On the Outside Looking Indian: How My Second Childhood Changed My Life

On the Outside Looking Indian How My Second Childhood Changed My Life Rupinder Gill was raised under the strict rules of her parents Indian upbringing While her friends were practicing their pli s having slumber parties and spending their summers at camp Rupinder was

  • Title: On the Outside Looking Indian: How My Second Childhood Changed My Life
  • Author: Rupinder Gill
  • ISBN: 9781594485770
  • Page: 123
  • Format: Paperback
  • Rupinder Gill was raised under the strict rules of her parents Indian upbringing While her friends were practicing their pli s, having slumber parties, and spending their summers at camp, Rupinder was cleaning, babysitting her siblings, and watching hours on end of American television But at age 30, Rupinder realized how much she regretted her lack of childhood adventurRupinder Gill was raised under the strict rules of her parents Indian upbringing While her friends were practicing their pli s, having slumber parties, and spending their summers at camp, Rupinder was cleaning, babysitting her siblings, and watching hours on end of American television But at age 30, Rupinder realized how much she regretted her lack of childhood adventure Stepping away from an orderly life of tradition, Rupinder set put to finally experience the things she missed out on From learning to swim and taking dance lessons, to going to Disney World, her growing to do list soon became the ultimate trip down non memory lane What began as a desire to experience all that had been denied to her leads to a discovery of what it means to be happy, and the important lessons that are learned when we are at play.

    755 Comment

    • Manybooks says:

      When I came across Rupinder Gill's On the Outside Looking Indian at the McMaster University bookstore about four or so years ago, I immediately purchased a copy (as I tend to very much enjoy memoirs, and this offering also seemed to promise a both fun and enlightening sojourn into Ms. Gill's childhood and adulthood, and how as an adult, she decided to relive, no actually, to first experience many of the childhood scenarios and joys that were basically denied to her by her strict East-Indian cult [...]

    • Sonia K says:

      Being of multi-cultural background myself, I had high hopes for this book. At some point it struck me that this book, at its existential core, is a physical proof of the author's desire to fit in, not a resolution of the need. The book is a thinly disgused exploitation of 'otherness' (hey, I might look different but yet we are all the same inside!). It does not go much deeper than following the author as she checks off her bucket-list of cliche American activities which she believes will somehow [...]

    • Nan says:

      This memoir starts off with an interesting premise: a thirty year old Indian-Canadian resolves to give herself all the experiences her strict parents denied her as a child. The author sets about taking swimming lessons, dancing lessons, having sleepovers, looking into dog ownership, and planning a trip to Disney World. Although the book is meant to be humorous, she tries way too hard to cram in mountains of late 80s/early 90s pop culture references. All this gets a little tiresome. If the author [...]

    • Sarah says:

      This book had so much potential! Like many first-generation immigrants, Gill wants a modern childhood with summer camp and music lessons, activities deemed luxurious by her Indian parents who recall their own toys made out of mud. As a child, Gill is embarrassed by her parents and their strict rules and, now that she's a adult, Gill seeks to reclaim her lost childhood by doing all the things she was denied - learning to swim and tap dance, having sleepovers, visiting Disney World. The problem is [...]

    • Rachel says:

      If I could, I would rate this book 2.5 stars.A few of my friends marked this book as "to read" on , and so I decided to check it out from the library this summer. I loved the premise of this book. Gill, a young Indian woman feeling deprived of having a North American childhood while growing up in Canada, decides to spend time in her early 20s doing all of the things typical North American kids do growing up.I was hoping that this book would be a reflective comparison of the struggles of her Indi [...]

    • Amanda says:

      Eh. I was disappointed in this one. I've been reading a lot of memoirs lately about people doing crazy things to find themselves or just to have a book topic (The guy who followed the bible Wild by Cheryl Strayed) This one just felt forced. I didn't feel like there was enough background to make me feel invested in the writer before she started on her big adventure. I also felt like it wasn't really on topic with growing up Indian she just grew up with strict parents. And the writing style got [...]

    • Joanna says:

      Let me start by repeating what everyone else has already said: the book is about the author’s New Year’s resolution to make up for her lost childhood. Just the fact that she actually sticks to it and does not abandon it after the very first week should qualify the book as science fiction, because isn’t abandonment a default, customary outcome for a New Year’s resolution? Anyway:The Good: 1. The book is indeed laugh out loud funny, in a Tina Fay-esque way. 2. She had a resolution and foll [...]

    • Dar says:

      As a white, middle class Canadian, with many privileges, I don't "own" the experiences of children of immigrants. But I have always felt a bond with Indo-Canadian kids, because their home culture is so severe compared to their public school classmates'. My parents were very strict, out of sync with the other families in the neighbourhood, and even stricter than their own parents, and my aunts and uncles. I always felt I had to live up to standards that other kids my age did not, or face my paren [...]

    • Bookworm says:

      Definitely a memoir to skip. I forgot exactly how I came across the book but I was enchanted with the title. With such a play on words it sounded like it would be a hilarious read. While I do not share the experiences author Gill has I could understand growing up somewhere where you don't look like many other people (although in Gill's case it was more severe) and navigating childhood, growing up and life with parents who did not share or even understand the same experiences. And initially this [...]

    • Aban (Aby) says:

      The author, an East Indian, looks back on her childhood in Canada where, apart from school, she spent most of her time watching television with her siblings. She was not allowed to play with friends, participate in any extra curricular activities, go to camp, or enjoy any of the activities of her white friends. At the age of thirty, she decided to fulfill the dreams of her childhood and, in doing so, to gain control of her life. One has to admire Rupinder Gill. It takes courage to give up a job, [...]

    • Runa says:

      Admittedly, I don't read very many autobiographies, but of the ones I've read, this one easily hit home the strongest. As a child of a South Asian immigrant, oh boy do I GET this book. I loved it, I related to the vast majority of the story, from missing out on a childhood to wishing you could have that later in life, to trying to balance two cultures, oh my goodness, I Get it. What a fantastic (and funny!) book. It's really nice to be able to read about the experiences of someone like me in a s [...]

    • Renee Turner says:

      This kept being recommended to me and I really wanted to love it but it doesn't really go anywhere. I was torn between sympathising with her and thinking she was a spoilt brat in turn, and she didn't really, in my opinion, complete many 'childhood' activities. It seemed to be a lot of talk, not enough action. Not the worst memoir, but definitely not the best.

    • Shiva Rai says:

      This book was hilarious! it's 'eat, pray, love' meets 'my big fat greek wedding'. I love the author's sense of humor, and I think a lot of kids of immigrants (or anyone who felt different as a kid) will really relate to this story. Her decision to go after childhood goals (by ditching a job) was brave.

    • Shami says:

      Rupinder Gill is a very funny writer. I had a smile on my face the whole time I was reading and actually laughed out loud several times. While all first generation ethnics have a slightly different experience, she has articulated a number of our truths as well as our parents' truths.

    • Ulrika says:

      Either her point was so obvious I didn't even register it. or it completely escaped me. Not good either way.

    • LiteraryChanteuse says:

      3.5 stars

    • Sayantani Dasgupta says:

      Interesting premise wherein the author takes a year to accomplish all that she was denied growing up with strict Indian Sikh parents just outside Toronto, Canada. These things include sleepovers, summer camp, driving and swimming. Most of the time, I found the writing uninspiring and trying too hard to be funny. However, it picked up pace and interest after she moved to New York, and faced loneliness and poverty, but also forced herself to overcome challenges and gain new experiences such as lea [...]

    • Christian Stewart says:

      Gill's desire to recapture the childhood she always wanted struck a chord for me. That 30's itch hit me as well, and led me to start my own business. I hope her leap of faith to do the work she loves was successful. And I hope she finished learning to swim!

    • Ann Frost says:

      This was a fun book to read. The author grew up in an immigrant family just outside of Toronto and as a child did not get to do a lot of the things her friends and classmates got to do - like sleepovers, go to camp, have a pet, take swimming lessons, or vacation at Disney World. So when she turns 30 she decides she needs to make up for lost time and sets about doing all these things she feels she should have done as a kid. The reflections on her siblings, her parents, her friends, and her experi [...]

    • Sara says:

      I won this ARC in a contest; apparently winners are chosen based on "randomness, site activity, genre of books on your shelves, current phase of the moon, and more," so I was interested to see if they had correctly chosen me as a target audience for this book. In this memoir, Rupinder, a thirty-year-old Indian-Canadian woman, decides to revisit her childhood by attempting to do some of the things that she had wanted to do, but was forbidden by her strict and thrifty parents. She narrows down he [...]

    • Viviane Crystal says:

      Welcome to the world of an Indian-American family whose values center on hard work, housekeeping at home and in one's career job after childhood. It's a world where parents are selfless and totally dedicated to children but it's a very narrow world. Rupinder humorously describes her world which sounds like a litany of "what i want" followed by multiple negative responses. So no movies, no sleep-overs, no mall trips, no long empty telephone conversations, etc etc. But Rupinder has a novel point o [...]

    • Canuckgal says:

      I really wanted to like this book so much more than I did. I had just finished Gurjinder Basra's _Everything Was Good Bye_ that, while melodramatic, showed great potential writing chops for future books.As a person, I quite liked the main character, Rupinder. Heck, I know many, many Rupinders where I liveSikh women living in patriarchal cultural systems who end up either succumbing to the norms and being married off, young, or miserable and broken after having fled their communities to 'find the [...]

    • Alexis says:

      I started out thinking this book was okay, but by the ending, I really liked it. THe author is a 30 year old Sikh woman who grew up fairly sheltered. She was one of 5 children and her parents were new immigrants. She was not allowed to socialize outside of school, and didn't take lessons. She watched a lot of television as a child and thought she was missing out on a normal childhood.At the age of 30, she decides to have some of the experiences that she missed as a child. This starts by signing [...]

    • April says:

      Fun read about a late-bloomer that decides to experience all of the things she missed out in childhood (driving, learning how to swim, getting a dog, going to Disney World, etc.). Cleverly written and ridden with pop-culture references. (Gill was "raised by TV" much like Community's Abed Nadir.) Ah, our generation. This is a "coming-of-age" story that I feel a lot of twentysomethings can relate to. Gill grapples with "Where is my life heading?" and is often over-consumed with her own introspecti [...]

    • Robbin says:

      As the child of Indian immigrants, Rupinder is now an adult who yearns for the childhood she never had due to a strict upbringing that prohibited her from living the "North American childhood dream." While the author sprinkles hilarious catch-phrases and chapter titles and scenarios throughout her book, sadness is the largest underlying feeling. While reaching the end of the book, I was angered and saddened that Rupinder failed to acknowledge her Indian culture as something old-fashioned, silly [...]

    • Susan says:

      Think of "Eat,Pray,Love" merged with "Joy Luck Club" but a far more palatable and meaningful version of the former and funnier and entertaining than the latter. Growing up in a small, almost all Caucasian town, Rupinder Gill and her 4 Punjabi sisters are not permitted to go to camp, sleepovers, summer retreats or parties of any kind. Escape from this strict upbringing comes in the form of watching immense amounts of TV, cleaning, greasy comfort food and creating their own version of tennis on th [...]

    • Ngaio says:

      Really a 3.5 star book. This book wasn't what I expected it to be, but I still enjoyed it. There wasn't as much discussion of her growing up and/or the immigrant experience as I expected. She dealt with that more in broad strokes. It was an enjoyable book, however, about her adult exploration of the (supposedly) classic childhood experiences. I was a little confused how she moved to America with no mention of having to get visas (etc.) which even as a Canadian is necessary. Perhaps she felt the [...]

    • Susan says:

      I was impatient with this one at the start of the book. It was mostly the author complaining about this and that in her childhood. However, if you are patient and hold on and keep reading it gets good. The first part is there to provide context and contrast for the rest of the book. Ms. Gill shows how she started out in a family that, wishing to love and protect, and keep her (and her sisters) safe, ended up also suffocating her and her development as a human being. The next part of the book is [...]

    • Alicia says:

      So at the beginning of this book, the author dedicates it to her family. And she says something like "Thank you for letting me tell my story, for in it, I told your story as well." And I really liked that, because even at the end, after we read all about the favoritism, and the way her parents wouldn't let her do anything, she clearly loves her family, and she is thankful for many of the things they gave her.And isn't that always the way? Don't we always appreciate our family when we spend any t [...]

    • Angela says:

      This book was really funny and very inspiring as well. Reading it has inspired me to get out of my own comfort zone a bit and cross some things off my list! I live in Toronto and part of my motivation for reading this book was to get some sort of insight as to why many of the Indian and Pakistani children at my son's school don't seem to do playdates or birthday parties (or swimming lessons!), and I'm still not sure I get it and that I am just not going to get it because it is a cultural differe [...]

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