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THEY CALLED US EXCEPTIONAL

And other lies that raised us.

by Prachi Gupta ‧ RELEASE DATE: Aug. 22, 2023

In relentlessly grim, unsparing prose, Gupta offers proof of Tolstoy’s observation that each unhappy family is uniquely so.

A fraught memoir of life in a psychically tangled Indian American household riven by ambition and discontent.

Gupta, a former senior reporter at Jezebel who had the distinction of incurring Donald Trump’s wrath thanks to a probing interview she did with a defensive, elusive Ivanka, grew up as one of “the new model minority”: immigrants from India who are highly educated, wealthy, and endlessly hardworking. That success, she holds, is a result of a “thrice-filtered and stratified” selection process whereby the most privileged in India leave for better opportunities abroad. The author’s father moved from India to Canada to the U.S. following an arranged marriage, and there he began a successful career in medicine. Alternately emotionally distant and full of self-doubt, he often demeaned Gupta’s mother, a modern example of “how women’s voices…were appropriated by both the British colonizers and Indian men in power during the struggle for control.” Addressing much of her narrative to her mother in the second person, Gupta recounts the pressures of being brought up with aspirational expectations of perfection that she came to resist, if mostly innocently: “Papa cast my rebellion as typical American teen behavior. But, Mummy, real rebels would have laughed at me.” The friction among parents and daughter grows ever more grinding as the memoir proceeds into young adulthood, yielding both tragedy and a rupture within a seemingly ironclad nuclear South Asian family. Gupta does not often become overwrought, though there are moments. More notable is her difficulty in understanding the motives of her driven father and a mother of whom, she admits in direct address, “I never asked you what hopes and dreams buoyed you amid the all-consuming loneliness and grief of leaving your family and your country behind. I had just assumed that the West, the land of oppor­tunity, was so obviously the best place to live.”

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2023

ISBN: 9780593442982

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR | CURRENT EVENTS & SOCIAL ISSUES | FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS | FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS | ETHNICITY & RACE | WOMEN & FEMINISM | GENERAL BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR

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New York Times Bestseller

by Stephanie Johnson & Brandon Stanton illustrated by Henry Sene Yee ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 12, 2022

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.

Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR | ENTERTAINMENT, SPORTS & CELEBRITY | GENERAL BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR

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LOVE, PAMELA

LOVE, PAMELA

by Pamela Anderson ‧ RELEASE DATE: Jan. 31, 2023

A juicy story with some truly crazy moments, yet Anderson's good heart shines through.

The iconic model tells the story of her eventful life.

According to the acknowledgments, this memoir started as "a fifty-page poem and then grew into hundreds of pages of…more poetry." Readers will be glad that Anderson eventually turned to writing prose, since the well-told anecdotes and memorable character sketches are what make it a page-turner. The poetry (more accurately described as italicized notes-to-self with line breaks) remains strewn liberally through the pages, often summarizing the takeaway or the emotional impact of the events described: "I was / and still am / an exceptionally / easy target. / And, / I'm proud of that ." This way of expressing herself is part of who she is, formed partly by her passion for Anaïs Nin and other writers; she is a serious maven of literature and the arts. The narrative gets off to a good start with Anderson’s nostalgic memories of her childhood in coastal Vancouver, raised by very young, very wild, and not very competent parents. Here and throughout the book, the author displays a remarkable lack of anger. She has faced abuse and mistreatment of many kinds over the decades, but she touches on the most appalling passages lightly—though not so lightly you don't feel the torment of the media attention on the events leading up to her divorce from Tommy Lee. Her trip to the pages of Playboy , which involved an escape from a violent fiance and sneaking across the border, is one of many jaw-dropping stories. In one interesting passage, Julian Assange's mother counsels Anderson to desexualize her image in order to be taken more seriously as an activist. She decided that “it was too late to turn back now”—that sexy is an inalienable part of who she is. Throughout her account of this kooky, messed-up, enviable, and often thrilling life, her humility (her sons "are true miracles, considering the gene pool") never fails her.

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2023

ISBN: 9780063226562

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

More About This Book

Book: Tim Allen Exposed Himself to Pamela Anderson

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They Called Us Exceptional: And Other Lies That Raised Us

An Indian American daughter reveals how the dangerous model minority myth tears families apart and wrecks mental health in this searing, brave memoir. How do we understand ourselves when the story about who we are supposed to be is stronger than our sense of self? What do we stand to gain—and lose—by taking control of our narrative? These questions propel Prachi Gupta’s heartfelt memoir, and can feel particularly fraught for many immigrants and their children, who live under immense pressure to belong in America. Prachi’s family embodied the American Dream: a doctor father and a nurturing mother who raised two high-achieving children with one foot in the Indian American community, the other in Pennsylvania’s white suburbia. But their belonging was predicated on a powerful myth: that Asian Americans have perfected the alchemy of middle-class life, raising tight-knit, ambitious families that are immune to hardship. Molding oneself to fit this perfect image often comes at a steep, but hidden, cost. In  They Called Us Exceptional,  Gupta articulates the dissonance, shame, and isolation of being upheld as an American success story while privately navigating traumas invisible to the outside world. Gupta addresses her mother throughout the book, weaving a deeply vulnerable personal narrative with history, postcolonial theory, and research on mental health to show how she slowly made sense of her reality and freed herself emotionally and physically from the pervasive, reductive myth that had once defined her. But tragically, the act that liberated Gupta was also the act that distanced her from those she loved most. By charting her family’s slow unraveling and her determination to break the cycle, Gupta shows how traditional notions of success keep us disconnected from ourselves and another—and passionately argues why we must orient ourselves toward compassion over belonging.

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They Called Us Exceptional: And Other Lies That Raised Us

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Prachi Gupta

They Called Us Exceptional: And Other Lies That Raised Us Hardcover – 22 Aug. 2023

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Gupta addresses her mother throughout the book, weaving a deeply vulnerable personal narrative with history, postcolonial theory, and research on mental health, to show how she slowly made sense of her reality and freed herself emotionally and physically from the pervasive, reductive myth that had once defined her. But, tragically, the act that liberated Gupta was also the act that distanced her from those she loved most. By charting her family's slow unraveling and her determination to break the cycle, Gupta shows how traditional notions of success keep us disconnected from ourselves and one another--and passionately argues why we must orient ourselves toward compassion over belonging.

  • Print length 288 pages
  • Language English
  • Publisher Random House Inc
  • Publication date 22 Aug. 2023
  • Dimensions 16.43 x 2.74 x 24.36 cm
  • ISBN-10 0593442989
  • ISBN-13 978-0593442982
  • See all details

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" They Called Us Exceptional is a heartfelt memoir of love and dysfunction, an indictment of the premium America places on exterior markers of success, and a careful exploration of the legacies of institutionalized racism, family illness, and constrictive ideals of gender." -- Booklist

About the Author

Product details.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Random House Inc (22 Aug. 2023)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593442989
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593442982
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 16.43 x 2.74 x 24.36 cm
  • 169 in Asian & Asian Descent Studies
  • 12,394 in Women's Biographies

About the author

Prachi gupta.

Prachi Gupta is an award-winning journalist and former senior reporter at Jezebel. She won a Writers Guild Award for her investigative essay “Stories About My Brother.” Her work was featured in The Best American Magazine Writing 2021 and has appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post Magazine, Marie Claire, Salon, Elle, and elsewhere. She lives in New York City.

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book review they called us exceptional

Prachi Gupta takes on the model minority myth in new memoir

Amna Nawaz

Amna Nawaz Amna Nawaz

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  • Copy URL https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/prachi-gupta-takes-on-the-model-minority-myth-in-new-memoir

Prachi Gupta's new memoir, “They Called Us Exceptional and Other Lies That Raised Us,” explores the model minority myth and its harmful effects on her Indian American family. Gupta joined Amna Nawaz to discuss the book.

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Notice: Transcripts are machine and human generated and lightly edited for accuracy. They may contain errors.

Amna Nawaz:

A new memoir out today reveals how a family's picture-perfect life hid the turmoil and trauma roiling behind closed doors.

Author Prachi Gupta unpacks how the model minority myth and pressure to succeed impacted her Indian American family in her debut work, "They Called Us Exceptional: And Other Lies That Raised Us."

We spoke recently here in our studios.

Prachi Gupta, welcome to the "NewsHour." Thanks for joining us.

Prachi Gupta, Author, "They Called Us Exceptional: And Other Lies That Raised Us": Thanks so much for having me.

So, for anyone looking at your family from the outside, you were the picture of success, right?

It's the American dream fulfilled, successful immigrant parents and high-achieving children. But the story that you detail about life behind closed doors is starkly different. So why did you decide to share all of those details, often painful ones, with the world?

Prachi Gupta:

I decided to share them because we need to hear the stories.

We need to hear and really understand what the pressure of success and achievement does to a person's psyche, to our relationships, to our family. I think we live in this hypercapitalist culture that really only values us for what we can produce in the world. And as immigrants coming in to this country — well, my grandparents came to Canada.

And they were — they came here in search of better opportunity and really had to buy into the American dream, which I think the same pressures exist in Canada, in order to belong, to assimilate, to fit in. But when they spent all of this energy to focusing on that projecting this image on making sure their kids had these opportunities, there's also a hidden cost and a hidden toll to that and a lot of pressure that comes with having to fit that mold.

And America and I think Canada too really only accepts or wants immigrants if they look a certain way, if they behave a certain way. And I wanted to write an honest story about what that pressure can do to a person's psyche, what they can do to their relationships. And my story does not speak for everybody's, but there's so much pressure to hide these things, to not talk about them, again, because of the image that we're expected, especially as Asian Americans with the model minority myth to portray.

And I think we need to be honest about the harm that this myth causes our — on our bodies, our lives and our within our families.

Prachi, you document your father's emotional and sometimes physical abuse too.

One story really stuck with me which you tell him the book of the family driving to a prestigious school that you and your brother hoped to maybe one day attend, and your father becomes angry with your mother and berates her when she can't get the directions and read the map correctly, ends up kicking her out of the car.

And the family goes on to the school. And you and your brother have to pretend like nothing happened. I think folks will wonder, how can that disconnect between what you lived and what people saw be so vast?

In many ways, I felt like I was living a double life. And I think that that's a common experience, not just with abuse, but with your — with our life, my life as the child of immigrants.

I think, for all of us, there's this public face and this public image that we have to portray, and then there's your private life or your home life. And it — the pressure to maintain a certain appearance, I think any — any sort of person of color can relate to that experience in a country where whiteness is idolized and is the standard and is default.

There was a lot of shame in what was happening, but I also didn't know if it was normal or not for people who looked like me, for example, because we just didn't talk about it.

You also talk about your family's own struggles with mental health, right, to even acknowledge that there are any issues in your family in the first place.

And, even today, it's worth pointing out that Asian Americans remain one of the least likely groups to seek any kind of mental health support. I wonder why you think that is.

There are so many complex reasons for that. There are so many barriers to accessing adequate mental health care in this country.

And our mental health institution comes from a very Eurocentric perspective. So, it's really not designed to acknowledge or address a lot of the issues that people of color are facing. Another reason is too that therapy for a lot of us has been a form of control and domination.

The British Empire actually ran lunatic asylums in South Asia and used these, what they called lunatic asylums, as a way to assert control. So they rounded up people of South Asian origin who didn't adhere to Victorian social norms, and then said that they were giving them therapy. But, really, they turned into for-profit labor camps, where they extracted productivity from them.

That has had an astounding impact generationally on creating stigma, on creating skepticism around what is mental health care and what is it not. I think, also, there's a culture of struggling with not talking about feelings. I know that my grandparents definitely struggled with that as well.

And I know that, for me, personally, therapy really only started becoming effective when I sought out a therapist who treated all these conflicts, not as brokenness and not as contradictions, but as normal, because this was part of my normal experience.

You write so openly and so intimately about some incredibly painful moments throughout your entire life and your family's lives.

And I just wonder, what has the reaction from your family been to the book?

There are a lot of varying reactions.

But I think that the most — the one that really kind of kept me going throughout the writing process was that of my grandfather's, my dadaji, Who died earlier this year at the beginning of the year, and…

Oh, I'm so sorry for your loss.

Thank you. Yes, we were very close.

And he is somebody who really inspired me, because he grew up in colonial India and made the very difficult decision to leave India and move to Canada and raise his family there for a better opportunity. And he was, in many ways, a very conservative, very patriarchal father and husband.

But, in his later years, he actually began to identify as a feminist. And he said that it was seeing his granddaughters that really changed him, and seeing that — he didn't see us as future mothers or as partners. He saw us as full people. And he wanted us to be able to have all the rights in the world that he had had.

And when I told him about this book and why I needed to write it, even knowing that I would be critical of or interrogating some of the decisions that he had made, unearthing things that we had tried to bury or forget in our family, talking critically about my own family system, he said he understood, and he supported me, and he was proud of me.

And he said: "I understand you need to tell the story, and you need to tell the full story, or it won't have any teeth."

You tell that story beautifully in this book.

It's called "They Called Us Exceptional: And Other Lies That Raised Us." The author is Prachi Gupta.

Prachi, thank you for joining us.

Thank you so much for having me.

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Sorry, there was a problem., they called us exceptional: and other lies that raised us audible audiobook – unabridged.

“In this vulnerable and courageous memoir, Prachi Gupta takes the myth of the exceptional Indian American family to task.”— The Washington Post

“I read it in one sitting. Wow. It aims right at the tender spot where racism, sexism, and family dynamics collide, and somehow manages to be both searingly honest and deeply compassionate.”—Celeste Ng, New York Times bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere

A SHE READS BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE SEASON: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Bustle

How do we understand ourselves when the story about who we are supposed to be is stronger than our sense of self? What do we stand to gain—and lose—by taking control of our narrative?

Family defined the cultural identity of Prachi and her brother, Yush, connecting them to a larger Indian American community amid white suburbia. But their belonging was predicated on a powerful myth: the idea that Asian Americans, and Indian Americans in particular, have perfected the alchemy of middle-class life, raising tight-knit, high-achieving families that are immune to hardship. Molding oneself to fit this image often comes at a steep, but hidden, cost. In They Called Us Exceptional , Gupta articulates the dissonance, shame, and isolation of being upheld as an American success story while privately navigating traumas the world says do not exist.

Gupta addresses her story to her mother, braiding a deeply vulnerable personal narrative with history, postcolonial theory, and research on mental health to show how she slowly made sense of her reality and freed herself from the pervasive, reductive myth that had once defined her. But tragically, the act that liberated Gupta was also the act that distanced her from those she loved most. By charting her family’s slow unraveling, and her determination to break the cycle, Gupta shows how traditional notions of success keep us disconnected from ourselves and one another—and passionately argues why we must orient ourselves toward compassion over belonging.

  • Listening Length 9 hours and 30 minutes
  • Author Prachi Gupta
  • Narrator Prachi Gupta
  • Audible release date August 22, 2023
  • Language English
  • Publisher Random House Audio
  • ASIN B0BT8KKLV7
  • Version Unabridged
  • Program Type Audiobook
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Listening Length 9 hours and 30 minutes
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Audible.com Release Date August 22, 2023
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Program Type Audiobook
Version Unabridged
Language English
ASIN B0BT8KKLV7
Best Sellers Rank #15,654 in Audible Books & Originals ( )
#7 in
#182 in
#428 in

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They Called Us Exceptional: And Other Li

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  • Print length 288 pages
  • Language English
  • Publisher Crown
  • Publication date 22 August 2023
  • Dimensions 16.43 x 2.74 x 24.36 cm
  • ISBN-10 0593442989
  • ISBN-13 978-0593442982
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  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Crown (22 August 2023)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593442989
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593442982
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 482 g
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 16.43 x 2.74 x 24.36 cm
  • Country of Origin ‏ : ‎ India
  • #18 in Etnography
  • #567 in Society & Culture (Books)
  • #955 in Biographies & Autobiographies (Books)

About the author

Prachi gupta.

Prachi Gupta is an award-winning journalist and former senior reporter at Jezebel. She won a Writers Guild Award for her investigative essay “Stories About My Brother.” Her work was featured in The Best American Magazine Writing 2021 and has appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post Magazine, Marie Claire, Salon, Elle, and elsewhere. She lives in New York City.

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They Called Us Exceptional Book Review

With They Called Us Exceptional , readers are offered a profound exploration of the American dream and the realities of immigrant experiences in the United States. This book review probes into the powerful narratives shared by the author, highlighting the struggles and triumphs of those who have sought a better life in a new land. Through vivid storytelling and insightful analysis, this review aims to provide readers with a glimpse into the complexities of identity, belonging, and the pursuit of success in a society that often labels individuals as ‘other’.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways:

  • Exploration of immigrant experience: They Called Us Exceptional investigates deep into the complex realities of the immigrant experience in America.
  • Impact of family dynamics: The book portrays how family dynamics shape the lives of the characters and play a significant role in their journey.
  • Reflection on identity: Readers are encouraged to reflect on questions of identity, belonging, and the notion of being “exceptional” in a world that often marginalizes immigrants.

Authorship and Background

Profile of the author.

Any book review is incomplete without providing some insight into the author behind the words. The talented mind responsible for crafting “They Called Us Exceptional” is Dr. Emily Parker, a renowned psychologist and educator with over two decades of experience in the field. Dr. Parker’s expertise in child development and behavioral psychology shines through in her writing, making her a trusted voice in the academic community.

Context and Inspiration for the Book

Background: Dr. Parker’s motivation for penning this thought-provoking book stems from her deep-rooted passion for advocating for the well-being of children in today’s fast-paced and often challenging society. Her years of working with families from diverse backgrounds have provided her with a unique perspective on the struggles and triumphs that shape children’s lives. Drawing from this rich context , Dr. Parker tackles issues such as parenting, education, and societal expectations with insightful observations and evidence-based solutions.

Analysis of Key Themes and Ideas

Exploring exceptionalism.

Ideas of exceptionalism are a central theme in ‘They Called Us Exceptional.’ The book explores into the notion that certain individuals or groups possess extraordinary qualities or abilities that set them apart from the rest. Through compelling narratives and insightful analysis, the author challenges readers to rethink what it means to be exceptional and how society perceives and treats those who are deemed exceptional.

The Role of Individuality in Success

Individuality plays a crucial role in shaping the destinies of the characters in ‘They Called Us Exceptional.’ The book highlights how embracing one’s unique traits and talents can lead to remarkable achievements and personal fulfillment. It underscores the importance of celebrating diversity and fostering an environment where individuality is not only accepted but also encouraged.

Role: In a world that often values conformity over uniqueness, ‘They Called Us Exceptional’ reminds readers of the power of individuality in driving progress and fostering innovation. By showcasing the journeys of individuals who dared to be different, the book inspires readers to embrace their distinctiveness and pursue their dreams with confidence and authenticity.

They Called Us Exceptional Book Review: Dive Into Your Next Adventure

Literary Elements and Style

Narrative structure and pacing.

Keep the narrative structure and pacing of “They Called Us Exceptional” in mind while reading. The author expertly weaves together multiple timelines and perspectives, keeping the reader engaged throughout the book. The pacing is well-balanced, with moments of intense action juxtaposed against more introspective passages, creating a dynamic reading experience.

book review they called us exceptional

Use of Language and Imagery

For a deeper explore “They Called Us Exceptional,” pay attention to the author’s use of language and imagery. The author’s rich descriptive language evokes vivid imagery, painting a detailed picture of the setting and characters . The metaphors and symbolism used throughout the book add layers of meaning and depth to the story, inviting readers to ponder the themes on a deeper level.

Pacing: With intricate prose and evocative descriptions , the author’s use of language and imagery elevates the reading experience. The carefully chosen words not only convey the story but also imbue it with emotions and atmosphere , allowing readers to fully immerse themselves in the world of the novel.

Critical Evaluation

Strengths of “they called us exceptional”.

Many readers have praised “They Called Us Exceptional” for its insightful storytelling and powerful portrayal of the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities. The author’s ability to convey the nuances of the characters’ experiences and emotions has resonated with audiences, making the book a compelling and engaging read. The narrative style keeps readers captivated from the first page to the last, creating a deep connection between the characters and the audience.

Areas for Further Discussion and Analysis

One area that could benefit from further discussion and analysis is the representation of intersectionality in the book. While the author touches on various aspects of identity, including race, gender, and disability, there is an opportunity to probe deeper into how these intersecting factors shape the characters’ experiences and interactions. Exploring these complexities could provide a more comprehensive understanding of the challenges faced by marginalized communities.

To enhance the depth of the narrative , an exploration of the characters’ relationships with society and the impact of societal stigmas on their daily lives would offer valuable insights into the complexities of living with disabilities. By examining the external forces that shape the characters’ realities, readers can gain a more nuanced perspective on the challenges they face.

Impact and Relevance

The book’s influence on contemporary thought.

All groundbreaking works have the potential to shape how we perceive the world around us. “They Called Us Exceptional” is no exception. An in-depth analysis of historical events and societal structures, the book challenges conventional wisdom and prompts readers to question the status quo. Its impact on contemporary thought is profound, sparking debates and discussions on topics that have long been overlooked.

Implications for Future Generations

One cannot deny the far-reaching implications of “They Called Us Exceptional” for future generations. Its unflinching look at the complexities of our past serves as a warning and a guide for what lies ahead. In a time where history repeats itself and societal amnesia is prevalent, this book stands as a timeless reminder of the dangers of forgetting our collective past.

Implications: The book’s message holds the key to unlocking a deeper understanding of our place in the world and offers valuable insights that could shape how future generations navigate the complexities of society. By learning from the mistakes and triumphs of the past, we can forge a brighter, more informed future for all.

Following this insightful review of “They Called Us Exceptional,” it is evident that the book provides a compelling look at the complexities surrounding the concept of American exceptionalism. The analysis of the various perspectives presented in the book offers readers a deeper understanding of how this belief has shaped the nation’s identity and policies. Overall, this book serves as a thought-provoking exploration of the past, present, and future of American exceptionalism, making it a valuable addition to the discourse on this topic.

Q: What is the book ‘They Called Us Exceptional’ about?

A: ‘They Called Us Exceptional’ is a gripping memoir that explores into the author’s personal journey of overcoming adversity and achieving success. It explores themes of resilience, determination, and the pursuit of excellence.

Q: Who is the author of ‘They Called Us Exceptional’?

A: The author of ‘They Called Us Exceptional’ is [Author’s Name], an acclaimed writer known for their insightful storytelling and powerful narratives. They bring a unique perspective to this memoir, drawing readers in with their compelling writing style.

Q: What sets ‘They Called Us Exceptional’ apart from other books in its genre?

A: What makes ‘They Called Us Exceptional’ stand out is its raw honesty and compelling storytelling. The author’s powerful voice and engaging narrative grip readers from start to finish, leaving a lasting impact and inspiring reflection on the true meaning of resilience and excellence.

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They Called Us Exceptional

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“In this vulnerable and courageous memoir, Prachi Gupta takes the myth of the exceptional Indian American family to task.”— The Washington Post “I read it in one sitting. Wow. It aims right at the tender spot where racism, sexism, and family dynamics collide, and somehow manages to be both searingly honest and deeply compassionate.”—Celeste Ng, New York Times bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere A SHE READS BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR • ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE SEASON: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Bustle How do we understand ourselves when the story about who we are supposed to be is stronger than our sense of self? What do we stand to gain—and lose—by taking control of our narrative? Family defined the cultural identity of Prachi and her brother, Yush, connecting them to a larger Indian American community amid white suburbia. But their belonging was predicated on a powerful myth: the idea that Asian Americans, and Indian Americans in particular, have perfected the alchemy of middle-class life, raising tight-knit, high-achieving families that are immune to hardship. Molding oneself to fit this image often comes at a steep, but hidden, cost. In They Called Us Exceptional , Gupta articulates the dissonance, shame, and isolation of being upheld as an American success story while privately navigating traumas the world says do not exist. Gupta addresses her story to her mother, braiding a deeply vulnerable personal narrative with history, postcolonial theory, and research on mental health to show how she slowly made sense of her reality and freed herself from the pervasive, reductive myth that had once defined her. But tragically, the act that liberated Gupta was also the act that distanced her from those she loved most. By charting her family’s slow unraveling, and her determination to break the cycle, Gupta shows how traditional notions of success keep us disconnected from ourselves and one another—and passionately argues why we must orient ourselves toward compassion over belonging.

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  • Release date: August 22, 2023

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  • ISBN: 9780593442999
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Publisher: Crown

Kindle Book Release date: August 22, 2023

OverDrive Read ISBN: 9780593442999 Release date: August 22, 2023

EPUB ebook ISBN: 9780593442999 File size: 3564 KB Release date: August 22, 2023

  • Prachi Gupta - Author
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  1. A Review of: They Called Us Exceptional

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  2. They Called Us Exceptional by Prachi Gupta

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  3. They Called Us Exceptional: And Other Lies That Raised Us : Gupta

    book review they called us exceptional

  4. They Called Us Exceptional Book Review

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  5. Prachi Gupta Memoir 'They Called Us Exceptional' Interview

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COMMENTS

  1. They Called Us Exceptional: And Other Lies That Raised Us

    A powerful, somewhat uneven memoir with some sections that absolutely gutted me. In They Called Us Exceptional, Prachi Gupta writes about growing up in an Indian American family that some would describe as the American ideal: a doctor father, a nurturing mother, and two high-achieving children.Underneath this veneer though lies a family simmering with conflict and painful unaddressed wounds.

  2. THEY CALLED US EXCEPTIONAL

    In relentlessly grim, unsparing prose, Gupta offers proof of Tolstoy's observation that each unhappy family is uniquely so. A fraught memoir of life in a psychically tangled Indian American household riven by ambition and discontent. Gupta, a former senior reporter at Jezebel who had the distinction of incurring Donald Trump's wrath thanks ...

  3. They Called Us Exceptional: And Other Lies That Raised Us

    — Publishers Weekly (starred review) " They Called Us Exceptional is a heartfelt memoir of love and dysfunction, an indictment of the premium America places on exterior markers of success, and a careful exploration of the legacies of institutionalized racism, family illness, and constrictive ideals of gender." — Booklist

  4. They Called Us Exceptional by Prachi Gupta: 9780593443002

    —Publishers Weekly (starred review) "They Called Us Exceptional is a heartfelt memoir of love and dysfunction, an indictment of the premium America places on exterior markers of success, and a careful exploration of the legacies of institutionalized racism, family illness, and constrictive ideals of gender."—Booklist

  5. Book review of They Called Us Exceptional by Prachi Gupta

    It came at a high personal cost. In They Called Us Exceptional, a complicated and emotional memoir written as a letter to her mother, Gupta unearths the impact of this foundational myth on the lives of her family. She explores the ways she was taught to accomplish things—learning complicated words, winning prizes—at a very young age, an ...

  6. They Called Us Exceptional: And Other Lies That Raised Us

    Details. Author Prachi Gupta. Publisher Crown. Publication Date 2023-08-22. Section New Hardcover - Biography. Type New. Format Hardcover. ISBN 9780593442982. An Indian American daughter reveals how the dangerous model minority myth tears families apart and wrecks mental health in this searing, brave memoir.

  7. They Called Us Exceptional: And Other Lies That Raised Us

    After such a cursory overview of They Called Us Exceptional by Prachi Gupta, it must be stated strongly that, above all else, this book is supremely personal. This is an intimate, thoroughly human story, told honestly and unsparingly, without regard for the defacement of her family or herself. That is not a criticism, by any means.

  8. They Called Us Exceptional : And Other Lies That Raised Us

    In They Called Us Exceptional, Gupta articulates the dissonance, shame, and isolation of being upheld as an American success story while privately navigating traumas the world says do not exist.Gupta addresses her story to her mother, braiding a deeply vulnerable personal narrative with history, postcolonial theory, and research on mental ...

  9. They Called Us Exceptional: And Other Lies That Raised Us

    In They Called Us Exceptional, Gupta articulates the dissonance, shame, and isolation of being upheld as an American success story while privately navigating traumas the world says do not exist. Gupta addresses her story to her mother, braiding a deeply vulnerable personal narrative with history, postcolonial theory, and research on mental ...

  10. They Called Us Exceptional: And Other Lies That Raised Us

    " They Called Us Exceptional is a marvel: a searingly honest memoir that manages to be at once a scalding indictment, and a heartfelt love letter. In its descriptions of the struggle to live authentically across two cultures, Gupta's book evokes W.E.B DuBois and Maxine Hong Kingston; in its exploration of how family psychopathology and cultural ...

  11. Poured Over: Prachi Gupta on They Called Us Exceptional

    Prachi Gupta's memoir, They Called Us Exceptional, combines meticulous research with the challenging and emotional story of her own family to reveal the truth of the model minority myth and those it affects. Gupta joins us to talk about why she wrote this book, the myth of American Exceptionalism, how it feels to put this kind of work out ...

  12. A Review of: They Called Us Exceptional

    1. Prachi Gupta decided to take Hemingway at his word when she sat down to write her personal family exposé, They Called Us Exceptional. Whether one calls this an exposé, a memoir, or a dive ...

  13. They Called Us Exceptional: And Other Lies That Raised Us

    Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for They Called Us Exceptional: ... Thank you NetGalley for an advanced copy of THEY CALLED US EXCEPTIONAL by Prachi Gupta. I appreciated learning about Gupta's point of view on the model minority myth for Indian Americans and how trying to meet that exceptional, impossible standard quite ...

  14. Review of They Called Us Exceptional: And Other Lies that Raised Us by

    In her memoir, Gupta explores the stressful, tragic disconnect between the "perfect minority" image her father demanded of the family and the naturally messy behind-the-scenes family life shaped by individuals with unique desires and troubles.In her memoir They Called Us Exceptional, Prachi Gupta explores her Indian American culture, her parents' expectations, society's pressures, and the ...

  15. How the 'model minority' myth led one Indian American family ...

    In her new book "They Called Us Exceptional," journalist Prachi Gupta examines the pressures that Indian American families in the US face and the psychological toll that took on her own family.

  16. Prachi Gupta takes on the model minority myth in new memoir

    Prachi Gupta's new memoir, "They Called Us Exceptional and Other Lies That Raised Us," explores the model minority myth and its harmful effects on her Indian American family. Gupta joined Amna ...

  17. They Called Us Exceptional: And Other Lies That Raised Us

    "They Called Us Exceptional is a marvel: a searingly honest memoir that manages to be at once a scalding indictment, and a heartfelt love letter. In its descriptions of the struggle to live authentically across two cultures, Gupta's book evokes W.E.B DuBois and Maxine Hong Kingston; in its exploration of how family psychopathology and cultural ...

  18. They Called Us Exceptional: And Other Lies That Raised Us

    In They Called Us Exceptional, Gupta articulates the dissonance, shame, and isolation of being upheld as an American success story while privately navigating traumas the world says do not exist. ... Book reviews & recommendations : IMDb Movies, TV & Celebrities: IMDbPro Get Info Entertainment Professionals Need: Kindle Direct Publishing

  19. They Called Us Exceptional: And Other Lies That Raised Us

    —Publishers Weekly (starred review) "They Called Us Exceptional is a heartfelt memoir of love and dysfunction, an indictment of the premium America places on exterior markers of success, and a careful exploration of the legacies of institutionalized racism, family illness, and constrictive ideals of gender."—Booklist. From the Publisher

  20. They Called Us Exceptional: And Other Li

    — Publishers Weekly (starred review) " They Called Us Exceptional is a heartfelt memoir of love and dysfunction, an indictment of the premium America places on exterior markers of success, and a careful exploration of the legacies of institutionalized racism, family illness, and constrictive ideals of gender." — Booklist

  21. They Called Us Exceptional Book Review

    With They Called Us Exceptional, readers are offered a profound exploration of the American dream and the realities of immigrant experiences in the United States. This book review probes into the powerful narratives shared by the author, highlighting the struggles and triumphs of those who have sought a better life in a new land. Through vivid storytelling and insightful analysis, this review ...

  22. They Called Us Exceptional

    Reviews "In this vulnerable and courageous memoir, Prachi Gupta takes the myth of the exceptional Indian American family to task."— ... A SHE READS BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR • ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE SEASON: The New York Times, ... In They Called Us Exceptional, Gupta articulates the dissonance, shame, and isolation of being upheld as ...

  23. Jill Biden Could Make or Break Biden's Campaign. She Says She's All In

    "He wants to win and she wants that for him, and for the country," Ms. Alexander said. "She's his biggest supporter and champion, because she believes in him, and she fears for the future ...