Day 130: Under the Lemon Trees

Cover for Under the Lemon TreesIn Under the Lemon Trees a high school girl tries to live her dreams while being held back by tradition and her family’s expectations.

In the beginning of the novel it is 1970’s California and Jeeto’s sister has just been hurried into marriage with a stranger. Jeeto finds out later that this happened because her sister had been pregnant by a local boy and lost the child. As a result, Jeeto’s mother is even more determined to marry her off directly after she graduates high school even though Jeeto has been offered a scholarship at Berkeley. And, in  the meantime, Jeeto develops a relationship with another local  boy.

Jeeto also tells the story of her uncle’s lost love when he first came to America as a Punjabi Sikh and eventually helped found the Sikh settlement in Oak Grove, California.

The plot of the novel was interesting, but I got frustrated with Jeeto. She was too ready to give up her dreams. I realize that there are cultural issues involved in the question of whether Jeeto can go to college, but what I found frustrating was not that Jeeto would give up her dreams but that she would not even fight for them.

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