They Called Us Exceptional: And Other Lies That Raised Us
How do we understand ourselves when the story about who we are supposed to be is stronger than our sense of self? What do we stand to gain–and lose–by taking control of our narrative? These questions propel Prachi Gupta’s heartfelt memoir and can feel particularly fraught for immigrants and their children who live under immense pressure to belong in America.
An Indian American daughter reveals how the dangerous model minority myth fractured her family in this “searingly honest memoir that manages to be at once a scalding indictment and a heartfelt love letter” (Scott Stossel, author of My Age of Anxiety).
“In examining with boundless love the secrets and sorrows of one family, Gupta shows us the life-altering power of telling one’s truth.”–Megha Majumdar, author of A Burning
Prachi Gupta’s family embodied the American Dream: a doctor father and a nurturing mother who raised two high-achieving children with one foot in the Indian American community, the other in Pennsylvania’s white suburbia. But their belonging was predicated on a powerful myth: that Asian Americans have perfected the alchemy of middle-class life, raising tight-knit, ambitious families that are immune to hardship. Molding oneself to fit this perfect image often comes at a steep but hidden cost. In They Called Us Exceptional, Gupta articulates the dissonance, shame, and isolation of being upheld as an American success story while privately navigating traumas invisible to the outside world.
Gupta addresses her mother throughout the book, weaving a deeply vulnerable personal narrative with history, postcolonial theory, and research on mental health, to show how she slowly made sense of her reality and freed herself emotionally and physically from the pervasive, reductive myth that had once defined her. But, tragically, the act that liberated Gupta was also the act that distanced her from those she loved most. By charting her family’s slow unraveling and her determination to break the cycle, Gupta shows how traditional notions of success keep us disconnected from ourselves and one another–and passionately argues why we must orient ourselves toward compassion over belonging.
Orders placed via our website can be paid using any of the following methods:
- Credit or debit card
- Google Pay
- Apple Pay
- National Book Tokens
Our credit and debit card payments are securely processed by Stripe, and your full card information is neither stored by our site or accessible to our team. If you select to save your credit or debit card information during checkout to use again for future orders, your card information is encrypted and stored only by Stripe, who have been certified as a Level 1 PCI Service Provider (the highest level of security certification available for online payment services). Read more about Stripe and security here.
If ordering from a device or browser that supports Google Pay or Apple Pay, you will be automatically shown the corresponding payment button on product pages, the cart page, and the checkout page. Please note that the personal and payment information shown by Google Pay and Apple Pay is stored only by your payment account, and is neither stored by our site or accessible to our team.
Payments made using National Book Tokens are processed by National Book Tokens Ltd, and you can read their Terms and Conditions here.
If you encounter any issues with payments when ordering, or have any questions about the available methods of payment, please don’t hesitate to email us.
Orders Orders placed through this site will typically be fulfilled from our shop’s inventory within 48 hours. Occasionally an item may be out of stock, in which case it may be fulfilled by our supplier and dispatched directly to you, or to the shop if Collect in Person was selected during checkout. We will inform you of any delays affecting your order as quickly as possible.
Backorders Items marked AVAILABLE TO ORDER are available on backorder and typically arrive within a couple of days, but can occasionally take longer to arrive. In the event that an item you have ordered is unexpectedly delayed for 7 days or more, we will contact you by email with a delivery estimate.
If you’d like to confirm an item’s availability or check on the status of an order, please email us.
Pre-Orders Any forthcoming titles available to pre-order are clearly marked with a red PRE-ORDER label, and the anticipated publication date. Typically, pre-ordered items will be available on or occasionally very shortly after the publication date, and in the event that we do anticipate a delay we will endeavour to keep you updated on the status of your pre-order.
Publication dates are subject to change (although this is an extremely uncommon occurrence overall). If you have a question about the status of a pre-order, please email us.
Select the Gift Wrapping option on the Cart or Checkout pages to have your order wrapped for a flat fee of £2.20. Orders placed including the gift wrapping option will be wrapped using tissue paper and sealed with a Pages of Hackney sticker. A gift message can be included during this process, which will be written on a Pages of Hackney card and included with your order (if you’d prefer we use a greeting card, please add one to your order and mention this in the order notes field).
Unless requested, gift wrapping includes all items in an order. If you have different wrapping requirements for individual items, please either place multiple orders or let us know your requirements in the order notes field during checkout.
UK postage costs (per order):
Royal Mail First Class – £2.95 Royal Mail Second Class – £1.95
Orders with a total greater than £50 will automatically qualify for free delivery (excluding subscriptions).
If you do not wish to have your order delivered, please select Collect In Person during checkout.
Please note that orders placed via our site can be delivered within the UK only. For international delivery, please email us stating the items you wish to order and your delivery address, and we’ll let you know your options for shipping.