America for Beginners

America for Beginners Review

Pival Sengupta has done something she never expected: she has booked a trip with the First Class India USA Destination Vacation Tour Company. But unlike other upper-class Indians on a foreign holiday, the recently widowed Pival is not interested in sightseeing. She is traveling thousands of miles from Kolkota to New York on a cross-country journey to California, where she hopes to uncover the truth about her beloved son, Rahi. A year ago Rahi devastated his very traditional parents when he told them he was gay. Then, Pival’s husband, Ram, told her that their son had died suddenly—heartbreaking news she still refuses to accept. Now, with Ram gone, she is going to America to find Rahi, alive and whole or dead and gone, and come to terms with her own life.

Arriving in New York, the tour proves to be more complicated than anticipated. Planned by the company’s indefatigable owner, Ronnie Munshi—a hard-working immigrant and entrepreneur hungry for his own taste of the American dream—it is a work of haphazard improvisation. Pival’s guide is the company’s new hire, the guileless and wonderfully resourceful Satya, who has been in America for one year—and has never actually left the five boroughs. For modesty’s sake Pival and Satya will be accompanied by Rebecca Elliot, an aspiring young actress. Eager for a paying gig, she’s along for the ride, because how hard can a two-week "working" vacation traveling across America be?

Slowly making her way from coast to coast with her unlikely companions, Pival finds that her understanding of her son—and her hopes of a reunion with him—are challenged by her growing knowledge of his adoptive country. As the bonds between this odd trio deepens, Pival, Satya, and Rebecca learn to see America—and themselves—in different and profound new ways.

Title:America for Beginners

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    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Thomas

    4 starsThis is a fictional story of Pival Sengupta, a wealthy widow from Kolkata, India. Her husband Ram has been dead for several months and she decides to go to the United States, ostensibly to take...

  • Rohan

    America for Beginners is an extraordinary debut by Leah Franqui. Once I finished the book, it gave me a tremendous sense of lightness and hope. It is something I wanted from a book for a while as I st...

  • Faith

    Recently widowed Pival Sengupta is 60 and has never left Kolkata. Her late husband Ram had told her that their son Rahi died in Los Angeles but Pavil never really accepted the news and now she is plan...

  • Celia

    America for Beginners is the first novel written by Leah Franqui. It has many fine points, but also some disappointments along the way. The book is billed as a travel story where Pival Sangupta, recen...

  • Allie

    I gave this book my sincere attention for around 30 pages before it started losing my interest. It was at this point that I realized why, after a while, the pages started feeling so laborious to get t...

  • Carole

    What a curious and complex cast of characters Leah Frangui created for her debut novel. A wealthy but naive widow from Kolkata with a Bangladeshi immigrant posing as an Indian tour guide and a feisty ...

  • Julia Kardon

    Pival Sengupta has never left Kolkata when she books a trip to America with an Indian travel company, but nothing in this road trip novel is exactly what it seems. Starting with the trip, which has a ...

  • Kate Olson

    Thanks to William Morrow and TLC Book Tours for this free review copy!.What a heartwarming and eye opening view of the US from an foreigner's perspective ~ I learned so much about my own country durin...

  • Wendy

    Stirring and touching, “America for Beginners” which I won through Goodreads Giveaways begins when recently widowed Pival Sengupta a Bengali woman who has never travelled outside her home in Kolka...

  • Vivek Tejuja

    Now, I have read a lot of books about immigrants and their lifestyles and what happens when you move countries or come to America, as they say. But this is not a story of an immigrant. In fact, it is ...