A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that A Moment Comes is a vivid historical novel that puts a heartbreaking, human face on the events surrounding the creation of Pakistan in 1947. It's a violent time when people, mobs especially, commit violent acts in an endless cycle; the violence isn't gory, but the tension of living with it constantly under the surface pervades the atmosphere. There's no sex, although women and girls as a sexual commodity are mentioned, as is the possibility of Margaret's past sexual relationship (we don't know exactly what happened other than that there was a scandal). The 16- and 17-year-old narrators engage in mildly flirtatious behavior. People smoke in a time when the dangerous health consequences were not widely known.
What's the story?
Three teenagers, Tariq (a Muslim), Anupreet (a Sikh), and Margaret (a British Christian) come together in northern India in the months before India gains independence from Britain and Pakistan is created. Margaret's father is helping draw the boundaries for the new Pakistan, and Tariq and Anupreet are hired as household servants to the British family. Tariq and Anupreet must wrestle with what will become of them and their families after Partition as all three struggle with the emotional complexities of growing up. Wary and unsure of the cultural differences that at first seem to separate them, those differences disappear when a brush with death brings them together to save Tariq.
Is it any good?
A MOMENT COMES deftly weaves together three different young lives on the verge of tremendous social and emotional change. Jennifer Bradbury's able writing conveys the crushing heartbreak of cyclical violence as finely as the intimacy with which she brings us into their hearts and minds. The different voices are realistic, and Bradbury moves us from one to the next seamlessly. The big-picture historical events and figures are easy to understand without feeling dumbed down and without diminishing their complexity, and a helpful glossary in the back keeps the Indian vocabulary accessible. The artful portraits of all three characters amid epic events will create a new level of understanding for readers turning their thoughts to the larger world around them.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the author's use of these three points of view to tell the story in A Moment Comes. How does each one help you understand what was going on in India when Pakistan was created?
What can the cycle of violence between Muslims and Sikhs in India tell us about the violence in today's world, where people of different religions are clashing?
What do you think happened to Tariq, Anupreet, and Margaret after the novel ends? Why do you think the story stops where it does?
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