Miss New India by Bharati Mukherjee
19 yr old Anjali Bose lives is Gauripaur. Her future is already preset. Anjali father is searching for her future husband. Anjali doesn't want to get married early or have her husband selected. She's also very smart, though living in a small town and being a woman she can't be too smart. Angjali is too big for Gauripaur but she doesn't know how to get out.
Peter Champion a former teacher encourages Anjali to leave and make a life for herself in Bangalore. After an awful encounter with the chosen husband to be, she sets off for Bangalore and a new life. I really enjoyed this story and was quickly drawn in by the writing.
"Angie Bose had lived nineteen years in Gauripur and was a year and a half from graduating with a degree from the best school in town, and no one had ever spoken to her about the nature of truth or art, or assumed she cared or knew anything about it. She knew there were plenty of pretty shots of the Taj Mahal- hard to mess that one up and the Himalayas and animals and famous faces but she'd never thought of them as plotted. Truth? Context? Composition? She'd never had a serious discussion about anything. She was the second daughter of a railway clerk; she was supposed to go to school, obey teachers and parents, graduate and get married, obey her husband, and have children. Truth was what the community, teachers, parents, and eventual husband said it was."
Mukherjee created a realistic and likable character in Anjali, a young woman who simply wants to find her place in the world. Miss New India is a great coming of age story.