The not so star spangled life of sunita sen summary

The not so star spangled life of sunita sen summary


Type: literary story

Subject: This teen novel depicts the life of Sunita Sena, a 13 year-old girl of Indian heritage whose grandparents come from India to visit for the year.The reader witnesses Sunita’s transformation from a shy, angry youth to a mature teenager.

Charcters:Sunita Sena, Michael Morrison, Leann Schaefter, Dau, Didu, Mother, grandparents,


Sunita Sen, 13, is a typical California teenager who likes to play tennis, eat pizza, do well in school and really likes Michael Morrison, with whom she has just spent the summer. She also has a best friend since first grade, Liz Grayson, and a riva for Michael’s affections the very flirty LeAnn Schaeffer.Oh, yes and Sunita is an Indian American who has really not given a lot of thought to her Indian heritage.That is, until her grandparents, Dadu and Didu arrived from Kolkata for a year long visit with Sunita and her family.

Suddenly, her professor mother goes from wearing tailored suits and silk shirts to wearing sarees, a red dot on her forehead and red powder stripe in her hair to indicate she is married.She even quits her university job for a year to stay home and cook Indian food for her family.And when she tells Sunita no boys in the house, not even to play ping pong in the basement, she apparently drives Michael right into the arms of LeAnn.Sunita has cut herself off from Michael anyway, not wanting to tell him about her grandparents and thinking he wouldn’t like her Indian family.

As her grandparents settle into the Sen household, Dadu decides to plant an elaborate garden of flowers and vegetables in the backyard, while Didu becomes hooked on American soap operas, in particular, one called Endless Hope, even deciding to participate in the Endless Hope Plot Solution Contest (this is a very funny side-storyline).

But as time goes on, and Sunita misses Michael, and resents his apparent attraction to LeAnn, and as she watches her mother’s attempt to be the perfect Indian daughter for her parents, she becomes angrier and angrier and begins to withdraw from everyone.

Can Sunita learn how to happily be both Indian and American?

The Not-So-Star-Spangled Life of Sunita Sen is what I like to think of as a journey or process novel. The single event, her grandparent’s visit, that brings on the conflict of cultures that Sunita feels is the start of her journey towards understanding who she is.

And Sunita is an interesting character.At first, she is somewhat bratty, pouting, getting angry, and even lashing out at home and school, totally stunning her parents when she finally, angrily, tells her mother what she thinks of everything.But the beauty of coming of age novels, is that there is generally definite positive growth for the main character, and Sunita certainly does grows.

Sunita seems to epitomize the dilemma of adolescents who are standing between cultures and feeling like they must choose one over the other.Feeling confused, lost and alone, she turns to her grandfather for company, gradually realizing how very wise he is about human nature, so that, ironically, it takes this visit from her Indian grandparents to teach Sunita how to embrace both cultures.


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