Read advance reader review of America for Beginners by Leah Franqui, page 3 of 4

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America for Beginners

by Leah Franqui

America for Beginners by Leah Franqui X
America for Beginners by Leah Franqui
  • Critics' Opinion:

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  • First Published:
    Jul 2018, 320 pages

    Jul 2019, 320 pages


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Page 3 of 4
There are currently 23 member reviews
for America for Beginners
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  • Carolyn L. (New York, NY)
    Enjoyable Read
    Characters in the book remind you of individuals that you encounter in life - real and relatable. Enjoyable read.
  • Frances N. (San Francisco, CA)
    A charmer
    This is a sweet story of a widow coming to America to discover what lured her son there. She is accompanied by a guide and a chaperone and despite (and because of) their differences, they all change and form new bonds and new lives. Only a heartless person would not shed a tear at the conclusion.
  • Kathryn H. (Narvon, PA)
    Hero Takes a Journey
    Road trip! One Indian widow, one out-of-work Jewish actress and one Bangladeshi tour guide take a whirlwind tour of America going from New York City to Niagara Falls, Philadelphia, Washington, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas and ending up in L.A. Culture shock experiencing America and culture shock for the group experiencing each other. I was curious as to how the author could bridge the cultures with authenticity and found she has a Jewish -Puerto Rican heritage and her husband was born in Kolkata. (

    Having been to most of the places visited, I enjoyed seeing them through other eyes. I had a hard time imaging doing all this in two weeks, but I know it is possible. The descriptions of each place seemed quite accurate. But obviously, that is just the background for how the group interacts and struggles to understand each other and to understand themselves. This is especially true of Pival, who is also on a spiritual journey of her own unbeknownst to the others. The characters were realistic, well drawn and believable. Perhaps a little slow in the beginning, the book is somewhere between light fiction and literature. I would suggest it for those interested in exploring different viewpoints and other cultures.
  • Carole S. (Whittier, NC)
    America for Beginners
    I enjoyed, America For Beginners, and found it to be a pleasant and satisfying read. Traveling across America together are 3 people from completely different cultural backgrounds. Their friendships and clashes lead them each to an awakening of who they are, what they want and how to find satisfaction and happiness. The book is emotional, but still an easy read infused with humor. Having spent time in India only made this story more charming to me.
  • Catheryne Z. (Plano, TX)
    Interesting Road Trip
    America for Beginners was an interesting, well written read. A wealthy Indian widow, a young male tour guide from a lower caste, and a struggling actress find themselves on a two week journey across America from New York City to Los Angeles. They each have different backgrounds and struggles. The author does a great job developing their back stories that explain how they got to this point. The book had me laughing at some parts and crying at others. Their different perspectives on their experiences were interesting. Despite their initial differences, they were able to eventually relate to each other. I felt empathy for all three characters. This book would be an enjoyable book club read. Readers of all ages and backgrounds would enjoy it as well.
  • Peggy A. (Morton Grove, IL)
    Mash up: Lost in Translation and Road Trip
    Reading this book was a fun and enlightening romp through cultural differences played out on a wide cross country landscape. Leah Franqui developed each of the three diverse characters into fully realized narrative individuals...each with their own backstory and evolving destinies. I enjoyed picking up this book and following their adventures as a mismatched threesome who came together for a brief time. The writing was clever and at the same time insightful. Looking forward to more good books from this debut author!
  • Celia P. (Melbourne, FL)
    A Slow Start Does Lead to a Satisfying Ending
    America for Beginners is the first novel written by Leah Franqui. It has many fine points, but also some disappointments along the way. The book is billed as a travel story where Pival Sangupti, recently widowed, is visiting America from India to find her estranged son. Before we get to traveling, however, the reader has to endure 110 pages of backstory on the many characters who would contribute to this journey. I kept saying 'enough', let's get to the traveling. I did enjoy the tour and how the widow interacted with her guide and her traveling companion. The guide, Satya, is a fledgling tour guide; aha, America for Beginners. The companion, Rebecca, is an out of work actress who hasn't traveled much beyond NYC; once again America for Beginners. And Pival is the rawest beginner of them all. The book ended well and somewhat erased its bad beginning. I guardedly do recommend it for its few poignant scenes and its ending which summed up everything very satisfactorily.

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