Saturday, July 5, 2014

May This Be the Best Year of Your Life - Sandra Bornstein

Genre: Memoir, Adult
Source: I received a copy from the author in exchange for my honest review

From Goodreads:
After stepping out of her comfort zone of American suburbia, Sandra Bornstein found herself in a life altering experience that made her question the meaning of marital bliss. Living alone in a three-hundred-square-foot dorm room, she taught fifth grade at a renowned international boarding school in Bangalore. This compelling, honest, and edifying memoir shares everything she learned about perseverance, travel, education, faith, and family. Had Sandra never resided in India, she would have missed out on an experience that ultimately enhanced her resiliency, confidence, and passion for life.

My Thoughts:
I would love to be as adventurous as the author of this book is.  I see her as not only a creative person, but a very brave soul.  As I read her book I kept thinking, I would not have the  courage to go to another country and function at times on my own. It didn’t matter that part of that time she was with her husband or her son.  When her husband as a terrible accident back in the states she is finally offered a teaching position in India.  She bravely takes the job.  I understand why.  As terrifying as it is, there is a part of her that knows if she doesn’t do this she will always regret not trying.  Her time there with her husband helped prepare her somewhat. A lot of what she had to do had to be faced by herself.  I loved the depiction of the Indian people and their culture.  I am lucky in that my school has a very large Indian population.  Many of my Indian students take extended periods of time to go back to their country during the summer or holidays. Some of them return for weddings.  Their parents have come in and held festivals at our school to teach our other students about their culture.  It helps that I teach at and IB (International Baccalaureate) school which encourages the learning of diverse cultures.  I feel there is so much I can learn from my students as I try to teach them.  The most fascinating thing I have learned is that you can’t lump them all together into one “Indian pot”.  There country and cultures are as diverse as ours here in America.  The author has done an excellent job of showing that.  She has shown the hardships and inequity faced by so many when it comes to education.  It makes me glad I live here in the United States.  I have heard some of these kinds of stories from my Indian students.  Some of them came here because of relatives moving here. Most came here because of the educational and economical opportunities.  It irritates me when I hear people put my Indian students down.  I was in charge of the spelling bee at my school a few years back.  When we went to the county competition the two people who ended up competing for first and second place were both Indians. A man sitting behind me said to his wife, “Of course it would be one of the Indian’s, they don’t have a life outside of studying.” At that point I wanted to turn and blast the man. I kept thinking, if our students and their families have had the opportunity to see the life some of them have seen without education then they would understand the importance of education.  I believe that is one of our downfalls here in America.  We take everything for granted.  There are so many things to be learned, not only about the Indian culture and lifestyle from this author. By bravely telling us her story she makes us take a good hard look at love, family and life in general.  It is written with pride and joy and with her whole heart thrown in for just the right emotional mix.  This is a book that I whole heartedly recommend to my friends.  It is one I will be taking back to school with me in the fall to share with my fellow teachers.

About the Author:
Sandra Bornstein is a licensed Colorado teacher with a Linguistically Diverse Education K-12 endorsement and two masters' degrees- one in education and the other in Jewish Studies. She has taught K-12 and college-level students in both the private and public sectors in the United States and abroad. Married to Ira, a lawyer, she has four adult sons and currently lives in Colorado.

Her Website www.sandrabornstein


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