The book May This Be the Best Year of Your Life is based on the life story, that Sandra Bornstein, an American educator living at the present in Colorado with her husband, has decided to share with the greater public. The blog and the private journal that Sandra kept while she was teaching in a private Indian school in Bangalore have been the backbone of the memoir.
The book opens with Sandra’s husband, Ira, loosing his job because of the recession dramatically hitting the US. Following their son’s suggestion of considering a career in India, Ira finds an international assignment and gets posted in Bangalore. The new job will take him away from home for many weeks a year. Sandra refuses the idea of a part-time husband and decides to take up a teaching position in India in order to be closer to Ira.
Leaving the comfort zone will bring Sandra to face new challenges and will uncover her deepest emotions and fears.
I would define May This Be the Best Year of Your Life as a journey with multiple sides.
First of all it’s a personal journey. It’s a story of a woman in her 50’s with older children, who decides to leave her comfort zone and accept new professional challenges. Being an experienced educator, Sandra deeply believes, she can make a difference in other people’s life, and wants to become an international teacher. The story gets even more personal and intimate, as Sandra talks about her marriage, and here again comes the idea of a journey through the inner dynamics of a couple.
Then the memoir talks about the professional journey, which Sandra embarks on in India. She often compares her training as an American educator with the different teaching system of the private Indian school. Sandra will have to face hostility amongst her colleagues and the managers of the school when she tries to bring forth innovations and changes; this part of the book is an interesting and detailed report of Sandra’s methods for improving her students’ writing and reading skills.
Last but not least, the story tells of a real journey. Sandra is actually moving to a different country and tries to maintain her Jewish identity. And here comes the story of an expat experiencing the cultural shock, the barrier of a new language, and the adjustments to a daily life in a culture sometimes difficult to understand.
With her enjoyable writing style, Sandra Bornstein has produced a pleasant book, which can be approached in many different ways and will surely satisfy a varied public.
Review by Patrizia Bazzoni. Patrizia is Italian by origin and has been a global citizen for almost 20 years. She worked for UNICEF-Italy and has been living in the Netherlands since 2001. love listening to other expats’ stories and sharing international experiences.