Tell Me How to Be

This is a very good book. I think it would be a great movie. The story is equal parts heartwarming, funny, and sad. It’s a family story, a coming of age story, a coming out story. It’s about identity, both in a culture and sexuality sort of sense. The book alternates between the perspective of mother and son, a year after the father’s death. Renu Amin has had a charmed life – married to a wealthy doctor who adored her. A year after his death she finds herself a bit lost. binge watching soap operas and pining for an old love. Meanwhile, her son Akash is struggling. He drinks too much, he’s broke, he’s gay — but afraid to come out to his family for fear of losing their love. Now, they are all back in the family house (with Akash’s brother Bijal) which has been sold as Renu is picking up and moving back to be with her family in London. As they pack up the house, secrets come out and resentments brew. Akash compares himself constantly to his golden, seemingly perfect older brother. Renu fantasizes about what her life could have been like if she’d married her first love. Akash resorts to destructive behavior. I won’t tell you how it ends but I loved this book and found myself in tears at the end.

Author: Neel Patel