In Trifles, author Kuir ë Garang shows us parenting from a perspective that many who are born in North America may not consider: multiculturalism. That is, parents who want the best for their children in their new country, and who seek to embrace new traditions, but who also struggle with keeping alive the established traditions of their homeland. This is difficult for parents who have emigrated and are raising their children here. As for the children, it can seem quite overwhelming, as they are born into a multicultural society and must strive to fit in, while on the other hand, their parents find it important to teach them the ways of their homeland.
Consider the main character of the book, Angelina, and her family: Father Oliver and Mother Jacqueline. We see early on that Angelina is a child who is prone to speaking her mind and asking things that we, as adults, may consider odd or downright uncomfortable. In fact, Angelina, it seems, speaks as one much older than her tender years. This, of course, has her father trying to understand exactly why she is this way.
What makes this book unique is that we are made to feel a part of the family from the opening chapter. It deftly weaves the family’s history around a present day narrative. Authentically written, the reader feels as though he/she is actually there, whether it is at the breakfast table, with Angelina being tutored, or even in conversation with Angelina and her tutors. The author’s style is very relaxed and successfully draws the reader into the story, and while there are several larger issues at play (school troubles, police involvement, sudden illness), the story is grounded with the more mundane side of things, such as a family breakfast for instance.
This allows the reader to identify with the family, as everyone has had these experiences. Finally, Trifles is written in such a way that anyone can pick it up and immediately be drawn into the story—anticipating each subsequent scene.
Reviewed by Todd Rutherford, gettingbookreviews.com