Desert Isle Keeper
10 Things I Hate About Pinky
Readers of Sandhya Menon’s Dimple and Rishi series are likely familiar with funny, spunky Pinky Kumar, an activist who backs hundreds of causes and feistily fights for every one of them. She finally gets her own book in 10 Things I Hate About Pinky, which involves fake dating, summer vacations and a whole lot of sweet, sweet tropiness.
Pinky is the family wild child – to her strait-laced parent’s general chagrin. Her lawyer mom is utterly flummoxed by Pinky’s… well, Pinky-ness, and Pinky is tired of their complaints of her choice in boyfriends. She decides to do something about it – by faking a relationship with Samir Jha, the next door neighbor at their family’s Cape Cod summer house. She figures a few months with Samir as her ‘respectable’ Ivy League-bound boyfriend will silence them and allow her to have some personal space.
Samir has taken some hard knocks himself. He’d cared for his mother during her long illness – an illness from which she’s now – thankfully – recovered. But Samir has been left with emotional scars that cause him to stay on the straight and narrow, never veering off the path of the predictable. He makes a list every morning and follows it to the letter.
As Samir and Pinky spend the summer together – embarking on dates and joining forces to protest the destruction of local wetlands – they’re both forced to grow up a little, change a little. Each will learn unexpected things about their parents, and slowly but surely, their fake relationship threatens to turn real.
As always, the Dimple and Rishi-verse is a delightful place to visit, and Pinky’s been my favorite secondary character throughout the series’ run. The romance she gets here is well –earned and wonderful, and I enjoyed watching each of our protagonists grow up and change as time goes on, Pinky and Samir are healthy for one another and have a terrific little romance, one that appeals to every single generation.
The Cape Cod setting is perfect for someone like Pinky to get her activism on, and the way racism within the activism community is handled is brilliantly and deftly done. Every character is complex as they try to figure out what’s right, and how to do good things to the best of their abilities.
There aren’t many flaws in the book’s complex brew; Pinky is understandable in her desire to be appreciated by her mother, as are Pinky’s mom’s feelings about her own blighted and lost freedom.
10 Things I Hate About Pinky is just as good as From Twinkle with Love, my other favorite Menon book, and young readers will cherish it just as thoroughly.