Anita and Me by Meera SyalAnita and Me, which has been compared to To Kill a Mockingbird, tells the story of Meena, the daughter of the only Punjabi family in the British village of Tollington. With great warmth and humor, Meera Syal brings to life a quirky, spirited 1960s mining town and creates in her protagonist what the Washington Post calls a “female Huck Finn.” The novel follows nine-year-old Meena through a year spiced with pilfered sweets and money, bad words, and compulsive, yet inventive, lies. Anita and Me offers a fresh, sassy look at a childhood caught between two cultures.
Anita and Me
Sign in. Meena, a year-old living in a mining village in the English Midlands in , is the daughter of Indian parents who've come to England to give her a better life. This idyllic existence is upset by the arrival in the village of Anita Rutter and her dysfunctional family. Anita is 14, blonde and beautiful - exactly what Meena thinks she wants to be. She becomes part of Anita's world, but events do not run smoothly. Meena's growing up - and that brings plenty of changes.
It follows the life of nine-year-old Meena Kumar , the daughter of Indian immigrants, as she attempts to define her personal identity, marked by her Indian background and the small-town, English society in which she grows up. However, she then admits that these are not actually her own memories, but that she enjoys this narrative because it makes her feel connected to her Indian background. She concludes that people like her need to lie about their identity to feel as though they belong somewhere. The narrative then shifts to life in Tollington, as Meena is caught telling a lie to her father. She finally admits that she has indeed taken money from her mother to buy sweets at Mr. Although Meena is close to her parents, who try to give her guidance and support, she often finds herself lying and wanting to rebel. Although this community makes Meena feel loved, it also encourages her to conform to a typical image of an Indian girl: pleasant and polite.
Analysis of important themes and topics
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Anita and Me begins with a lie about a lie. Does her Punjabi heritage make her Indian, or does her preference for fish fingers make her British? Is it right for her to receive presents at Christmas and attend Sunday school without any real notion of Christianity? Of course, these are not unusual conflicts for immigrants to Britain. It is the s. Adding to this trio of social tremors is a slight but unmistakable increase in sexualisation amongst the village youth.