Author: Antara Ganguli
Publication Date: July 9th 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury India
Part of a Series?: No, A Standalone
I Got A Copy Through: Bloomsbury India (THANK YOU!)
Buy Links: Flipkart || Amazon IN
Blurb Description: Last night there was a snowstorm that made my window disappear. I woke up gasping at the heater. This is my first letter in three years. First letter since I left Pakistan. First letter since Nusrat.
Tanya Tania is a story about two young women coming of age in two countries that are coming of age. Tanya Talati in Karachi and Tania Ghosh in Bombay, daughters of college best friends, write to each other of what cannot be said to anyone else: a mother who has gone from quiet to silent, sex that has become a weapon, a servant with unforgettably soft hands and a country beginning to play with religion. When Tanya's brother receives a kidnapping threat, she sets in motion what no one could have predicted, least of all Tania, who finds herself alone in a forbidden bazaar in Bombay, listening to the sounds of a riot torn city coming closer and closer and closer . . .
Written in letters that span six years, Tanya Tania is a story of what it means to be between childhood and adulthood at a time when two countries are struggling with what it means to be Indian and Pakistani, rich and poor, confident and lonely. A story of love between girls, between families and between countries, Tanya Tania, is, at its heart, a love story about what it means to be human.
I’m Indian. My grandparents moved from the region of India that is now called Pakistan during the partition in India into India and Pakistan.
Pakistan was the country the Muslims demanded for their own religious freedom, and the Hindus along with others following different religions that happened to be living in their promised region were sent out. My family was one of these families.
Reading Tanya Tania was like learning all about my history; all about how different and yet how similar my life could have been, were we still living there. That sounds selfish, now, so how about I stop talking about me and start talking about what this book is ACTUALLY about.
Tania Ghosh lives in Mumbai, with her rich family, boy and popularity problems. Her boyfriend doesn’t publicly acknowledge their relationship, her best friend is a mute girl who also happens to be hired to wash her clothes for her and her parents never seem to do anything but fight and want her to be her older brother.
Tanya lives in Pakistan, but her entire life is about the day she leaves, and goes back home. College in America, that’s the dream. Harvard. In the meantime, she is trying to cope with her mother that fades away more every day, her twin brother and father that are always absent and refuse to acknowledge that there is anything wrong, her boyfriend doesn’t care, and everybody around her is receiving death threats.
Tanya Tania is all about two teenage girls, and their journey into adulthood.
For there is nothing simple about GROWING UP anymore; nothing simple about growing up female in countries where feminism is oppressed. There is nothing simple about growing up in a world where what SOCIETY tells you you’re supposed to do is more important that what YOU want to do.
Tanya Tania is a story, told through a bunch of letters to explain the complex lives of two ordinary girls, and it is GORGEOUS.
It is everything you might be going through, it is everything you might go through in the future, and it’s told in a SUCH heart-warming, you will forever want to stay immersed in there two lives.
What I LOVED about Tanya Tania:
1. ALL THE DEEP THINGS: EVERY SINGLE PAGE OF THIS BOOK HAD SOMETHING DEEP GOING ON. Depression, Sex and Consent, RELIGION, Standing Up To Your Parents, How Much It Matter If People Like You, AND EVERYTHING WAS HANDLED GORGEOUSLY. I was particularly happy with how much sex was talked about in this book – about what sex means as a teenager, the pressure to JUST GET IT OVER WITH, and how it’s always the GIRL that is the slut when it all comes out.
2. THE HONEST VOICES: Tanya and Tania had these unflinching voices, raw voices that embodied the thoughts of all teenage girls when it comes to boys, sex, college, parents and just what to do with themselves. It felt like I was reading something I would write on a piece of paper, and I LOVE THAT FEELING.
What I Didn’t Love about Tanya Tania:
1. That Abrupt Ending: I know this is a story about LIFE, and that the ending of this book shouldn’t have been tied up in a pretty bow, BUT I REALLY NEEDED IT. It felt like all Tanya had accomplished was that she managed to move away and live the American Dream, but nothing about her PERSONALLY had been resolved. She never spoke to her parents about being the invisible one, never spoke to her brother about any of it. It was heart-breaking and she deserved a better ending.
2. The Names: AGAIN, I know, a symbolic/ publicity stunt, but for the first few letters, I WAS SO CONFUSED about which girl was writing to which. SIGH.
All in all, a book DEFINITELY worth your time, with the most unflinching thoughts on what it is to grow up today.
What books accurately represent your country or religion? I'm dying to read more books that accurately give me insight into different cultures, and I'm looking for recs!
ALSO, which books have helped you through a hard time?
Please do link me up! I'll be catching up on comments this weekend!