Nominated | Book Awards 2021 | English Non-fiction
Despite all manner of hardship that she has had to endure, Jennifer has survived. What she deserves now is to live with dignity.
Seattle, Washington, 1990. It was a cold February day when eight-year-old Jennifer ‘Pinky’ Francis stepped on the American soil for the first time, little knowing that her life was to change forever. Her Indian passport contained no last name. Unbeknown to her poor and illiterate parents, she had been illegally trafficked into the US under the garb of adoption by the very people who had been entrusted with her care.
What ensues for Jennifer from then on is life in a foreign land where she is thrust into the
nightmarish world of foster care, sexual abuse, drugs and crime. But, her heartbreaking story does not end there. Two decades after her so-called adoption, Jennifer is deported to India with no money or contacts. She must start at the very bottom again, building up her life one tiny step at a time. Indeed, Jennifer is not only a representation of the millions of illegal inter-country adoptees, but also a representation of human suffering.
Nandita Puri’s brilliant book is an utterly gut-wrenching and unforgettable story of courage and survival.
NANDITA PURI was born in Kolkata. She studied in both Kolkata and Mumbai, majoring in English Literature, before working as a writer and journalist with several newspapers such as The Telegraph, The Statesman, The Times of India and The Reader’s Digest among others. For nearly a decade, she wrote two popular weekly columns on cinema—one titled Potpuri for Mid-Day and the other for the Hindi daily Dainik Bhaskar called Khaas Chehre. Nandita also worked as a broadcast journalist for All India Radio and Radio Network in Kolkata. She was a member of the script committee for the National Film Development Corporation and Children’s Film Society of India as well as a TEDx Speaker.
She first published a collection of short stories titled Nine on Nine, which was critically acclaimed and very well-received. This was followed by her debut novel, Two Worlds. Her biography of her late husband and internationally acclaimed actor, Om Puri, titled Unlikely Hero: Om Puri is a bestseller, and has been translated into several Indian languages. Nandita has also written for television and feature films, in addition to a number of documentaries and shorts.
In 2017, she launched the Om Puri Foundation at the 70th Cannes Film Festival in memory of her husband to carry forward his legacy and philosophy. Currently, she chairs the Om Puri Foundation.