They Called Us Exceptional: And Other Lies That Raised Us

Books on Tape. Aug. 2023. 9:31 hrs. ISBN 9780593786437. $76. MEMOIR
Award-winning journalist Gupta (AOC: Fighter, Phenom, Changemaker) reveals how the perfection demanded by her father, in line with the myth of the model minority, fractured her and her family. In a memoir that addresses her mother, Gupta describes how her controlling father strove to force his family to become “perfect” Indian Americans—successful, well-off, ambitious, and seamlessly integrated into the fabric of American life. He ultimately created trauma within the family, pitting its members against each other with his volatile moods and misogynistic attitudes. Gupta obeyed her father’s wishes, becoming the high-achieving daughter he wanted, but she eventually found that she had to separate herself from her family to be happy. She narrates the audiobook, allowing her vulnerability to show and communicating the pain of being distant from her mother. Her emotional tones and engaging pacing pull listeners into her story of coming to terms with her complicated, often dysfunctional family.
VERDICT This candid and compassionate account reveals the cost of impossible expectations and the courage necessary to find oneself. For fans of Qian Julie Wang’s Beautiful Country or Safiya Sinclair’s How To Say Babylon.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing