The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing Review | #collaboreads


Okay, guys… I’m more excited for a Wednesday than I normally am because #COLLABOREADS IS BACK! For the longest time, I was looking for a book lover’s linkup, and then Amber and Rachel dropped this baby into my lap and I’ve been lovin’ on it ever since. I’m so glad that this linkup is back! I chose a 500 page behemoth for this month’s topic, and I just barely finished it last night before I went to sleep. The good this about that is that the content is fresh in my mind. 🙂

New to #collaboreads? Here are the guidelines.

  1. We will pick a random criteria for your book. It’ll look something like this: published the year you were born or mentions a city in your state or historical fiction about an era you don’t know.
  2. You find your book (It’s probably a good – or even great – idea to get a library card!).
  3. Read – you’ll have a month.
  4. At the end of the month, we’ll review(ish) our books. You can write your review however you’d like, but I like to write mine using the mnemonic that Amber and Rachel have come up with.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4.

 This month’s criteria:
Read a book written by someone who is a different ethnicity than you.

My book choice:
The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing by Mira Jacob

With depth, heart, and agility, debut novelist Mira Jacob takes us on a deftly plotted journey that ranges from 1970s India to suburban 1980s New Mexico to Seattle during the boom. The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing is an epic, irreverent testimony to the bonds of love, the pull of hope, and the power of making peace with life’s uncertainties.
Celebrated brain surgeon Thomas Eapen has been sitting on his porch, talking to dead relatives. At least that is the story his wife, Kamala, prone to exaggeration, tells their daughter, Amina, a photographer living in Seattle.
Reluctantly Amina returns home and finds a situation that is far more complicated than her mother let on, with roots in a trip the family, including Amina’s rebellious brother Akhil, took to India twenty years earlier. Confronted by Thomas’s unwillingness to explain himself, strange looks from the hospital staff, and a series of puzzling items buried in her mother’s garden, Amina soon realizes that the only way she can help her father is by coming to terms with her family’s painful past. In doing so, she must reckon with the ghosts that haunt all of the Eapens.*

I could not get enough of the family dynamic that the Eapens have. This novel spans several years, so we see Amina as a young girl, a teenager, and as an adult, so we see their family dynamic shift and change as well as the family grows up. To me, this really as much as a commentary on life as an Indian family in America so much as it was a commentary on family in general. Yes, the former was there in between the lines, but I didn’t see it as the main focus.

Also, I couldn’t get enough of the mom’s (Kamala’s) sense of humor. She is just so funny. This was a really helpful trait to include in the narrative that was otherwise full of really heavy topics!

All of the characters were so loveable in the most “real” way possible. Amina is trying to navigate losing a brother as well as the tension in her parents’ marriage because of losing a son. Kamala is adjusting to life in America and the death of a son and a husband who is mostly absent. Thomas is trying to provide for his family, but is struggling with balance. They all work through Thomas’ issues when he starts hallucinating. The characters are very well-writen.

As much as I hate to say it, this book feels like “grown up John Green” to me. There is love, there is loss, there is humor.

I really liked the cover design of this book, so I probably would have picked it up at the library without knowing anything about it. I read this book based on a recommendation from Anne Bogel at Modern Mrs. Darcy (I believe she recommended it in her summer reading guide). This book is a beast. As in almost 500 pages. I don’t normally read books this massive because I get really intimidated, but for being this long it wasn’t so bad. I didn’t get super bored with it, but I found myself skimming toward the end. Also, after finishing the book, I’m not quite sure that the title is a good choice. It really doesn’t make much sense.

I give this book a solid three stars. Based on the Goodreads system, that means I liked it. I smiled a lot while reading and related to the story and loved the characters, but I’m not going to go out and recommend this to every person I meet.

*synopsis from Amazon


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