Forward Me Back to You by Mitali Perkins
Kat, skilled in the art of Brazilian jujitsu, is brutally assaulted in her school’s stairwell by a popular member of the basketball team. She escapes, but the incident has scarred her, leaving her wary of men and emotionally shattered. When she reports the assault, her attacker pleads a convincing defense, denying her accusation. School becomes unbearable due to the constant presence of her assailant as well as the questioning looks and snide remarks from fellow students. A family friend arranges for her to leave her California home and live with an understanding friend in Boston.
Robin, the adopted son of wealthy, well-connected Boston parents, is completing his high school senior year. His father plans his life trajectory beginning with a college education. Robin feels unsure and unsettled, with questions regarding his birth and subsequent adoption.
Guess everyone has a backstory.
How much of himself would remain if he could press REWIND and start life again?
Piece of Cake
There is a lovely scene where the Asha House residents surprise one of the volunteers with a birthday cake. In turn, each girl feeds the honoree a piece of cake, while telling her something they admire about her. I like this tradition and will continue it by sharing some virtual bites of cake with Ms. Perkins.
- Superheroes.There are numerous references to superheroes. Both Robin and Kat are superhero movie afficianados and often reference specific heroes. Kat describes Robin's quest as “Kal-El's search for the planet Krypton." Both Robin and Kat develop qualities (superpowers) that they never would have dreamed possible.
Too many villains. Not enough heroes. The real world’s nothing like the movies.
- Animal names. Kat works at the local zoo and is conversant in animal taxinomany. She secretly refers to individuals by a specific animal species. The dignified Mrs. Vee is Ibis. Host of the home where she initially stays is Hyena man. Robin is Bird Boy. Her attacker is a wolf.
- Kolkata. Perkins paints vivid pictures of life in this fascinating city, from the grandeur of Victoria Memorial and the noble work at Mother House to the seamy underbelly of the city where innocent young girls are captured and exploited. Urban sights and sounds are everywhere: rickshaws, drenching rain showers, and cardamom-spiced chai.
A Personal Perspective
“People who are adoptive parents know that they aren’t a hero or a villain. They are just a parent.”