Neel Patel writes with the wisdom and compassion of an old soul
Patel turns his lens on Indian-Americans, addressing with depth and care subjects that are often overlooked or made into caricature: helicopter parents, conflicts between spouses, sibling rivalry, racism, sexual orientation, and identity
At turns heartbreaking and uplifting...Neel Patel upends stereotypes, especially Indian-American masculinity. He's at his most remarkable when illuminating the experience of queer men making sense of their sexuality, and allowing themselves to hope for a happy ending with the men they love
Patel's deep sense of empathy - and infuriatingly relatable characters - shines throughout. A melancholic pleasure with a sense of humour
A wonderful read: necessary, aching, and alive
A fresh new voice
Neel Patel pulls off something that I've rarely seen: stories about Indians in America which feel unique and thrilling without relying on stereotypes or tropes. His characters manage to be both sympathetic and deeply flawed, complicated people who don't give you clean answers. His stories will make you laugh, then cry, then feel uncomfortable, then feel free, all within a few pages. When you're done reading, you'll want to flip back to the beginning and read it all over again
Once in a while there comes a book that reminds us of why we read: to feel, to question, to grow. This is that book. A love letter to R&B, youth, and the unforgettable agonies of one's first love. The emotional truth of this indelibly portrayed family and their messy lives will leave you weeping and shattered. I will read everything Patel writes from here on.
A beautiful book about a mother and son...I really loved this book.
Effortlessly written; tender, irreverent and compassionate when dealing with complex themes of guilt, shame, otherness and family relationships. It made me laugh and cry.
Neel Patel's compelling first novel tells a story that is sometimes funny, sometimes disturbing, and, by the end, deeply moving. Tell Me How to Be explores the high price of secrets, deceit, and regret and the redemptive power of speaking one's truth. Patel's short chapters, immensely readable prose, and talent for continually raising the stakes for his complicated characters kept me turning the pages late into the night. A memorable debut.
Immersive, seductive and elegant, this novel shimmers richly on the surface, even as its depths pulse with potent heartbreak and loss.
A soulful and seductive love song of a book, Tell Me How to Be is a keen and sharply hilarious celebration of the universal messiness of desire and the necessity of coming clean first with ourselves. I laughed out loud at the prickliness of Renu and ached for Akash through the book's careful unfurling of the past. In this examination of identity through yearning and loss and the enduring consequences of denial, Patel has crafted an unforgettable duet between mother and son.
I loved Tell Me How to Be's story of family, first love, and figuring out your place in the world. Neel's writing is vulnerable, authentic and entertaining. This book gives a fresh perspective to complicated family relationships...something everyone can relate to.
Reading this book is like being sucked into another family. I found myself so invested in each of the characters and their happiness. This family made me laugh, they made me reminisce about my own youth and they made me reflect on my own family. One of the best and most beautiful novels I've read all year.
A compulsively readable, funny, hard-hitting novel about family, Indian American culture, and the secrets we keep from the ones we love most. Akash is a little bit of a mess-he drinks too much, he's on the precipice of sabotaging his relationship, and let's just say, work is not his forte. When he returns to his childhood home to deal with the death of his father, he's thrust back into the memories of his teenage years and falling in love for the first time-the obsession, the fire, the shame of loving a man-and is forced to confront his past and his sexuality. Neel Patel writes with verve, comedy, and compassion for his characters that are nuanced, flawed, and striving to find their place in the world.
This book is so beautiful and evocative and relatable.
A brilliant novel about mothers and sons, secrets and lies, regret and truth. Neel Patel writes with a clear, empathetic pen, creating a cast of characters that are utterly unforgettable.
Patel infuses Tell Me How to Be with a lively self-awareness, humor and warmth... Mother and son share a love of guilty pleasures in a novel that asks: When you find the melody that speaks to you, why let it go?