Radikal Readings: Good Girls Marry Doctors: South Asian American Daughters on Obedience and Rebellion

While my family is from the Fiji Islands and has been there for generations, we are of South Asian decent. This means that there are still cultures and norms that I can relate to on a certain level. One of those to an extend is the pressure placed on South Asian American daughters to behave a certain way.

Piyali Bhattacharya’s compilation has a theme of the burden of expectations placed on daughters with stories from South Asian American women on their experiences growing up. What I appreciate is that each story reflects the multiple facets of daughterhood. As the book’s description says, “Her gratitude for her immigrant parents’ sacrifices creates intense pressure to perform and embody the role of the “perfect daughter.” Yet, the demand for such perfection can stifle desire, curb curiosity, and make it fraught for a Good Girl to construct her own identity in the face of stern parental opinion.”

The stories are simultaneously heart-warming and heart-breaking. I immediately handed it off to my cousin to read, as this is one of those books that I think every South Asian American can appreciate, and really, immigrant woman of color in general. I hope to see more immigrant woman of color not just telling their stories but those stories being published and shared widely.

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