If You See Me, Don't Say Hi

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 27 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

An interesting debut collection. Almost all the characters here are first-generation Indian-Americans from across the US. Patel looks closely at the clashes of west versus east, tradition versus modernity, and more. These are not the typical “model minority” folks often portrayed in news media (although, that has been changing recently too.)

Patel’s voice is more ironic, wry, even satirical. His language is spare and he takes great care to avoid caricatures as he explores themes related to racism, sexuality, sibling rivalry, etc. Despite that, there are moments when the narratives get predictable and the plots run sluggish. Still, overall, this is a daring collection because it presents Patel’s own Indian-American generation in ways that have not been seen in fiction so far.
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This is a wonderful collection of short stories. The author writes well from both a female and male perspective, and it gave me insight as to the experiences of Indiana Americans living in the Midwest. The only negative for me is that the stories blended together a bit, but I still found them enjoyable!
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All 11 stories in this collection feature characters who are first generation Indian-Americans.   For all of the characters, whether male or female; poor or rich; young or old; gay or straight, the primary struggle they face is cultural.  With a foot in both American and Indian cultures these characters find that they are either both/and or neither/nor and their lives unfold according to their perceptions.  The stories ranged from brash and humorous to quiet and subtle.  Many of the stories lingered for me long after reading.
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Old conventions meet new standards and the struggle is real people!  Neel Patel delivers 11 short stories centering around first generation Indian Americans as they venture out within the Democracy finding and defining themselves only to be punished and rejected by outmoded cultural values.  Patel examines his characters with kindness and empathy, humor and quirkiness.  An overall intersectional refreshing read.
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This debut by Neel Patel is a collection of short stories featuring American-born Indian characters. The stories are gripping, Patel’s writing is addictive, and the emotional roller coaster that is this book is so worth it.

I sat down to read the first few pages and before I knew it, I had finished the first 4 stories. They pick up at various points, deal with different relationship struggles (love, family, sexual identity), and you’re constantly thinking ‘wait, what’s going to happen’ and ‘oh gosh, please don’t let this end the way I think it will.’

They rarely do, and in most cases the ending leaves you craving more. ‘Wait, how could he just end it like that!’

The only thing I did notice is that Patel has a formula and as you get to the later stories in the book, you start to anticipate the turns that are coming. I rarely got them right, but it didn’t stop me from guessing, lol.

Love and relationship dynamics are universal. These stories are highly relatable regardless of your background, and I’m so excited to see stories like these told from the perspective of Indian characters.

If you’re looking for a good binge worthy read, this is it!
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If You See Me, Don’t Say Hi is Neel Patel’s debut book. It’s a collection of short stories that focus on first generation Indian Americans. My favorite short story was World Famous. Overall, I wasn’t really impressed with this book. I think the main reason I didn’t like this book is how first generation Indian Americans are portrayed. All the characters are terrible and I couldn’t sympathize with any of them. All of them seemed to have serious psychological issues or were drug addicts or alcoholics. That being said, I really liked the writing style and also liked how the author used various POVs. I would recommend this book only if you enjoy reading short stories or reading about different kinds of relationships. The book releases on Tuesday 7/10.
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This book just was not for. It took me a while to get through it. I'm sure some will like it, I'm sure most would, but I just didn't.
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cw: homophobia; sex; infidelity; racism; drunk driving; sexual assault/csa

My rating for each story:

god of destruction 4/5 
hare rama, hare krishna 4/5 
hey, loser 4/5 
just a friend 4/5 
if you see me, don’t say hi 3/5 
the taj mahal 4/5 
the other language 3/5 
these things happen 4/5 
an arrangement 3/5 
world famous 4.5/5
radha, krishna 5/5

My average rating was 3.86 stars, rounded up to 4. This was a beautiful collection of short stories. It only took me about two and a half hours to read through them all and I found myself thinking about them a lot in between sessions. In fact, several of the stories have stuck pretty hard with me since finishing the book. 

There are a lot of characters with grey morality; you can understand their actions, but at the same time you know that they’re not necessarily doing the right thing. I found this to be really effective, as I was constantly torn with how I felt about them. There were only a couple characters who I outright disliked and even then, I still felt sympathetic towards them. 

I definitely recommend getting your hands on a copy of this if you can.
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If You See Me, Don’t Say Hi is a delicious mix of short stories written by Neel Patel from multiple perspectives of Indian American young adults.  In each of the stories, Patel writes from the perspective of brown people who are heterosexual female, a gay male, a married woman experiencing deep grief, a White American male involved with a gay Indian man, while leading us to think about race( and otherness) in America.

Discussing the stereotypes of Indian-American people as they relate to parental expectations and prejudices, racism in school, sex and marriage and relationship expectations, sexism, success, the author moves us slowly in the direction of blowing up those stereotypes. Perhaps WASPy Americans would learn something here.   
   
Sometimes the prose isn’t pretty, but it may just be what the doctor ordered. Bringing a different perspective is sorely needed in society today and one can hope that this type of book will get it to the consumers who need it. Not preachy, subtle. 

I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend you read it as well.  Even if you are like me, not a short story reader, this may still be enjoyable.  

Thank you to the publisher and #NetGalley for a pre-publication ebook in exchange for an honest review.
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Somewhere between 4.5 and 5 stars, so I'm rounding up.

With his debut story collection, If You See Me, Don't Say Hi, Neel Patel serves notice that he is a talent to be reckoned with. The 11 stories in this collection are packed with emotion and turn people's perceptions and stereotypes of most Indian Americans on their ear.

Some of the characters in these stories follow traditional paths, while others are anything but traditional—they're Facebook-stalking exes or creating schemes to facilitate booty calls. But in each of these stories, the characters face moments of truth, and often need to make a split-second decision which could have significant ramifications. These dilemmas give the stories extra weight, and make them compulsively readable. I read this entire book in one day.

I really enjoyed all of the stories in this collection, but my favorite stories included: "Just a Friend," in which a young gay man wants to know the secrets his older, married boyfriend has been hiding—but doesn't quite expect what he finds out; "God of Destruction," which tells of a woman enchanted by the wi-fi repairman; "Hare Rama, Hare Krishna," which juxtaposes a teenager's navigating his parents' marital troubles with his acknowledgment of his own sexuality, and all of the good and bad that comes with that; and the title story, which follows the tumultuous relationship of two brothers, from the teenage years through adulthood.

The last two stories in the collection, "World Famous" and "Radha, Krishna," are connected, and are the two I loved best. The stories follow a young man and a young woman who were thrown together as children but went their separate ways, and then reconnected in adulthood, only to find that both had been more scarred by their lives then they'd care to admit. These stories were poignant and thought-provoking, so different than I expected, and I could have read a novel with these two characters. (That is the case with some of the other stories, too.)

Patel imbues his stories with humor, emotion, sexuality, empathy, even surprise at times. He creates some characters you will root for and feel for, and others you might dislike, or not quite understand. There is a warmth to his writing, but he doesn't put his characters on a pedestal—he lets you see them the way others see them.

I thought this was an excellent story collection, and definitely heralds Patel as someone I am going to follow in the future. I know not everyone is a short story fan, but these are stories with some emotional heft, so they feel worth the investment of your time.

NetGalley and Flatiron Books provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!
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I love writing short stories but funnily enough I only really started reading them this past decade. I don’t know why I used to avoid the genre because I feel it showcases a writer’s talent in a way that can sometimes get submerged in a novel.

Anyway, Neel Patel’s début collection, If You See Me, Don’t Say Hi, does a great job showcasing his talent: he’s an exceptional writer. Each story contains gem upon gem of wonderful insights into human nature, culture, and relationships. All shrouded with a backdrop of Indian culture and heritage.

If You See Me, Don’t Say Hi has stories of deception, arranged marriages, mixed marriages, same sex relationships, divorce, unrequited love, to name just a few of the themes that pop up. All of the stories revolve around the main theme of relationships, and I found some stories better than others, but that’s usually the norm with most short story collections that I read. Some of them I related to, others left a bad taste in my mouth, but all recreate believable slices of life and intrigue. I read them all in one go, but I think next time I read them I will slow it down a little so as not to mix them all up together. I think that this is one collection that should be read in slices.

A really solid debut from Neel Patel, I’m looking forward to reading more of his work in the future! If You See Me, Don’t Say Hi will be published on July 10th by Flatiron Books. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the advance copy!
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I do not normally gravitate towards short story collections, but the title of the book and its cover intrigued me. Within the first few pages, I was hooked and knew I found a new author whose work I will seek out the instant it becomes available. "If You See Me, Don't Say Hi" has eleven concise stories, roughly about 20 pages each, which highlights various present-day platonic, familial, and romantic relationships between an array of characters. The book would definitely not be classified as a thriller, but each story is a page turner which perfectly mirrors the twists, turns, and laughs that life seems to always bring. Patel perfectly encapsulates everyday emotions of love, loneliness, and heartbreak in his writing. Every story has insanely quotable lines. A favorite of mine is from the first story, "God of Destruction"- "Happiness is a currency: that when it goes, it goes and few people are willing to give you some of theirs." What makes this book a standout, besides its writing style, is that even though a majority of the characters are of Indian descent, any reader of any background would be able to identify with the situations and feelings that the characters experience. It's almost like a subtle way of dispelling Indian stereotypes that have prominent for too long. This book is riveting enough to be read in one sitting and I'm excited to see what the response of the book will be when it's published July 10, 2018.
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A deeply moving collection of short stories from multiple perspectives of Indian American young adults. The author writes from the identity of a heterosexual female, a gay male, a married woman experiencing deep grief, a White American male involved with a gay Indian man. In each of these stories, Patel gently caresses the stereotypes familiar to Indians in America and then blows them up: parental expectations and prejudices, racism in school, sex and marriage and relationship expectations, sexism, money and achievement, mental illness. In the last pair of stories, Patel tells a dual-perspective story of a star-crossed relationship damaged by prejudice and vicious gossip. 

As an Indian American, I’ve grown up with all these narratives. The expectation of fitting into a narrow definition of homogeneity, the loving and gossipy community, the casual racism of classmates and coworkers. I devoured Patel’s familiar stories, often moved to tears by their familiarity and their unexpected twists. 

I hope he writes more. I absolutely loved this and will look for more from Neel Patel. 

Thank you so much to Netgalley, Mr. Patel and Flatiron Books for this delicious ARC and the chance to offer my honest review.
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All of the stories have a common underlying motif--love/romance/infatuation/relationships. The setting is modern day United States and the protagonists are people of Indian origin. The protagonists are of varying sexes/orientations. They're telling stories about their relationships and lives in modern day America, the one with Facebook and Insta, text messages, dating sites, etc. Nothing wild about the theme here.

The writing itself is captivating and I think Patel can write a good novel. The most exciting part about the stories was that they compel you to read further! Even if you feel that eventually you are going to find this story frivolous, you are eager to know what happens! 

Now, I don't quite enjoy stories about relationships and love anyway so that's maybe why I felt as though the stories had a sort of recurrent theme: dejection, nonconformity, and first-world problems. Such a theme inadvertently makes it felt that the stories lack a certain depth and marrow. That was my only gripe. 

This will make a good beach-read or a filler read.
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If You See Me, Don’t Say Hi marks the entrance of a brilliant new talent to the literary world. These deeply moving stories are unlike anything I have read, and it is lucky for readers that we finally live in a time where stories of queer, interesting, flawed and multi-dimensional people of color are being published. I look forward to reading everything Neel Patel writes.”
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A testament to Indian Americans' experiences, Patel describes both male and female vignettes that are both illuminating and sometimes tragic. Employing both Midwestern Illinois settings and international (Kenya, for instance), the scope of the plot is wide. I enjoyed many of the stories, but none of them were particularly heart warming; if you're looking for something uplifting, this is not the book for you. If you're looking for something true, insightful, and eyeopening, this is the book for you. 
A true book about culture and the interrelations of life in spite of it, Patel's book is a solid read.
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Patel’s stories are fever dreams. They quietly steep into your consciousness. Get enmeshed in reality. It’s only when you’re recounting these stories over dinner that something tips askance. You’re forced to remember that these experiences didn’t really happen to a friend, or to a friend of a friend, but to a character in a book you inhaled in a single sitting one night last week. So fast it almost didn’t happen. 

If You See Me, Don’t Say Hi is a world of cruel watchfulness. Peopled with characters who study the happiness of other people from the safety of their rooms. From news delivered by wedding invitations and Facebook updates. They pity their pity, wait for fights that don’t happen. Their carelessness is careful, their confidence a con. Each spark and snuff of a cigarette is meditated. Deliberate. As though they know they’re inhabiting spaces to which they’ll never fully belong.
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Neel Patel's collection of short stories—stories about living and loving as a brown person in America—rewards readers who like to get straight to the good stuff. 

Chilled out on the couch, screen in my face, it took three sentences into the first story to get me hooked. I read this in two long, quick sessions, each story unfolding in a series of emotional roller coasters. 

From one night stands to first loves to surviving brutal family gossip, there's a lot of ground covered in just 224 pages. I appreciate the blunt, emotionally heavy tone sustained throughout the book, though I longed to be swept up more fully within each narrative.

Though not perfect,  this is a solid debut collection that I'd recommend to most avid fiction readers. Trust, I will definitely be reading whatever Neel Patel decides to write next.

—

To read my full review, head over to this my blog: http://www.acollectionofthings.co/2018/03/if-you-see-me-dont-say-hi.html
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If You See Me, Don't Say Hi by Neel Patel, was a very well written book. Not really my type of book but I would read it again given the opportunity. All of the characters were written very well. I would recommend this book to my friends and I am thankful for the friend that told me about this book.
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LOVE LOVE LOVE! This book gives you so many sides to so many different life expierences. You get a chance to step out of your shoes and live through other people’s expierences. A HUGE eye opener. I highly recommended! People need to take time out of their day and to recognize how others live. Life isn’t perfect and this novel reflects so many emotions. Very enjoyable!
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