America for Beginners by Leah Franqui

America for Beginners

Pival Sengupta has done something she never expected: she has booked a trip with the First Class India USA Destination Vacation Tour Company. But unlike other upper-class Indians on a foreign holiday, the recently widowed Pival is not interested in sightseeing. She is traveling thousands of miles from Kolkota to New York on a cross-country journey to California, where she hopes to uncover the truth about her beloved son, Rahi. A year ago Rahi dev...

Details America for Beginners

TitleAmerica for Beginners
Release DateJul 24th, 2018
PublisherWilliam Morrow
GenreFiction, Contemporary, Adult

Reviews America for Beginners

  • Thomas
    4 starsThis is a fictional story of Pival Sengupta, a wealthy widow from Kolkata, India. Her husband Ram has been dead for several months and she decides to go to the United States, ostensibly to take a guided tour, but in reality to find out if her gay son, Rahi is alive or dead. When he came out to his parents, his father disowned him and forbade him from all future contact. Ram received a phone call shortly after Rahi announced that he was gay...
  • Rohan
    America for Beginners is an extraordinary debut by Leah Franqui. Once I finished the book, it gave me a tremendous sense of lightness and hope. It is something I wanted from a book for a while as I struggle to find a sense of hope from the world nowadays. After so many authors telling me what is wrong with the world and humanity, it warmed my heart to read something that told what was beautiful about humanity. In a world where nations and society...
  • Faith
    Recently widowed Pival Sengupta is 60 and has never left Kolkata. Her late husband Ram had told her that their son Rahi died in Los Angeles but Pavil never really accepted the news and now she is planning her first trip ever to find out the truth for herself. Rosni (Ronnie) Munshi owns a travel agency in New York that books tours for Indian and Pakistani tourists. He is from Bangladesh, a fact that he tries to hide from his clients. Pavil pays fo...
  • Celia
    America for Beginners is the first novel written by Leah Franqui. It has many fine points, but also some disappointments along the way. The book is billed as a travel story where Pival Sangupta, recently widowed, is visiting America from India to find her estranged son. Before we get to traveling, however, the reader has to endure 110 pages of backstory on the many characters who would contribute to this journey. I kept saying ‘enough’, let...
  • Carole
    What a curious and complex cast of characters Leah Frangui created for her debut novel. A wealthy but naive widow from Kolkata with a Bangladeshi immigrant posing as an Indian tour guide and a feisty down-and-out actress as companion lead the troupe in their (and the reader's vicarious) journey across the USA. Add to these the voices of the vividly drawn supporting characters and there emerges a narrative that is compelling in its humor and its p...
  • Allie
    I gave this book my sincere attention for around 30 pages before it started losing my interest. It was at this point that I realized why, after a while, the pages started feeling so laborious to get through. The summary, which describes the story as being about a woman traveling across America? It takes a third of the book for Pival to even get there (that's around 100 pages). Apparently it was very important that the story switch POV between 5 d...
  • Kate Olson
    Thanks to William Morrow and TLC Book Tours for this free review copy!.What a heartwarming and eye opening view of the US from an foreigner's perspective ~ I learned so much about my own country during the course of this novel, as well as about India and Bangladesh. AMERICA FOR BEGINNERS brings us an Indian widow learning to be alone and coming to terms with her son's sexuality and her own former classist/homophobic beliefs, all during a whirlwin...
  • Julia Kardon
    Pival Sengupta has never left Kolkata when she books a trip to America with an Indian travel company, but nothing in this road trip novel is exactly what it seems. Starting with the trip, which has a Bangladeshi, not Indian guide, and a female chaperone who is a young American actress. But also Pival, who is not on the trip to see America, but is hoping to find her son, who might be dead and whom the family cut off after he came out as gay. This ...
  • Wendy
    Stirring and touching, “America for Beginners” which I won through Goodreads Giveaways begins when recently widowed Pival Sengupta a Bengali woman who has never travelled outside her home in Kolkata takes a cross-country tour from New York City to California with her guide Satya Roy and female chaperone Rebecca Eliot. On a trip where she’s determined to find out whether her beloved son Rahi who was ostracized by his father after declaring h...
  • Pamela Detlor
    America for Beginners is, quite simply, the most beautiful work of fiction I have read in years. In a story rich with character and charm, Leah Franqui, has more than delivered in this debut work.While there are numerous characters who’s stories weave life into this story, the focus falls on five lives, stemming from vastly different worlds, and each is somewhat lost; until their lives intersect. Each one having something to teach and much to l...
  • Sylvia
    What an appealing book. Three unique and sympathetic characters take a trip across America with multicultural confusions and prejudices that are slowly overcome by compassion and friendship. A pleasure to read.
  • Stacey A. Prose and Palate
    "I don't want to talk about my father," Bhim said, gently, to diffuse the sting. Jake thought for a moment. "What about your mother then?" Bhim smiles, a smile Jake had never seen before. It was a gentle spreading of his lips, soft and smooth. His face suffused with light, like he was thinking of something wonderful. "My mother is the reason that I love you," Bhim said simply. "She is the reason that I know what love is."My heart, ya'll. I loved ...
  • Betty
    If you enjoyed Fatima Farheen Mirza’s A PLACE FOR US, I highly recommend AMERICA FOR BEGINNERS.Three misfits set out on a journey across America, a journey of evolution, and are changed forever.Pival Sengupta, a newly widowed Indian woman, has booked a trip to America. Her servants are outraged! A woman just does not do this alone. But Pival is not going to see the sights of America. Instead, she is hoping to find her son whom her husband has t...
  • Amanda
    People kept telling me how much they loved, loved, loved this novel. And I completely understand why because I also loved, loved, loved this novel.It shifts perspectives, but in such a way that I was never disappointed one chapter was ending and another was beginning because I was deeply invested in every single story. Each character was so well-developed and lovable and flawed. I'm always a sucker for novels that explore America geographically a...
  • Marissa
    Goodreads Advance Reader's Edition A widow travels to America to find closure after her husband dies. She comes to America to find her son who died months before. She hires a tour guide and a companion to buy time as a ruse.It is more than a journey as it weaves the interactions of different cultures and even what we perceive as the same cultures has their own biases and beliefs
  • Jill
    This is a story of a journey of self-discovery for three people thrown together on a trip across the country. In a way they are all newcomers to America. Pival Sengupta, newly widowed at age 60, is from Kolkata, India. Her young American guide, Satya Roy, was originally from Bangladesh but he is pretending to be from India. Rebecca Eliot, hired as a companion for Pival, is from America but has barely traveled at anywhere. All three of them are lo...
  • KC
    After the death of her husband, Kolkata native Pival Sengupta is on a mission to find her son believing he resides in California.. Estranged from his family after coming out to his parents, Rahi heads to the States to study marine biology. Pival embarks on a cross country journey starting in NYC with the assistance of two young chaperones. This heart warming story blends cultural diversities and the pit falls that often accompany them. These thre...
  • Heather
    Amazing book - I didn't want to put it down! This book demonstrates the cultural differences between countries (in this case India and the USA) and how accepting that every individual has their own views. Pival, an Indian widow, sets out on a trip to the USA to find the truth of her son, Rahi/Bhim, who had left years before for the States and who was cut off from his family for coming out to his father. At the same time, Rebecca, an American who ...
  • Gaele
    Pival is a recently widowed woman, never having left her city of Kolkota (Calcutta for those who are unfamiliar) and is desperate for news of her son, Rahi. A year earlier, Rahi had shocked his parents by revealing he was gay, and his father erased him from the family, disowning him and refusing to have his wife speak of him. But now, with her husband gone, Pival is desperate to connect with her son, confirm he is either alive or dead (as her hus...
  • Leslie
    Pival Sengupta is a recent Bengali widow who had been trapped by custom and tradition in a loveless and unhappy marriage. She decides to buck custom and go to America soon after her husband’s passing. Her tour guide is Satya, an immigrant from Bangladesh. And she has requested a companion for propriety: Rebecca a twenty-something, white, struggling actress. Together they are to make their way from New York to California. In California, where Pi...
  • Cassandra Emerson MADEUP
    I enjoyed this book, for several different reasons, and it is well worth giving a try, however I will warn readers that the beginning is very slow. I would have given 3 1/2 stars if possible, but couldn't justify 4.I was looking forwards to the building story, the Blurb sounded amazing and the opening scene made me want to know more about the Main Character and what had gone on with her son, why was she trying to go to America? The answers are no...
  • Barb
    Imagine you've never traveled outside the space of your neighborhood, and arrive on a different continent, being led around by strangers. Now add a secret, personal mission and a broken heart. Mix in a few unique but familiar characters to this adventure and you have America for Beginners, a terrific read that will appeal to everyone. I recognize that I, like one of the characters in the book, do not know a great deal about the history of India a...
  • Ruthie
    Pival is a widow living in India. Rebecca is a young woman who came to NYC to pursue acting. Satya is a young man from Bangladesh barely surviving in NYC. The three come together as Pival decides to tour the U.S, where her son went to school and died suddenly. She wants to see what made him love the country so much that he never came home. As their journey is planned and then undertaken all three have to face things about themselves that they hav...
  • Nancy
    Playwright Leah Franqui charms with her first novel, a most unusual road trip. Recently widowed, Pival Sengupta travels from Kolkata to New York City, where she has booked a cross-country tour to California organized by an entrepreneurial immigrant. Her guide is the company’s most recent hire, Satya, a recent arrival from Bangladesh who has never been outside Brooklyn. For propriety’s sake, they’re accompanied by aspiring, out-of-work actre...
  • Kathy
    America for Beginners is an excellent read made even more impressive by the fact that it is the author's debut novel. I eagerly wait for the next offering from this author.The story is about Pival Sengupta, an older upper-class woman, recently widowed, from India, who wants to take a trip across America to see what drove her son to its shores. She arranges her tour through First Class India USA Destination Vacation Tour Company She feels safe boo...
  • Rebecca Nichols
    America For Beginners was an amazing surprise! As a reader with a relatively short attention span, I was pleased with how easily the book hooked me in so quickly. Within the first chapter or two I was laughing out loud at the author's descriptions and the thoughts and actions of the quirky characters. The road trip aspect of AFB was exciting to read, but my favorite aspect of the story was the way the narrative switched focus between characters. ...
  • Ellen
    Loved this book and all of the characters in it, especially Pival Sengupta and Rebecca. Pival’s husband died, and she slowly realizes she has given in to his demands all of her life, including ignoring their son who moved to America. Pival makes the unlikely decision to take a cross country tour, ending up in Los Angeles to learn more about her son. Rebecca is hired as her companion, and Satya, a young immigrant from Bangladesh, as her tour gui...
  • Shannon Briggs
    Thanks to @williammorrowbooks for this free copy in exchange for my reviewYou guys, this was the sweetest book. I totally enjoyed it, the characters were all so endearing- (I really want to know what they're all up to now).Although this book was sweet and had loveable characters, there was a lot of pain in this book. All of the characters had had some suffering and needed some healing. Franqui was able to weave some tough topics into the story su...
  • Cathy
    America for beginners was an interesting read. 3 diverse characters travel together on a 2 week journey across America. The author did a great job incorporating their background stories. It was interesting how they related and reacted to each other. I enjoyed seeing the different perspectives as the characters explored America for the first time. They were able to develop some empathy for each other despite their differences. I would recommend th...
  • Bob Busk
    I really enjoyed this book.....three people on a cross-country tour, all needing to find themselves....humorous, touching, and tender....a sweet read.