Anita and Me

The prizewinning coming-of-age novel about a young Indian girl in northern England

“A beautifully specific portrait . . . [of] people touched by the turbulence of the times.” —The Observer

Finalist, Guardian Fiction Award
Winner, Betty Trask Award

Anita and Me, which has been compared to To Kill a Mockingbird, tells the story of Meena, the daughter of the only Punjabi family in the British village of Tollington. With great warmth and humor, Meera Syal brings to life a quirky, spirited 1960s mining town and creates in her protagonist what the Washington Post calls a “female Huck Finn.” The novel follows nine-year-old Meena through a year spiced with pilfered sweets and money, bad words, and compulsive, yet inventive, lies. Anita and Me offers a fresh, sassy look at a childhood caught between two cultures.


“A rich portrayal of the beauties and betrayals of girlhood friendship.”
“A witty, original account of the trials and tribulations of growing up.”
San Francisco Review of Books
“Delightful and illuminating.”
Women's Review of Books
“A well-observed comedy about the clash of two cultures . . . Syal has put her comic talents to good use.”
The Times (London)
“A finalist for England's Guardian Fiction Award, Anita and Me describes with the leisurely pace of a 19th-century narrative a very 20th-century multicultural relationship between two headstrong girls. . . . The reader must search patiently through . . . bustling verbiage for the quieter, more subtle revelations about Meena and her family.”
—James Wilcox, The New York Times Book Review
“Humorous and quirky. Syal has a gift of comedy that she uses to weave this delightful story.”
Library Journal (starred review)

Books by Meera Syal

Goodreads Reviews