My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A beautiful, elegant tribute to love, difference and life; Artichoke Hearts is something really rather special. The debut novel of Sita Brahmachari, narrated by young Mira Levenson, is one of those quietly stunning books that sidles into your heart and won’t leave easily.
Told in a first person narrative, we join Mira just as she’s about to start attending Literature Club. If that weren’t enough to deal with, things are a bit awkward with her best friend, she’s getting bullied at school, she’s about to have her first period, and her beloved Nana is dying. It is, to put it simply, a fairly difficult time.
Artichoke Hearts covers some hard topics and it’s harrowing at points. But what it is, even during those moments when your heart breaks, is a very very beautiful book. Mira is adorable. She’s warm, bright, and ridiculously engaging. It’s hard to not fall in love with her.
If I sound like I’m gushing, I am. It’s a brilliantly good coming-of-age novel. There’s a level of simplicity to Brahmachari’s prose that is refreshing and ridiculously gorgeous. She writes with a very beautiful precision that, when it comes to the more painful moments, the text can do nothing but cut straight through you. She’s not afraid about discussing the issues that matter to teenage girls – periods! boys! spots! – and she’s able to present these in such a lovely, warm, empathic manner that you can’t help but engage with the characters and will them through the darkness.
I loved this. I loved this so much. Artichoke Hearts is a rarity, such a beautiful and brilliant rarity, and Brahmachari is superb. Nothing more needs to be said.