Sugarbread ePUB ↠ Paperback

Sugarbread [Download] ➽ Sugarbread ➽ Balli Kaur Jaswal – Thomashillier.co.uk Shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize for FictionShortlisted for the Singapore Book Award for FictionFinalist for the Epigram Books Fiction PrizePin must not become like her mother, but no Shortlisted for theSingapore Literature Prize for FictionShortlisted for theSingapore Book Award for FictionFinalist for theEpigram books Fiction PrizePin must not become like her mother, but nobody will tell her why She seeks clues in Ma s cooking when she s not fighting other battles being a bursary girl at an elite school and facing racial taunts from the bus uncle Then her meddlesome grandmother moves in, installing a portrait of a watchful Sikh guru and a new set of house rules Old secrets begin to surface but can Pin handle learning the truth.


10 thoughts on “Sugarbread

  1. Xueting Xueting says:

    A slow, beautiful read I love love LOVED the author s most recent book, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Women, so I really wanted to read her earlier stuff especially as they are set in Singapore I felt quite clearly that the author s writing improved from Sugarbread to Erotic Stories, which is great for her For Sugarbread, I had trouble getting into the story and the narrative style at the start, because of some abrupt and slightly confusing flashbacks, and the overload of descriptions A slow, beautiful read I love love LOVED the author s most recent book, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Women, so I really wanted to read her earlier stuff especially as they are set in Singapore I felt quite clearly that the author s writing improved from Sugarbread to Erotic Stories, which is great for her For Sugarbread, I had trouble getting into the story and the narrative style at the start, because of some abrupt and slightly confusing flashbacks, and the overload of descriptions to set the scene of 90s Singapore That last one really slowed the pace down in a frustrating way There were also a lot of secrets going on that not so much intrigued me as made me impatient, because i could totally guess the basics of what happened in the past, but our young MC, Pin, was too innocent she kept narrating her confusion Also, i could tell that the impact of the secrets wasn t such a big deal as Pin and the author made it out to be What happened in the past turned out to be very serious, of course, and the emotional baggage is warranted But what I mean is, the revelation wouldn t and didn t do anything to affect the characters future much It s exciting to spot all these references to my country where i ve grown up and been living till today , but there were one too many details and explanations, it was quite clear the author was addressing and trying to cater to non Singaporeansthan Singaporeans like herself Nothing wrong with trying to help the book appeal to global readers, but I wish she could have found some middle ground And it s not like, the author s fault at all, but it irks me that books set in the US or England are written like I should just get all these references without explanation, but once it s a different religion or region we gotta give you the crash course and take away some of that spark which would have been there if we wrotenaturally and to the point Okay rant over So why four stars if it seems like I got a lot of criticism Once the story started to get going and the whole mystery of the secrets gotdevelopment, I felt very connected to the main characters Pin, her mother and her father They came very much alive and complex Although I felt like shaking her hard for not picking up some obvious clues sometimes, Pin is endearing, smart and mature There were also a lot of super incisive, nuanced and eye opening discussions of racism, sexism and religion in Singapore, I loved that As a Chinese in Singapore, i will never not need and appreciate these takes on our racial society from a non Chinese perspective, and i learned a lot about the Sikh community from this book The writing is ultimately beautiful, all that glorious images of food made me so hungry, and that last paragraph I re read it a few times in awe, it was not just a brilliant way to close the story, it also warmed my heart We also don t have many contemporary young adult, coming of age novels in Singapore too, so this one is special The author is definitely my favourite local author and I can t wait to read the book she wrote before this one Yes i m going it backwards


  2. Em*bedded-in-books* Em*bedded-in-books* says:

    Am totally bedazzled with this story Listened to the audio version Loved the tale of mother and daughter, past family tragedy which casts a shadow upon the current family , portrayal of dysfunctional relationships , traditions, customs , religions and their integration , role of food in religion and customs , and how various religions live in close proximity and harmony in the melting pot of Singapore.Won t forget Pin, her sympathetic father or her poor mother with the unfortunate childhood a Am totally bedazzled with this story Listened to the audio version Loved the tale of mother and daughter, past family tragedy which casts a shadow upon the current family , portrayal of dysfunctional relationships , traditions, customs , religions and their integration , role of food in religion and customs , and how various religions live in close proximity and harmony in the melting pot of Singapore.Won t forget Pin, her sympathetic father or her poor mother with the unfortunate childhood and tragic circumstances.I kept on wondering what the skin problem which is repeatedly mentioned in the book isAm banking upon neurotic excoriations, though it very well can be lichen planus, prurigo or psoriasis.Am totally in love with this tale Shall read it again.May buy a paperback for my collection


  3. Subashini Subashini says:

    About 3.5 stars, but not quite 4 Much of this has to do with the typical narrative structure of this book This is about ten year old Pin going on eleven growing up Sikh in late 80s, early 90s multicultural Singapore It s a coming of age tale that has at its heart family secrets, relationships between women, sexism, religion, tradition vs modernity, and the meaning of food In many ways, it has all the tropes of realist fiction set in these parts or in and around Asia the 3.5 stars is less About 3.5 stars, but not quite 4 Much of this has to do with the typical narrative structure of this book This is about ten year old Pin going on eleven growing up Sikh in late 80s, early 90s multicultural Singapore It s a coming of age tale that has at its heart family secrets, relationships between women, sexism, religion, tradition vs modernity, and the meaning of food In many ways, it has all the tropes of realist fiction set in these parts or in and around Asia the 3.5 stars is less about the book andabout my weariness with this particular narrative I m sort of tired of the family secrets learning about oneself through a series of events that hint at a hidden trauma and resolved by the end type thing The ending is moving and hopeful, but also predictable and has the usual tinge of redemption for all I think she wrote the final chapter with grace, without sentimentality, but the whole arc of the book is still somewhat predictable There are occasional moments of humour that are very well done, dry and deadpan, and I did wish there wasof that.Having said that, it s a well written book that highlights the life of a minority and the casual racism that s prevalent in Southeast Asia, and it was a nostalgic read for me because it reminded me of the Malaysia I grew up in I think something crucial about this is not just the outsider status Pin and her family have because of their race and religion, but also because of class So even though Singapore has the status of an advanced economy, this book is worlds apart from those Kevin Kwan books about which the less said, the better It shows you what life is like when you re a have not in a have all economy Definitely recommended if the subject interests you and if you would like to know what Singapore is like for its minorities


  4. Kirat Kaur Kirat Kaur says:

    This is such a great local young adult novel, i m really surprised it hasn t been marketed as such Sensitively written and universally appealing without compromising on the particularities of growing up as part of a tiny, sometimes close minded minority community in Singapore, Sugarbread tells the story of Pin and her family with compulsion, sincerity and grace Jaswal does a superb job of writing a complex young character with agency, who s developing and learning as her life unfolds I m a bi This is such a great local young adult novel, i m really surprised it hasn t been marketed as such Sensitively written and universally appealing without compromising on the particularities of growing up as part of a tiny, sometimes close minded minority community in Singapore, Sugarbread tells the story of Pin and her family with compulsion, sincerity and grace Jaswal does a superb job of writing a complex young character with agency, who s developing and learning as her life unfolds I m a bit of a sucker for stories that tie emotions to food and its preparations, and this one certainly delivered on that front as well Sugarbread, like Inheritance before it, confronts painful and difficult aspects of our existence head on I was in tears by the end of it, for many reasons, but mainly because we so sorely need stories like these, that emphasise love, fortitude and forgiveness in the face of all the ugliness that the Singapore Punjabi Sikh community loves hiding in our closets A novel like this would ve changed my life at 18, and i can only imagine how much potential it has to strike a chord with young people now that it s out there in the world


  5. Jason Lundberg Jason Lundberg says:

    In addition to being a compelling and empathetic portrayal of a young Punjabi Sikh girl growing up in Singapore in the 1990s, Sugarbread is also a celebration of women, and it doesn t shy away from the complicated relationships between them Each of the main female characters Pin, her mother Jini, and her grandmother Kulwant Nani ji are evoked with such affection that it s hard to believe after finishing the book that they are fictional Jaswal does not shy away from showing us how flawed and In addition to being a compelling and empathetic portrayal of a young Punjabi Sikh girl growing up in Singapore in the 1990s, Sugarbread is also a celebration of women, and it doesn t shy away from the complicated relationships between them Each of the main female characters Pin, her mother Jini, and her grandmother Kulwant Nani ji are evoked with such affection that it s hard to believe after finishing the book that they are fictional Jaswal does not shy away from showing us how flawed and human they are, and the small and not so small tragedies that they suffer through, as well as the triumphs that make the reader let out woots of joy.All of this, plus an examination of Singapore s endemic racism, especially toward its South Asian community Pin has to brook taunts by Bus Uncle, an old man who collects money from the students on the school bus and attempts, and fails, to keep order , as well as vile comments from classmate Abigail Goh Pin s outrage and how she deals with these encounters doto illustrate how the Chinese majority tends to treat South Asians and Malays than a hundred Racial Harmony Days This casual racist bullshit has consequence, and Pin s endurance of it is a social justice punch right to the gut.Sugarbread is an important book, especially right now, when it seems that public policy seems to be regressing in the wake of LKY s death last year And while I can t claim that the novel would eradicate racism in Singapore if it were assigned to schoolchildren here, I do believe that it could easily become Singapore s To Kill a Mockingbird


  6. ashley c ashley c says:

    We read Sugarbread for our socially minded book club and talked about growing up with racism, religion, and Singaporean ness.We follow Pin, a young Sikh girl growing up in 1990 s Singapore, with the micro lens perspective of a child going about her day to day life For Pin, her world was school, home and the temple, and sometimes the wet market that her mother will bring her to as she does her marketing Jaswal have magically captured the ultrafocused details of her experiences that brings about We read Sugarbread for our socially minded book club and talked about growing up with racism, religion, and Singaporean ness.We follow Pin, a young Sikh girl growing up in 1990 s Singapore, with the micro lens perspective of a child going about her day to day life For Pin, her world was school, home and the temple, and sometimes the wet market that her mother will bring her to as she does her marketing Jaswal have magically captured the ultrafocused details of her experiences that brings about so much nostalgia and feelings of innocence for myself, who also grew up in the 90s in SingaporeIt was Singapore and it was July The early morning sun glowed orange and rose between the high buildings streams of light poured through the still branches of trees and heat rose from the pavement Ma and I walked in the shade under rows of canvas awnings All around us, tin grilles were released and unfolded They rattled loudly, like trains running right over my ears Shopkeepers grimaced as they dragged out shelves and crates filled with Gardenia bread, jars of coconut kaya, sweet pandan bread, sticky pink cupcakes called huat kueh, packets of prawn crackers, buns plump with red bean filling, and Twisties snacks These few things could endure the sunLike Pin, I also only knew to read my mother s mood through her cooking, and I loved being her little helper at the market The best part is having a say in what was for dinner She would occasionally ask me to point out a vegetable that looked interesting to me and then she would cook it for dinner My mother rarely cooked less than 3 dishes unless she s not feeling good When she was going through a hard time looking after my sick grandmother, her cooking became quick and simpleMa split the chili with her fingernail, scooped out most of the seeds and pushed them aside, which meant that she wanted the chili for flavor, not to challenge us If she kept all of the seeds in, she was trying to see how much we could takeThe book club talked about how refreshing it is and how important to have literature that reminds you of your own roots This may be foreign to countries that have their own literature muchsuch as the West and maybe the likes of China and Japan, but most Singaporeans grew up reading literature that wasn t their own ie mostly white, occasionally from China and Taiwan for the Chinese community , and it s an interesting change to actually read local stories I haven t read so much local literature since last year when I made a concentrated effort as an adult to look for them.Reading this book, we came to talk about our experiences of racism in Singapore As a racial majority, I don t experience racism I cannot recall any point in my life where someone was racist to me, or if I was denied opportunities because of my race, similar to my experiences as a gender minority Pin s story was once again a reminder of how pervasive racism is in Singapore I really enjoyed the scene with Mrs Parasuram, where her teacher refused to take action on the racism that she faced from another young classmate I found it profound We debated about how we felt about it Some felt that the scene showed that even adults can unknowingly perpetuate racism I felt it showed how powerless a minority can feel, even as an adult unable or unwilling to stand up against it, because of the real consequences for her and possibly her career Lastly, we spoke at length about religion I did not grow up religious, so hence I was very impressed at how Jaswal was able to depict it such that I could empathiseMost of the Bursary Girls were apparently not very familiar with the LordI found this such a great quote because it encapsulates something that all Singaporeans are immediately familiar with Pin is, in her own honest innocent way, pointing out something that goes often undiscussed by adults and that cuts across inequality, race privilege, religion, and muchPin goes to a Christian girls school for primary school children These schools are often located in higher SES neighbourhoods, and often, higher SES citizens are Chinese and Christian Bursary girls, therefore, are often non Christian and non Chinese The impact of growing up non Christian and not rich in a Christian school is a huge theme of Pin s story, echoed by some in the book club as well Constantly being told either directly as we see from many unashamed adults in Pin s story and indirectly your culture and religion, and therefore identity, is not valid, has lasting impact on these children.Overall, a beautiful novel that captures the soul of Singapore while addressing issues relevant to its citizens


  7. Rania T Rania T says:

    A poignant depiction of growing up Punjabi Sikh in 1990 s Singapore The theme of the missing parent occurs in this novel just as it did in Bali Kaur s novel Inheritance I found the descriptions of the painting of the Guru amusing, especially how Pin, the novel s protagonist describing his facial features changing depending on the general atmosphere in her house It brought back memories of school life and the Byzantine icons of Jesus in the classrooms looking either stern or angry depending A poignant depiction of growing up Punjabi Sikh in 1990 s Singapore The theme of the missing parent occurs in this novel just as it did in Bali Kaur s novel Inheritance I found the descriptions of the painting of the Guru amusing, especially how Pin, the novel s protagonist describing his facial features changing depending on the general atmosphere in her house It brought back memories of school life and the Byzantine icons of Jesus in the classrooms looking either stern or angry depending on the general nature of the students in the classroom a very funny memory actually


  8. Neethu Raghavan Neethu Raghavan says:

    This is the story of a Punjabi family settled in Singapore Pin is a Singapore spirit inside Punjabi attire as she is uncomfortable with the food, dress and keeping her hair long What I liked so much was the mother daughter relationship Each time her mother and grandmother asked her not to be like her mom, she couldn t ask them why but she feared if she would be like her mom even without knowing why she shouldn t be There are many topics discussed in the story right from child abuse to the i This is the story of a Punjabi family settled in Singapore Pin is a Singapore spirit inside Punjabi attire as she is uncomfortable with the food, dress and keeping her hair long What I liked so much was the mother daughter relationship Each time her mother and grandmother asked her not to be like her mom, she couldn t ask them why but she feared if she would be like her mom even without knowing why she shouldn t be There are many topics discussed in the story right from child abuse to the insults the black brown Asians face The rule that one must live with the decisions of the society and it s pros and cons are mentioned in this


  9. Wahyu Novian Wahyu Novian says:

    Being told from the eyes of a child and a minority, the old Singapore came to life in an unexpected air I love it from the first chapter True, the story might be predictable, but the way it s written that makes me can t stop reading it The story about family and religion and community in the midst of fast developing country Pin sounds so innocent and pure here.


  10. Jacqie Jacqie says:

    Here s another case of a book that I couldn t bring myself to finish In this case, I m willing to believe that it s me, not the book I got about halfway through and felt like this book was hitting a lot of story beats that I ve read before I started this as mental prep for a southeastern Asia trip that I m leaving for soon, and I think I d still recommend it for that purpose, but I ve read so much other similar stuff recently that I just got impatient.This book is told from two points of view Here s another case of a book that I couldn t bring myself to finish In this case, I m willing to believe that it s me, not the book I got about halfway through and felt like this book was hitting a lot of story beats that I ve read before I started this as mental prep for a southeastern Asia trip that I m leaving for soon, and I think I d still recommend it for that purpose, but I ve read so much other similar stuff recently that I just got impatient.This book is told from two points of view One is Pin, a young Sikh Singaporean student in the 1990 s Pin s grandmother comes to live with them, even though the grandmother has long been estranged from her daughter, Pin s mother Tensions get higher in a home that was already tense Pin struggles with how her religion should be a part of her life, how to relate to a mother who is sad and withdrawn, how to be herself in a society that has very strict ideas for how a girl should be.The next point of view is Pin s mother, Jini, when Jini is a teenager herself Jini s father has pretty much left the family and her older brother supports them with his military paycheck The family also has a developmentally disabled brother who is about 6 years old Jini tries to take on a lot of responsibility, but she is left on her own a lot because of a mother who is depressed, a father who has abdicated his family responsibilities, and an older brother who is working She takes care of her younger brother, whom she adores.So, part of the story is leading up to a tragedy for Jini, a tragedy that is in the past for Pin, who doesn t know much about her parents history I skipped ahead to see if this tragedy is what I thought it would be, and it mostly is It s a familiar theme of how women are abused in a rigid and patriarchal society, especially when they don t have men as protectors While I enjoyed reading the book reasonably well, when I put it down about halfway through I found myself impatient with the story and not wanting to pick it up again If you re in the mood for a book about Sikhism in Singapore something I know little about and are okay with a book that sabout the feel than the plot, this might be great for you I just either needed something a bitimmersive ortime to finish the book in one or two readings so that I wasn t drawn out of the story


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