Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged family

The Disappearance of Irene Dos Santos

The Disappearance of Irene Dos Santos is an elaborate story of two childhood friends, Lily and Irene. Despite their differences, Lily Martinez, who comes from a middle class family, and Irene Dos Santos, who comes from a wealthier family, quickly become friends while attending a private school together in Caracas, Venezuela. Irene is "the controller in their society of two." She introduces Lily to her first boyfriend and teaches her how to French kiss.

Kanchivaram: A Communist Confession

There are two times in a Hindu's life when one is supposed to wear silk: at one’s wedding and at one’s own funeral. In the village of Kanchivaram (Kanchipuram), the silk weavers are only ever able to have enough silk to tie the toes of the dead together, and no daughter of a weaver has ever worn a silk sari on her wedding day. Kanchivaram tells the story of a man of change. Weaving silk for a pittance, as his father did before him, Vengadam wants nothing more than to weave his daughter a silk sari for her wedding day.

A Reliable Wife

A Reliable Wife begins with anticipation. First, there’s the anticipation of Ralph Truitt, the businessman who owns all the large assets of the town, Truitt, which is named for his family. Ralph Truitt waits on the train platform for a train which is late arriving.


Mudbound, the first novel by Hillary Jordan, is all about tension. Race, family, marriage, class, identity are all buzzing, pressing in the narrative, and all of them feed into the greatest tension of all: the classic survival story of man versus nature. The first few pages describe two brothers scrambling to dig a makeshift grave ahead of an impending storm. This scene sets the tone and becomes, in many ways, a vivid metaphor for the entire narrative.

A Narrative Compass: Stories That Guide Women’s Lives

When I read the back cover of A Narrative Compass, I thought it might be something nice to read before going to bed at night, and luckily, I was right. The texts this collection contains are great bedtime stories: attention grabbing, short, and self-contained. Reading it is a little bit like having all of your closest friends over for a gathering to talk about the stories you treasure from your youth, and how they have influenced you.

Old World Daughter, New World Mother

Taking us from her childhood to the present, Maria Laurino explores what it’s like to be an Italian American woman through the lens of identity, feminism, ethnicity, motherhood, pregnancy, and economics in Old World Daughter, New World Mother_. Laurino unveils the restrictions she faced as a feminist daughter, as well as all that a traditionally Italian upbringing entails.

Repeat After Me

Rachel DeWoskin’s debut novel, Repeat After Me, is a cultural love story between two people whose lives briefly intertwine. Afterwards, they are never the same again. The story follows the relationship between a young neurotic ESL teacher in Manhattan, Aysha Silvermintz, and her student, Da Ge, a mysterious, silent, Chinese national who comes to the U.S.

Laughing without an Accent: Adventures of an Iranian American at Home and Abroad

Laughing without an Accent is Firoozeh Dumas’s second book, after her debut memoir Funny in Farsi. Dumas is an Iranian-American who writes about the similarities and differences in Iranian cultures through her own experiences growing up in Iran and America.

Karma Calling

Director Sarba Das has taken the stomach-churning subject of credit card debt and used it as a hilarious plot device in this endearing romp of a screwball romantic comedy. Watching Karma Calling is definitely non-stop farcical fun as the maxed out Raj’s, a Hindu family living above their means in Hoboken, are pestered by credit card call center collectors based in India. Ingenious scenes highlight the absurdity of our hyper-globalized world as the Indian collectors learn how to sound American and choose fake names based on popular American sitcoms.

Free From Lies: Discovering Your True Needs

In her latest study, Free From Lies, famed psychologist Alice Miller examines the way child abuse shapes the psyche and the effect it can have on humanity. While the human brain has an incredible ability to normalize traumatic events, Miller argues that abuses suffered in childhood can never truly be repressed. It appears as though humanity is suffering from a collective amnesia regarding the wrongs we suffered in infancy.

Skunk Girl

Skunk Girl is Sheba Karim’s first novel. It is told from the point of view of sixteen-year-old Nina Khan, self-described as “a Pakistani Muslim girl” and from a small white town in upstate New York. Although published in 2009, the story is set in approximately 1993. In a fast-paced, entertaining read, Nina narrates her life and drama as the only Pakistani and Muslim girl in her high school.


Upon receiving my copy of Vanishing, Candida Lawrence’s writing was relatively new to me. The fourth offering in a series of standalone memoirs, Lawrence’s stories cover various stages in her life, from childhood father-daughter power struggles to marriage and child-rearing to aging. Her writing covers a vast array of life experiences and the resulting emotions.  Lawrence vividly describes experiences that have happened to many other women.

Little Giant of Aberdeen County

The Little Giant of Aberdeen County is Tiffany Baker's debut novel. Wow! How does one follow this work with another novel? The story is set in rural Aberdeen County, where several generations of doctors named Robert Morgans live and practice. Truly Plaice was a baby that stretched her mother to epic proportions. The town watched Mrs. Plaice's pregnancy with relish. Most of the people in town placed bets on the size and weight of the baby.

White on Rice

I have something to admit upfront: comedies really aren’t my bag. I have a strange sense of humor that only seems to come alive with the zaniest of screwball antics and irreverent, satirical banter. Dick and fart jokes, stand-up, and most slices of modern romcom leave me yawning.

Doctor Olaf Van Schuler’s Brain

A thriller that spans five centuries, Doctor Olaf Van Schuler’s Brain is entertaining and thought provoking. Thirteen generations of eccentric New York City doctors navigate genius, madness and morality. This book is eerie, smart, unique, and very delicately crafted, telling many stories in every layer of time. The Van Schulers and Steenwycks are a family of eccentric, genius, medical people, mostly doctors, some more on the fringe than others, some mad.

Shattered Innocence: The Error of Revenge

I was less than impressed with Kimberly Whitner-Hill’s Shattered Innocence: The Error of Revenge. I found this book to be not very well thought out and poorly executed. The first chapter begins with a scene in the life of the main character, Kayla. That scene is never revisited, however, and within two pages the clock is turned back to her father’s childhood.

Reclaiming Feminist Motherhood

In 2003, _The New York Times Magazine _published “The Opt-Out Revolution,” by Lisa Belkin, a now nearly infamous contribution to the never-ending “mommy wars” collection of work. The cover story asserted that the nation’s most educated career women were “opting out” of their professional lives to become full-time stay-at-home moms.

Love Iranian-American Style

Finding love is never easy. But having to deal with what your family expects, especially when it contradicts the current society that you are a part of, makes it that much harder. Tanaz is an Iranian-American woman, who has pursued an education and is now a filmmaker. However, she is 26 years old and unmarried, which is unacceptable in her family’s eyes.

The 3 Marias

The 3 Marias, a gritty 2002 Brazilian film directed by Aluizio Abranches, revisits the age-old theme of revenge, but with a delightful empowering twist. The film opens with haunting opening credits, and the story begins with a rather cryptic yet powerfully operatic scene. The plot then steamrolls forward, introducing the victims of unwelcome murder, and off we go.

And Tango Makes Three

And Tango Makes Three is a simply but beautifully told illustrated children’s book about the real-life story of two male penguins at the New York Central Park Zoo, Roy and Silo, who form a partnership and are given a fertile egg to hatch. And Tango is born. The book doesn’t shy away from using the words “family,” “love,” “daddies” and “couple” to describe Roy and Silo’s pairing and their relationship with their baby chick.

Family Tree

He dotes on his wife while she adores her husband. Both Hugh and Dana Clarke are eagerly awaiting the birth of their first child, but when Lizzie is born, both parents are shocked to see she has Afro-American features, including skin color and hair.

Roar Softly and Carry a Great Lipstick: 28 Women Writers on Life, Sex and Survival

Roar Softly and Carry a Great Lipstick is what you get when you ask twenty-eight opinionated women to share their personal stories; there’s not a wishy-washy essay in the bunch.