Thursday, February 18, 2010
Looking for Bapu by Anjali Banerjee
I think I've found my first "treasure" of the year in Looking for Bapu by Anjali Banerjee. I was having a hard time this past weekend. Family stuff. I needed an escape of a book, just a good little story that I could read while soaking in the tub and I had just gone to the library. I picked up this little book with a beautiful cover based on the recommendation of Lu at Regular Rumination and I will be forever grateful to her for that recommendation :) Thank you Lu. I can't tell you how much this little book cheered me up. It's not particularly a happy book. It's a book that deals with death, and a little 8 year old Indian boy searching for answers, for meaning, for healing. It has moments of pure joy, moments of childhood wonder, moments that bring tears to your eyes. I don't know what it is about this book, but it's just magical. This is the story of an eight year old boy named Anu who lives in the US with his Indian family. Neither of his parents embrace their Indian culture. They are not practicing Hindus, they instead encourage Anu to make up his own mind about his own religion as he grows. Anu's grandfather, who he calls Bapu, does embrace his Indian culture though and is very close to Anu. One morning while birdwatching with Anu, Bapu suffers a stroke and dies, leaving eight year old Anu a great deal of guilt that he could not do more to save his grandfather. His grandfather appears to him a couple of times after his death and Anu becomes convinced that he can bring his grandfather back from death. He embraces the Hindu religion and particularly his Bapu's Shiva statue in the hopes that through the religion, he can become holy enough to bring back his grandfather. He gets into trouble with his friends and is made fun of by other children along the way because of his culture and his beliefs. His parents becomes worried and he becomes obsessed. This book is written with a careful hand. And with a caring hand. It is such a beautiful book. So beautiful that I just wanted to hug it at times. It made me laugh aloud at times. It made me tear up at the innocence of eight year old Anu. Banerjee captures it so well. This book is really just special. I don't know what else to say about it. But I so wish everyone would read it. I want to share it with everyone and if I could buy everyone a copy I really would!