Anita and Me by Meera Syal

Published May 18, 2021

Anita and Me by Meera Syal

Book info

  • Title Anita and Me
  • Author Meera Syal
  • Year 1997
  • Genre Young adult

Nine-year-old Meena can’t wait to grow up and break free from her parents. But, as the daughter of the only Punjabi family in the mining village of Tollington, her struggle for independence is different from most. Meena wants fishfingers and chips, not chapati and dhal; she wants an English Christmas, not the usual interminable Punjabi festivities – but more than anything, she wants to roam the backyards of working-class Tollington with feisty Anita Rutter and her gang. Blonde, cool, aloof, outrageous and sassy, Anita is everything Meena thinks she wants to be. Meena wheedles her way into Anita’s life, but the arrival of a baby brother, teenage hormones, impending entrance exams for the posh grammar school and a motorcycling rebel without a future threaten to turn Anita’s salad days sour.


Syal writes with such intimate depth and expression that you get a wonderful and vivid picture of life as a youngster in the Midlands at that time. It’s a difficult book, touching upon the difficult subject of immigration which is layered on top of the already troublesome time of growing up. It feels like Meena is too young for some of the things she goes through, but life comes at you fast, and it’s a great, moving, alarming and comforting story about family, friends and everything in between.

Rating: 3 / 5

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