Saturday, December 30, 2006

Digging to America

I finally got a chance to read an Anne Tyler book. I just started Digging to America. I am not quite finished but so far this is a very interesting book about two families adopting children from Asia. You would think this is a book about raising these children in America but it is not primarily about that. It is about the interaction between the two adopting families. One family is white American and the other is a younger Iranian American family. It is all about family interaction and being seen as foreign and exotic in America even when one is American born.

The white American mother, Bitsy, has these very specific ideas about raising children and wants the Iranian American mother, Ziba, to follow suit. She is shocked for example that Ziba wanted to be a working mother. Also, Bitsy sets a pattern with an Arrival Party for the baby girls and Ziba feels obliged to continue the practice the following year. Their lives become so intertwined that the Iranian American family moves into Bitsy's neighborhood and Bitsy's widowed father starts dating Maryam, the Iranian born paternal grandmother.

Tyler has a very good understanding of what it means to be foreign, to be an outsider and apparently has a very excellect idea of what it means to be Iranian. She obviously knows about Iranian foods, customs, and the Farsi language.

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