Reader reviews and comments on America for Beginners, plus links to write your own review.

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America for Beginners

by Leah Franqui

America for Beginners by Leah Franqui X
America for Beginners by Leah Franqui
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  • First Published:
    Jul 2018, 320 pages
    Jul 2019, 320 pages


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There are currently 29 reader reviews for America for Beginners
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Power Reviewer
Sylvia G. (Scottsdale, AZ)

Engaging debut novel
What an appealing book. Three unique and sympathetic characters take a trip across America with multicultural confusions and prejudices that slowly are overcome by compassion and friendship. A pleasure to read.
Lynne Z

Intriguing Characters
Franqui’s characters in America for Beginners are cleverly created and developed. The story explores many interesting themes such as class, prejudice, parental expectations and cultural differences. Each character had problems but grew and changed in some way during the course of the book. I like a book that doesn’t tidy up everything in the end and leaves me wondering what’s next. A very enjoyable read.
Power Reviewer
Diane S.

America for beginners
Yes!! I made it out of Las Vegas. Kind of an inside joke, with apologies to those who loved book:The Goldfinch|17333223, but I always say when referring to that book that I never made it out of Vegas. That's where I laid that book aside.

Pival from Kolkata is going to America to try to find her son. Told by her husband after her son's sexual orientation was revealed, that he was dead. Now her husband is the one who is dead and Pival, for once is going to find out the truth. Three unlikely characters will find themselves in each other's company, which leads to some comedic moments. Touring the different sites on the travel itenary, allows the reader to visit for the first time or revisit some great sites. Some I had been to, some not.

Along the way they find self confidence, some answers to their different questions, and find out the importance of friendship. The themes of family, prejudice and immigration make this not only an interesting read but a timely one. A debut novel and one well worth reading.

ARC from bookbrowse.
Dorothy Minor

Seeing America With Fresh Eyes
Pival Sengupta, a widow, plans an extensive tour of the US, starting in NY and ending in CA. Satya, her tour guide and Rebecca, her companion, are unaware of her motives for the tour and are surprised by her changing the plans once they reach CA. All of the characters are struggling with their own losses, life difficulties, and pains. They keep much of their own pain to themselves, but occasionally, they allow their traveling companions glimpses into their real selves.
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.

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America for Beginners
by Leah Franqui

A poignant debut that explores unlikely friendships forged in unusual circumstances.

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