This self-deprecating, honest and humorous collection of essays was an eye-opening and reflective piece of writing sharing the experience of a self-proclaimed “brown girl” growing up as an “outsider” in Canada. I was lucky to receive this advanced reader copy through a Goodreads Giveaway and am sharing an honest review! The Cover is unique and part of the title is stroked out with a thick black mark which caused my son to puzzle over the title: One Day
We’ll All Be Dead and none of This Will Matter.
The book begins with an essay on the author’s fear of flying. She is traveling with her partner who, for an unspecified reason, she calls Hamhock (check out the link if you are curious what he looks like – i was)! This story lays the frame work of her experience with worrying about things that she cannot control and her anxiety which she has learned from her father who has a special ability to worry and make Scaachi feel guilty all at the same time! It is clear how much her parents love and adore her as they try to keep her safe.
She shares an honest account of growing up, in Calgary, with immigrant parents. She was the only “brown girl” in elementary school. She highlights her differences, spending a great deal of time describing how she deals with her hair – appreciating the thick flowing locks on her head and fighting the persistent body hair (including her painful experiences with waxing). Incidentally, after finishing the book, I found that she is a beautiful woman after reviewing her website.
I laughed out loud as she described a change room experience whens he got stuck in a skirt. She had found the perfect, on sale skirt at the end of the season. The manager had not recognized that she had previously worked in the store until…. the zipper became blocked and … she had to be cut out! That might be a nightmare for many women yet she has the reader in stitches at her own expense.
Koul describes her visits to India where she also feels out of place. She attends the wedding of her cousin which is a multi-day experience. She travels with her family and experiences life steeped in culture and tradition far removed from her Canadian ways.
The most impactful chapter described her experience in university and a discussion about rape culture. This is a chapter that I will want my own daughter to read and consider when she gets older. She describes calculating men who watch for and encourage women to have too much to drink so that they make poor decisions. She shares a story of having something added to her drink. She realized that she was feeling unwell and collapsed in a bathroom. Another woman helped her to get home safely in a cab, saving her from a predator who did not even know her name. She even tells of a time when a bartender added something to her drink! It is scary to think of the risks for young women yet highlights the importance of making good decisions and being careful.
I appreciate the opportunity to read this giveaway. It has helped me to pause and reflect on the writer’s experience. She has struggled with diverging cultures yet shares her stories openly and with great wit. It makes me curious to know what her parents think of the essays and her experiences? While I am sure that they are proud, they must have been shocked to read that she ended up in such dangerous situations!
This is a great collection of essays that can be read as a collection or separately. Although the author is clearly younger than I am, I can imagine that young women will be able to identify and learn from her experience… as they laugh and identify with her tales!