The Tiffin is set in Mumbai, crafted around the dabbawallas – delivery men who take tiffins, hot boxed lunches, to office workers all over the city. It’s a highly organised operation, and the dabbawallas take much pride in its high delivery success rate: only one in six million tiffins never makes its intended destination. 13 years after a Tiffin with a note tucked inside it goes missing, Kunal is reaping the consequences.
The Tiffin is a quick read, all of 162 pages long. This is certainly frustrating at points because lots of plot points are introduced but never developed and followed through despite the potential and I think led to me finding the story dull at times. Kunal goes through a lot of growth to get to where he is at by the end of the novel, but it is demonstrated somewhat suddenly at the very end of the story. In my opinion, I would have preferred his growth to be more obviously wound into the story and not so out of nowhere.
I have never been to India, so that I can’t personally vouch for how well represented it is, but I felt fully immersed in the setting of contemporary Mumbai. It is described in such detail that I felt transported there, eating the delicious Indian food that was described in mouth-watering detail and fighting my way through the busy crowds at the train stations. I feel like I learnt a lot about Indian culture from reading the book and it’s a great way for younger readers to learn more about India.
I do think that this is an excellent MG read, and will engross younger teens and allow them to be transported to another country and culture all in one book. There are some storytelling issues, but I did like it – 3/5 stars.
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*Book provided by Hot Key Books in exchange for my honest review. Thanks to the folks at Hot Key!