MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Reading guide for America for Beginners by Leah Franqui

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Discuss |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

America for Beginners

by Leah Franqui

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

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jul 2018, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2019, 320 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

  1. "Mrs. Sengupta was traveling scandalously alone, without a husband or a gaggle of women her own age…" Many people in Pival's orbit are shocked by her decision to go to the US by herself. What about a woman—especially an older woman—traveling alone is so alarming to them? Is it really about safety—as Pival's maid insists—or about propriety? Are solo women travelers viewed with the same concern in other cultures?
  2. "Nothing would erase the sense of continued shame" that Satya feels for abandoning his friend Ravi and edging him out of a job. How do you feel about Satya's betrayal of Ravi? Is it understandable or unforgiveable?
  3. Mr. Ghazi sees Rebecca's "early enthusiasm become a hardened fear, and he worried for her." How do you feel about Rebecca's sadness and struggles compared to the sadness and struggles of other characters in the book? What does she, the American-born child of an affluent family, stand to learn from the journey, and from the other "beginners?"
  4. Ronnie Munshi seems to have achieved the American Dream: arriving from Bangladesh with no money, building a successful business, bringing over a wife, and employing other new arrivals. What do you make of him? Is he the picture of a "model immigrant"? What about the Iranian immigrant Mr. Ghazi?
  5. Bhim calls himself "the ice queen" because he is so painfully unaffectionate with Jake in public. Jake "thought that Bhim was determined to live in a way his parents would approve of, despite the fact that they would never know it."  Why can't Bhim just be out and proud in this new gay-friendly country? How do Jake and Bhim navigate Bhim's deep sense of shame and keep it from destroying their love?
  6. Pival reflects that "at home Bangladeshis had no status. They did the worst jobs, if they had jobs at all. They were illegal immigrants with no rights and no names, just men who melted into the background and women who looked hungry all the time." Because of this stigma, Ronnie Munshi is desperate to ensure that none of his Indian clients know he and his guides are Bangladeshi. Does this distinction between Bangladeshis and Indians matter in America? Do "illegal immigrants" in America face the same stigma as those Bangladeshis in India?
  7. Pival reflects that "I do think most parents at the heart, want their children to be happy. It is only that we want our children to be happy in the right way. The way we were taught that happiness was. I think this is a cause of much pain, thinking, perhaps, that there is a right way." Would Bhim agree? Would Rebecca, who has her own fraught relationship with her parents?
  8. Did you think that Bhim might still be alive, and be reunited with his mother? Why or why not?
  9. As a college student, before her marriage, Pival describes herself as "young, alive with purpose." Does she regain her purpose by the end of the novel? How does Pival, the widow and bereaved mother in America, compare to Pival the miserable, voiceless wife in Kolkata?
  10. "When she woke, the first thought Pival had was, What happens next?" What do you think happens next for these characters? Where will they be five or ten years after the end of this novel?


Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of William Morrow Paperbacks. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for a year or $39 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Orange World and Other Stories
    by Karen Russell
    Karen Russell has a tremendous gift for crafting uncanny, through-the-looking glass worlds that are ...
  • Book Jacket: The Book of Longings
    The Book of Longings
    by Sue Monk Kidd
    The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd follows the life of Ana, a woman born in the Galilean city of ...
  • Book Jacket: Master Class
    Master Class
    by Christina Dalcher
    Christina Dalcher's Master Class shows America sleepwalking into a perfectionist eventuality not ...
  • Book Jacket: How to Pronounce Knife
    How to Pronounce Knife
    by Souvankham Thammavongsa
    Many examples of immigrant fiction dedicate a portion of their storytelling to exploring details of ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Prisoner's Wife
    by Maggie Brookes

    Inspired by the true story of a courageous young woman who enters a Nazi POW camp to be with the man she loves.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Daughter of the Reich
    by Louise Fein

    A spellbinding story of impossible love set against the backdrop of the Nazi regime.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Paris Hours
by Alex George

One day in the City of Light. One night in search of lost time.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win The House on Fripp Island

The House on Fripp Island
by Rebecca Kauffman

A taut, page-turning novel of secrets and strife.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

B I T T Water

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.