On Monday 22 June we gathered at the lovely Crafty Cafe in Abbey Wood to share parent views on our first book, the Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. We discussed the main themes: the immigrant experience, the clash of cultures, the conflicts and the ties between generations. Having parents around the table with diverse heritages made for some really great discussion. It was good to relax and reflect on our own identities living in multi-cultural London, and those of our children; the book provided a great jumping-off point for this.
One parent spoke about her upbringing in the Bangaldeshi community of Tower Hamlets and painted a most inspiring picture of how she chose to show her family and peers that a traditional way of living can co-exist with freedom and self-determination. Our Iranian parent shared with us her experiences of negotiating between two very different cultures and being proud of her identity as an Iranian.
We spoke about how cooking and food can be significant as symbols of assimilation but also act as a powerful connection to our roots. We had a laugh with two parents of Irish descent who recounted some amusing anecdotes on the very common anxieties of ‘fitting in’.
Thanks to Sharon and her team for providing a warm welcome and a wonderful comfortable space for our meeting, with the most impressive hot chocolates and tasty snacks! We will definitely be back to the Crafty Cafe soon.
We can’t wait to see you all at the next one! Venue and date yet to be confirmed so keep an eye on our web and Facebook/Twitter.
Here’s the book we will be talking about:
The White Queen by Philippa Gregory.
“Internationally bestselling author Philippa Gregory brings the tumult and intrigue of The Wars of the Roses to vivid life through the women of the House of Lancaster and the House of York, beginning with the story of Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen. A woman who won the love of a king and ascended to royalty by virtue of her beauty, Elizabeth fought tenaciously for the success of her family — her daughter who would one day unite the warring dynasties, and her two sons whose eventual fate has confounded historians for centuries: the Princes in the Tower. An active player in the power struggles that surrounded her, she made hard and courageous choices, always trying to protect those whom she loved. Informed by impeccable research and framed by her inimitable storytelling skills, Philippa Gregory gives an unforgettable voice to an extraordinary woman at the heart of a devastating conflict.”
Click here to find out more about this book on Amazon.
And get in touch if you’d like the GPV book club to visit your neighbourhood as well.