Anita and Me by Meera Syal

It is the 1970’s and Meena is the nine year old daughter of the only Punjabi family in the mining village of Tollington. The book is about her attempts to break free and be independent and also to fit in, notably with the tough Anita Rutter and her gang of friends.


Although the book is set in the 1970’s, it is still relevant today. Beautifully written, it captures the angst of growing up, of wanting to belong and of feeling at a loss when you discover other families are different to your own. The ties that bind us to our families and the way those ties can both comfort and restrict us are so well described. Equally the story captures the way culture clashes can define us; both those between different communities and those within our own communities. This is one of those funny/sad books; you laugh even though some of the events are sad. An excellent read.

Aita and Me is a set GCSE text. It has been turned into a film (2002) and has been adapted for the stage.

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