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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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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.
Jeanne B. (Albuquerque, NM)

Like Reading A Lifetime Movie
I think your appreciation for this book will depend on what you're looking to get out of it. If you want a feel-good, non-demanding story full of kind-hearted characters and happy endings, this is a pleasant, easy read. If a mixture of clichéd plot lines, wooden dialogue and painfully stereotyped scenic descriptions grates on your nerves, I would suggest taking a pass. Sadly, I fell more into the second category. I wanted to lose myself in the story but was repeatedly jarred to my senses by bad writing. I'm probably not the target audience for this book.
Peggy T. (Dallas)

Culture Clash
I finished this yesterday and still have feelings of ambivalence as to whether I really liked this book or not.  The setting of a cross country trip was a good way to bring together these three characters who were as unlike as the situation would allow. It is a good debut novel but personally, I had difficulty with the prejudices of some of the characters.  With time, some of these prejudices were overcome and some were not. The ending was hopeful for the most part but I still felt there was a pervading sense of melancholy even so. It was well written, a good book but it made me a bit sad. Maybe just not my cup of chai.

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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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