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Book Analysis - Colours of a Cultural Chameleon by Shakti Hannie

This is a book of many worlds in one. From a first-person point of view, you as a reader will feel like you are traveling across the globe, just as Kamala does. She is titled, the cultural chameleon because of all her travels and moves as a child. As a third culture child, the author relates to the main character and can express and describe each scene and setting so perfectly. The visualization of the multitude of cultures brought up in this book is clear thanks to the author’s lyrical flow of description.

The author creates a good balance of narrative and dialogue throughout the book, and the choice of a first-person perspective is magnificent for the story at hand. The sentence structure is also refreshingly balanced to enhance what details the main character notices and emphasizes in her own mind.

Kamala is an openminded, adventure seeking character by nature. Since she is so exposed to different locations and cultures, she seems very sophisticated and knowledgeable for her age. Her personality aligns greatly with her experiences. She is obedient and very observant of the world around her, which is a great personality trait to have in the first-person perspective so that the reader has an easier time imagining each scenario throughout the book.

Amma is another favorite character of mine. She is very decisive and knows what is best for her family. She is joyful but knows where to draw the line to get through life when obstacles are thrown her way. Her relationship with Kamala is light-hearted and she is always doing what she can to make sure the child is growing up as well-put as possible.

I keep referring to the first-person point of view because sometimes it may not seem fitting to use in a novel, but in this book’s case it fits in so perfectly. The author is able to achieve such positive interaction with her audience by providing details about the areas traveled to through Kamala’s eyes, who is also experiencing these experiences for the first time alongside the reader.

The introduction of new characters throughout the book as she and her family move around, attend work and school, and go on vacations, is done very fluently where none of them get mixed up. Besides Kamala and Amma, my other favorite character was Ammumma, who Kamala visited on a vacation. This lady showed her love through the foods she cooked and the treats she baked. I will not say too much more, because I do not enjoy spoiling a good book for others.

Using these different characters to display the different cultures through food, atmosphere, and lifestyle was very insightful to just how different everything was each time Kamala moved or visited new places. This book was overall a great eye-opener to differences throughout the globe, and it interested me in wanting to travel!

Please read this book for a light, airy, refreshing excuse away from reality, it was truly a treat and so quick to read, and hard to put down!


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