Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Reader's Diary #1696- Nidhi Chanani: Pashmina

In some ways Nidhi Chanani's Pashmina reminded me of Katherena Vermette's A Girl Called Echo. Both might be considered coming-of-age stories and a vital part of this journey for both characters is an exploration of their cultures and history.

In Priyanka's case this means learning about her Indian heritage and that exploration is challenged somewhat due to the fact that she's been raised in the U.S. and her mother refuses to answer many questions about the place, clearly being overwhelmed with emotion. Even more frustrating, her mother is also the one who attributes aspects of Pashmina's personality that she doesn't particularly care for to growing up in the U.S. rather than India. The topic of India is off-limits except when it's not. This will all begin to change, however, when Priyanka discovers a magical scarf, a pashmina, that gives her surreal visions of India and when her mother suddenly allows Priyanka to visit her aunt in India.

I love the complexity of Chanani's characters in this touching story. There are also themes that both younger and older readers will likely connect with. The art too is pretty good. In the gray-scale panels, it reminds me of Vera Brosgol in the simplicity but when she puts on the pashmina and the colours come in, it's stunning; rich and vibrant, sometimes even intricate.

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