love for her. At the same party, Gwyn comes and expresses her sorrow for how she had treated Dimple lately, and the two quickly become best friends once more.

As writers from Seventeen magazine said, this book is "Complicated, chaotic, and absolutely charming."


Bubbly (happy, energetic)

Overcomers (5 breakups)

Realistic (could happen)

Nutty (things you wouldn't think work together do - Dimple/Gwyn's friendship)

Creative (original)

Outrageous (things aren't always what you expect)

Nice relationships (romance)

Funny (some things are humorous)

Unique (one-of-a kind)

Suspenseful (you don't know what's going to happen)

Exciting (makes you want to keep reading)
Dynamic (busy)


This book uses some words that are complex, making it hard to understand at certain times. However, it is language you would hear on a daily basis, it's not old-fashioned like some books.

"He radiated, a strongly open window; there was a tenacity to his fragility, a commitment to remain porous was clear to me now. " (444)

"A metallic smell of flesh hit me like a knife slid from sinew as I turned the corner." (438)

"I was heading farther west with each step, and the area was becoming more desolate." (438)

"The birds had just begun their day; the ground sparkled dropped diamonds and an expectant hush hung over everything, like a bridal dress rustling on a rack." (450)

The book also uses some foreshadowing, for example:

"It seemed a perfect finish: a cup of coffee and a nighttime kitchen. But little did I know the night had just begun."

Opinions - Not the Facts

This book was overall a good read, however, it was hard to follow at certain times. For example, it made a few Indian references, such as Indian names, foods, and traditions, and language. I know little about Indian culture, so I didn't understand a small part of the book. It was also hard to follow dialogue at times, because the author used hyphens (-) to show dialogue.

For example:

when Dimple says, "I don't know where he is," the author instead typed

-I don't know where he is. (Next line:)


This is something I would change in this book, because I have never known about replacing quotes from dialogue with hyphens. I sometimes had to assume who in the book was speaking at a given time.