Review | May Thrifty Books | The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

I like the Thrifty Books box because it’s pretty darn affordable and it’s introduced me to some great books. I pre-paid for a year and it came out to just over $17 per box including shipping, which is on the lower end compared to other book boxes. You can read reviews of past Thrifty Books boxes here.

The box consists of a literary fiction book, a bag of coffee (or I believe you can choose tea as well), and a newsletter. There’s also access to an online book club for subscriber’s eyes only. Exciting stuff.

Let me tell you one thing about this subscription: If you, like me, are an always-early, punctuality-obsessed person, then you will appreciate that the curator of Thrifty Books always gets these boxes out very early in the month. In fact, I just received June’s box on June 3rd. Nice showing, curator. I like that about you!

The Namesake book cover.jpgNow, the book: The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahir. Can someone please explain to me what I’ve been doing in the 14 years since this book was released that was more important than reading it?

I read Interpreter of Maladies years ago when I was doing my Pulitzer challenge. In my review I said, “I feel pretty confident that I could read this woman’s short stories exclusively for the rest of my life and be quite happy,” which you’d think would cue me in to read everything else she’d ever written, yes?

Look – – if you haven’t figured it out by now, this book is incredible. One of my top five books I’ve ever read, maybe? It had all the things I want in it: Believable, flawed characters that I deeply cared about, beautiful writing, plus I learned things from it.

The story begins around an Indian woman who is arrange-married to a man she’s never met before. They move to the U.S., she believes temporarily, but in turns out to be permanent. The book then follows her experiences trying to make a life for herself and her family in a place that feels so strange to her, and then eventually follows the life of her son, who was born and raised in the United States but whose parents are constantly trying to pull him deeper into Indian culture than he’d like to go.

I loved this book so much that I stopped reading at my typical pace and slowed it down to 20 or so pages a day, just so I could spend more time with it. Highly recommended to any and all people.

Also, this box came with coffee but I did a bad job and put it in with the rest of my coffee and now I can’t remember which coffee it was. Bad reviewer!

Rating: 10/10 

Recommended for: All the people all the time.

Does it pass the Bechdel–Wallace test? Yes

Author of color / main character of color / female author / female main character: Y / Y / Y / Y


5 thoughts on “Review | May Thrifty Books | The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

  1. I’ve been wanting to read this book (and a lot of other books too) for ages now. Yet, everytime I step into a bookstore, I either forget about this or get distracted by other books.

  2. Thank you for this awesome post! I have recently read Lahiri’s The Clothing of Books and although it is technically an essay rather than actual novel, I was left feeling a little skeptical and uncertain whether or not I would want to read anything else from her do to my satisfaction with the “Clothing of Books”. However, your review of The Namesake reminds me of Adicihie’s Americanah, which I absolutely loved, as it is about a young Nigerian woman who arrives in the U.S. for the first time and struggles to find her voice and orient herself in this “strange” new world.
    I will DEFINITELY adding The Namesake to my to-read list!

    • That’s a great point – it does remind me of Americanah too, now that you mention it! Also a great book. I would say if you like Americanah then you’ll like The Namesake!

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