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Customer Review

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I read this book in two days, couldn't put it down., 2 Aug. 2009
This review is from: The Boy with the Topknot: A Memoir of Love, Secrets and Lies in Wolverhampton (Paperback)
When Sathnam is a young boy his life becomes shaped when his mother tells him of her visit to a fortune teller. "Your son will lift the family out of poverty and misery." This becomes Sathnams self-fulfilling prophecy.
From an early age Sathnam is lovingly brainwashed by his all-powerful, superstitious, Sikh mother. He is not allowed to look at girl, (especially a white girl,) not allowed to cut his hair, or wash it on Saturday or Tuesday, and the list goes on. But the most damming thing Sathnam could ever do to his self-sacrificing mother would be to marry outside his caste and religion. This becomes a problem when he grows into a man and finds himself falling in love with the "taboo" white woman.
For me this was a gripping story as it pushed many emotional buttons; falling in love with someone of a different culture and religion, hoping to be accepted by ones mother in law, and leading a double life in order to play "happy families."
This is the beautiful story of a Sikh immigrant family, in this case, the poorer, the better as it adds such dramatic contrast to the moment when Sathnam is accepted into Wolverhampton Grammar School, and then the almighty Cambridge.
Lurking behind Sathnams bright star is his beloved father who comes across as the Jolly Green Giant, but without the jolly. Another journey of this book is through the kaleidoscope of mental illness and it affects on everyone in the family. Gut wrenchingly depressing, but lovingly overcome when surrounded by a supportive Sikh family.
This book is highly recommended for anyone who has ever been afraid or affected by mental illness, anyone wanting to be successful in life, those who value the importance and duty of the family unit, and most poignantly for those wanting to follow your heart.....this book tastes all of life's spicy flavours.
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