Title: Bollywood Invasion
Author: Ricardo Alexanders
What’s Auntie Reading Now? Picture
Publisher’s Blurb:The story starts from modern-day Brooklyn. sixteen-year- old John Palmieri is living an average life until one day he is hit by a bus and wakes up as Raj Scindia, a prince in India, in 1958.
Suddenly, he finds himself with riches and power beyond his wildest fantasies. Brooklyn is readily forgotten. He makes out with his hot teacher; he tells about the future; his new life becomes a constant stream of debauchery till he meets “the one”.
I received a copy of the book from the author in return for an honest review. Thank you Ricardo!
Listening to his iPod, riding fast because he’s late, John gets distracted by the girl he likes and gets in an accident with the school bus. When he comes to, he’s no longer in contemporary Brooklyn, he’s in 1958 India and is the Maharaja Kumar (son of) the Maharaja (governor).
This is the beginning of Alexanders imaginative tale of a world in which the Beatles don’t exist and John creates the Indian version to gain fame, and the attention of the girl he loves.
It’s not a deep story. Teenage boy discovers he is wealthy beyond his wildest dreams and takes advantage, becoming a bit of an arrogant pig at first. This is not unexpected, after all, if you woke up in a strange time and place to discover that you could have whatever you wanted due to the social class you were born into, wouldn’t you act the same way?
John discovers that not only is he wealthy and comes from a powerful family, he’s not really expected to study in school. In fact, his doppelganger has quite the reputation, including an affair with one of his teachers.
Then he meets Ankita, and everything changes. He forms the Beetos with his friends to gain her attention and then prove himself worthy of her to her father. Using his memories of the songs he listened to on his iPod, they write songs and gain a following. They become very famous, and wealthy, but it doesn’t bring John the peaceful life with Ankita he expected.
To Beatles fans, there are many familiar moments in Bollywood Invasion. The most chilling is Alexanders’ retelling of John Lennon’s assassination. Mark Chapman isn’t the only one looking to ease his pain.
As John comes back to his own time and place, he thinks he’s just had a bad dream and hurries off to school where a new girl joins their class, and her name is distinctly familiar.
Ricardo Alexanders’ writing style is earnest. This story means a lot to him, as do the Beatles. It’s an interesting idea of setting them and their origin story in India. There are many, many details about the trajectory of the Bee-tos which come straight from Beatle history. Some of them can be quite unsavory, but none of us should flinch from them. Especially because, at its heart, Bollywood Invasion is a love story, in which Ricardo Alexanders explores what it means to want to become a better person for the one you love. It’s a detail worth exploring.