The Grand Plan to Fix Everything Book Review

The Grand Plan to Fix Everything by Uma Krishnaswami

Dini is moving to India. Although unhappy about the move, upon arrival she grows more and more excited for she her favorite Bollywood starlet is staying in the same village and Dini just knows she will be able to meet her movie idol.

I will begin this review with a small caveat...I couldn't finish it. I tried. And tried. And tried. I managed to get past the middle and slogged through 3/4 and then I just gave up. Why? Because I didn't care. Not about Dini or Dolly Singh or any of it. Dini never felt like a real character to me. Written in third person omniscient, I always felt so far away from her. We heard her thoughts, but there was nothing about Dini that really made her stand out to me. Nothing about her voice that really grabbed me.

The hardest thing though was that this was the kind of setting that was ripe for description and sensory overload. Instead, India felt bland and boring with some monkeys and a few interesting villagers for some flavor. Either the author forgot that we (the readers) have never been to India or she thought that the pictures would help add flavor. Where was the sounds of the city? What did the air smell like? There was absolutely no description of the heat. For someone who hates hot, that would have been nice to hear about. Perhaps Dini doesn't notice it, but I know the weather has to be different from Maryland. On the bright side, Uma does capture some of the sounds of India like sneezing and car horns.

The illustrations were lovely and did help provide authenticity as well as insight into the country and characters, which is what good illustrations should do.

I know books about other cultures are all the rage with editors these days and who can blame them, the exotic feel to them linking young readers to other children around the world. I imagine that those who have grown up in this culture will get a lot more out of this book though. I desperately wanted to be transported to India, but I think there was too much I didn't know and didn't understand and I needed to author to take a moment and lay down a little more groundwork for me. Young readers may or may not have a problem with this, but I imagine for some this will be a magical adventure and for others a adventure story with not enough flavor. Sadly, I fell into the second category.