Review by Emily Naik
Priyanka, an Indian-American high schooler, is filled with wonder. She wonders why her mother left India. She wonders why her mother never talks about her father, and she wonders if she will ever be able to travel to Rajastran. As Priyanka attempts to connect to her heritage, readers are invited alongside in a journey that helps the protagonist understand her mother and herself. This journey is guided by the goddess, Shakti, and the visions Priyanka experiences when she puts on her Pashmina, a shawl found in a hidden samosa-smelling suitcase. Priyanka’s prayers during puja to Shakti help her reevaluate her desires, while visions from the Pashmina allow her to travel to bright Indian palaces, wear ornate sarees, and eat dosa with coconut chutney.
But what will happen when she finds the answers to her questions? What will happen if India does not live up to these visions?
This multicultural graphic novel reflects the struggle of connecting to a heritage that feels a world away. It shows how Priyanka embraces her Indian culture in California, but yearns for more answers, more family, and more India. The story reveals the complexities of identity formation experienced by American-born children of immigrants.
By Nidhi Chanini
First Second, 2017
Emily is M.Ed. student in English Education, who, like Priyanka, also enjoys a