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Summary

Nine-year-old Meena can't wait to grow up and break free from her parents. But as the daughter of the only Punjabi family in the mining village of Tollington, her struggle for independence is different from most.

Meena wants fish fingers and chips, not chapati and dhal; she wants an English Christmas, not the usual interminable Punjabi festivities. But more than anything, she wants to roam the backyards of working-class Tollington with feisty Anita Rutter and her gang.

Blonde, cool, aloof, outrageous and sassy, Anita is everything Meena thinks she wants to be. Meena wheedles her way into Anita's life, but the arrival of a baby brother, teenage hormones, impending entrance exams for the posh grammar school and a motorcycling rebel without a future threaten to turn Anita's salad days sour.

Anita and Me paints a comic, poignant, compassionate and colourful portrait of village life in the era of flares, power cuts, glam rock, decimalisation and Ted Heath. It is a unique vision of a British childhood in the'70s, a childhood caught between two cultures, each on the brink of change.

©1996 Meera Syal (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic reviews

" Tom Sawyer meets Cider with Rosie en route to India via Wolverhampton. A wonderful book - treat yourself." (Ben Elton)
"Funny, moving and packed full of wonderful surprises." (Esther Freud)
"This is a funny, sad book. It made me long to be a kid again, yet grateful I'd grown up." (Jo Brand)
" Anita and Me is full of pleasure. Syal is as skilful at rendering the saucy, ballsy backchat of the Tollington women as she is at describing Meena's 'uncles and aunties', her parents' Indian friends. The book is expertly structured and engagingly written, illuminated throughout by Meena's ironical irreverance and robustness of spirit. I can give it no higher recommendation." (Laura Tennant, Guardian)

What listeners say about Anita and Me

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A Little Different.

Bought this book primarily because of the decade it was set in. Really didn't know what to expect. After a fairly slow start the story and characters developed and began to hold my attention. A pleasant, enjoyable little story. The narrator (author) had lots of different accents which is always a plus for an audio book and it was well read. I recommend this book for anyone who is looking for a refreshing change and a story that is a little different from the usual. Christine.

1 person found this helpful

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Enjoyable listen

Well read and a very good audio book, throughly enjoyed it. A good listen 😀

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It was a delight!

It was a delight listening to Meera Syal; what a performance! Telling it so vividly, I loved it!

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rollicking, witty and wise

definitely worthy getting the audio version to get the full flavour of the black country and the Punjab :)

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was funny in places

it was ok. I think it's funny if you can relate to the author's experience at the time. it seemed to drag on and I was not sure of the beginning , middle ...