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Pashmina Paperback – 19 Apr 2018
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About the Author
Nidhi Chanani was born in Kolkata, India, and raised in Southern California. She holds a degree in literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She creates illustrations that capture the love in everyday moments. In 2012, she was honoured at the White House as a Champion of Change for her art. Her illustrations are sold in boutiques along the West Coast, and she has worked with companies such as Disney and Hasbro. Nidhi lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband, daughter, and two cats. This is her first graphic novel.
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This beautiful graphic novel was a delight to read. The art is the cutest ever, not to mention enchanting; while the plot itself was empowering!
Pashmina follows the life of Priyanka Das; a teenager to a single mother, who is now slowly starting to question her identity and the identity of others in her life; the past of her mother and the foundations of her family India – questions that aren’t being answered by her mother; questions that leave her confused and irritated.
But when she accidentally finds a pashmina shawl that belonged to her mother; things take a weird yet wonderful turn.
Priyanka is quite easy to relate – a teenager who is frustrated, believes that her art isn’t worthy, her classmates bully her and her favorite uncle; a pseudo dad in fact is having a baby girl, undoubtedly replacing her! But it is when she visits India, her journey that she learns the importance of the freedom she has had her whole life, and how loved she actually is.
The artist/author has done a wonderful job of illustrating the story; especially giving a divide when Priyanka adorns the Pashmina Shawl, with the art going into full color mode and it was absolutely striking.
A graphic novel in itself tends to be a short read; but Pashmina has a strong message in its storyline and it was a very enjoyable read! Can’t wait to see what this artist and author does next!
The fact that this was a graphic novel only made me want to read it more, and when a lovely book fairy from HarperCollins sent out an email asking if I would like to read it, I JUMPED. I LOVE diverse books, and I especially LOVE diverse books with brown protagonists. (and on the cover, no less!)
I read the entirety of Pashmina in under an hour and I quite loved it.
Let’s break it down:
I WAS SO SOLD ON WHAT THIS BOOK WAS BASED ON. I absolutely love travelling my own country and coming across these hidden jewels of places and the FOOD here is ABSOLUTELY delicious. This book combined the complicatedness of a mother-daughter relationship, with the understanding of one’s identity and home and all it the form of adorable graphics and I LOVED IT!
WRITING AND ILLUSTRATIONS:
Both of these were absolutely spectacular, the illustrations in particular. I feel like graphic novels are SO SO underrated and this book, with its adorable Indian food, the elephant, the peacock and the female power was all kinds of brilliant. There wasn’t much writing, and I focused more on the illustrations, though.
Here’s where it got a little trick for me, and the reason I’m not rating this book with 5 stars: THE TIMELINES WERE VAGUE. I don’t mean that this book wasn’t told in a non-linear style, because it WAS, it’s just that things in the book kept JUMPING AHEAD WITH NO WARNING. Or flashing back with no warning.
- The novel, in the beginning kept jumping between days and occasions with NO WARNING. It would be the end of one day and with no “A few days later,” or “A few months later,” it jumped between Diwali, the birth of a baby, submitting and winning a contest and I WAS CONFUSED.
- I also feel like the conclusion about the Pashmina and the Goddess Shakthi were also vague (or too complicated) and it could definitely have been done in a better, clearer fashion.
Pashmina, and especially the illustrations inside were ultra-cute (YES for diverse books with lots of food in them) and I would definitely recommend it. I just wish there were certain plot points that were explained in a clearer manner. 4 stars.
Brilliant art novel! its gorgeous and a must buy according to me!
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