A Sikh during 9/11
Reader reviewed by Krista
The only thing Samar has ever known about her Indian heritage is
that she is a Sikh, but that never made a difference to her. However,
things change when a man wearing a turban is waiting outside her front
door days after September 11. The man claims to be Samars uncle and
wishes to reconcile with Samars mom, who cut off all ties with her
family years ago, and get to know Sam. Now, Samar wants to learn as
much as she can about her heritage.
Being Indian American myself made me especially excited when I
received this book in the mail through Simon Pulse It (although I am
not a Sikh like Sam). I have mixed feelings with Shine, Coconut Moon.
First of all, the book is set in 2001, but Meminger made several
references to things that did not exist back then. For example, I loved
how she stated that Sam and her best friend Molly watched Project
Runway on DVD when the show did not air until 2004. There were also
references to MySpace and Facebook which were not created until 2003
and 2004 respectively. These are small details, but how hard is it to
see when these things were created before including them in the novel?
The references also made the 9/11 plotline seem forced at times.
Throughout most of the novel, I felt that Meminger just added the 9/11
backdrop to give the story a bigger meaning. However, for the last 50
pages or so, the 9/11 backdrop actually worked! Unfortunately, it was
too late for it too work completely.
Luckily, there were good things about the novel! I liked how the
novel focused on a Sikh during 9/11. Not everyone realizes that Muslims
were not the only ones tormented after 9/11. I also really enjoyed
Memingers writing. She clearly expressed Samars thoughts. There were
several quotes that I really liked. Here is one of them:
"If we give them a chance, people could surprise us.
Maybe if we didnt make up our minds right way, based on a few familiar
clues, wed leave room for people to show us a bunch of little,
important layers that we never would have expected to see."
Overall Shine, Coconut Moon was an average read, but Neesha Meminger has the potential to be an amazing author, and I look forward to her next novel.