Readers' Favorite

August 5, 2019

America for Beginners by @LeahFranqui ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

This beautiful debut novel was very emotional for me. After reading the reviews, it looks like it's either a 'love it or hate it' book with very little middle ground. For me it was a book that I loved with characters I won't soon forget.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

July 2019; William Morrow Paperbacks
audio, ebook, print (336 pages); literary fiction
America for Beginners is about three people who are trying to find their place in the world. They are different ages, have different backgrounds and ethnicity but their search for their futures shows that they are much more alike than even they think they are.

Pival Sengupta is a recent widow who lives in Kolkota, India. Her husband was a verbally abusive man who convinced her that she was worth nothing and her opinion didn't matter. He had forbidden her to talk to or see their son who was currently in school in America after they found out that he was gay. Pival has decided, much to the dismay of her servants, to travel to American to try to find her son to let him know that she loved him.

Her tour guide is Satya who is a recent immigrant from Bangladesh and despite being hired by the tour company, knows very little about America.

Her companion for the trip is Rebecca, a young American who wants to be an actress and isn't having much success. She needs to decide what to do with the rest of her life.

As the tour begins, they all realize how very different they are from each other and they wonder how they will manage to travel together but as the trip progresses, this mismatched trio of travelers find that their cultural and religious differences don't matter as much as their new friendship.

The three main characters are well written and very believable.  I enjoyed the way their views of each other changed during their tour of America.  There is also some humor in the story - especially when Satya makes up stories about places in American that he's never seen and knows nothing about.

This is a  beautiful novel about love and families and forgiveness and acceptance along with a travel guide across America.

Buy America for Beginners at Amazon

About the Author

Leah Franqui is a graduate of Yale University and received an MFA at NYU-Tisch. She is a playwright and the recipient of the 2013 Goldberg Playwriting Award, and also wrote a web series for which she received the Alfred Sloan Foundation Screenwriting award ( A Puerto Rican-Jewish Philadelphia native, Franqui lives with her Kolkata-born husband in Mumbai. AMERICA FOR BEGINNERS is her first novel.

Find out more about Franqui at her website, and connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina when she isn't traveling. She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and spending time with their family and friends. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter.

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  1. I'm so excited to read this one myself! Thank you for being on this tour. Sara @ TLC Book Tours

  2. Thank you so much for reading and for your lovely words!