Synopsis: During the fall leading up to her bat mitzvah, Tara (Hindi for “star”) Feinstein has a lot more than her Torah portion on her mind. Between Hebrew school and study sessions with the rabbi, there doesn’t seem to be enough time to hang out with her best friend Ben-o–who might also be her boyfriend–and her other best friend, Rebecca, who’s getting a little too cozy with that snotty Sheila Rosenberg. Not to mention working on her robotics project with the class clown Ryan Berger, or figuring out what to do with a priceless heirloom sari that she accidentally ruined. Amid all this drama, Tara considers how to balance her Indian and Jewish identities and what it means to have a bat mitzvah while questioning her faith.
200words (or less) review: My Basmati Bat Mitzvah is a book that just makes you happy while reading it. Tara is such a likable narrator, one of my favourite things about this book were the conversations Tara had at Hebrew school. She as really good questions and is brave enough to ask them.
Paula J. Freedman has written a brilliant book that balances a lot of elements; faith, family, identity, friends and love. I was really pleased to see that Tara’s family clearly loves her and each other. Her grandmother is so entertaining and was my favourite from the beginning.
There is so much to praise in this story, the writing and characters for one but what really struck me is how brilliantly Paula J. Freedman dealt with both cultures and the different backgrounds of Tara’s friends. Personally I learned quite a bit.
This book has such a delightfully refreshing positive outlook, there are struggles and Tara grows from the beginning of the story but what made her so lovable is still there.
I think My Basmati Bat Mitzvah is an excellent book regardless of what age you are.