Review: IF YOU SEE ME, DON’T SAY HI by Neel Patel

Janelle Book Reviews, Contemporary, Finished Copy, Flatiron Books, From Publisher, Short Stories 1 Comment

Thank you so much to Flatiron Books for providing my free copy – all opinions are my own. 

Description: 

In eleven sharp, surprising stories, Neel Patel gives voice to our most deeply held stereotypes and then slowly undermines them. His characters, almost all of who are first-generation Indian Americans, subvert our expectations that they will sit quietly by. We meet two brothers caught in an elaborate web of envy and loathing; a young gay man who becomes involved with an older man whose secret he could never guess; three women who almost gleefully throw off the pleasant agreeability society asks of them; and, in the final pair of linked stories, a young couple struggling against the devastating force of community gossip. 

My Review: 

This is an incredible debut collection of eleven short stories about love and loss with wonderful and thoughtful characters. These stories negate the stereotypes of Indian Americans and show a wide range of interesting characters who lead different lifestyles but who all have one thing in common: they are each faced with life changing decisions. I love that each story is unique but as a collection, it’s cohesive. It’s a brilliantly written collection and I love every story in it.

A number of standouts for me include the opening story, God of Destruction, which is about a young woman who has a one night stand with the cable guy; Just a Friend, which is about a twenty-two year-old gay man who has a brief affair with an older married man but is dying to know what else he is hiding; the title story, which is about two brothers who have been estranged for ten years and is told from the perspective of the younger sibling; Hare Rama, Hare Krishna which centers around a teenager who has to deal with his parent’s marital issues while coming to terms with his own sexuality; and the final two stories which are linked together called World Famous and Radha, Krishna which follow a boy and a girl who have a relationship as kids then again as adults. Overall, this is a beautiful collection with relatable, intriguing characters filled with profound empathy with an underlying theme of loss. There is so much emotion but also moments of humor. A truly excellent collection even if you are not a short story reader, I highly recommend you give this one a try.

My rating is 5 out of 5 stars! 

Click here to purchase on Amazon. 

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