[Review] Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani, A Great Short Story About Discovering Your Roots and Appreciating Your Family

Hey guys! So I just realized this review never made it to the blog and I thought I’d change that. Why now? Well this month OWLS is talking about some heartwarming stuff and I decided I’d talk about family and even though my post isn’t up until the 16th, I thought this book would be nice as a precursor to that post

Pashmina is a story about a girl named Priyanka, a half Indian, half American teen who finds a Pashmina that transports her to India. In love with the visions she sees, she insists with her mother that she should go to India to visit, not knowing how much it hurts her mother to even think about the place she left in her youth

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In terms of the art, Pashmina is a little different compared to other comics. For one, it switches between being monochrome (purple tint) and full color, a nice touch that helps emphasis fantasy and reality in the story. Whenever Priyanka puts on the Pashmina, the India she visits is all in color and looks like something from a dream. To me that emphasises how ignorant she is about what is India, but also it’s not something she should be faulted for as she’s never visited and her mother doesn’t talk too much about the “bad” side (which every culture has, it’s not all just nice). But it also emphasizes how vibrant she thinks her culture is

Aside from the art playing an important role in the whole book, I also really enjoyed the language. The grammar isn’t perfect but it just emphasizes how someone who learned English later in life would speak. It was never hard to read and it reminded me of my own family and the people I grew up around. It’s just a tiny little element but I found it really brought this book that extra push it needed

If there was anything I had to be nitpicky about it would be the whole secrecy about India but that’s not really to make the story better. That’s just something personal. As someone who grew up with stories about my parents in Mexico, their struggles, and the pain, I felt it was very sad that Priyanka and her mother never had that communication. Even now my mother still shares stories of her childhood and they’re not all happy. I think that Priyanka would have been more understanding, not just of her culture, but her family if this had happened. Still, I really enjoyed how she decides to travel out to India and experience the differences for herself (plus, it made her closer to her mother and that’s always a major plus)

Also, as someone who was sent out to Mexico since I was a child for the summers (for years), it was a little hard to really get how Priyanka felt when she first went out to India and found it completely different from what she expected, but I did understand. I’ve never gone to India but from what the book showed us, it has it’s similarities to Mexico and Mexico (not the cities) are very different from the US. They have their own beauty but if you’re used to living a certain way, it can be a bit of a culture shock

Aside from a story of discovering her roots, Pashmina also touches on topics like bullying, being a first generation American, the clash between cultures and generations, and language struggles (among other things). We also get a glimpse of how different it is in India and what matters out there (versus what we think matters). And putting aside the whole culture stuff, Priyanka is just a really relatable teenager!

Even though this is about an Indian American protagonist learning more about her Indian roots, I think anyone who has mixed heritage can relate and appreciate. I certainly loved it and ended up rating it a 5/5 on Goodreads

You can find Pashmina on Amazon from $10 – $16 depending on the format you’d like (I know I need to add this to my stacks soon)

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