Book Review: The Mango Season by Amulya Maladi

Image

This book was a good read.  The recipes along the book are so nicely thrown in with the theme that it makes this a very interesting homely read.

Priya is a native of India and moved to the United States when she was twenty. During her seven years in the States, she fell in love with an American. She returns home, during the mango season, to inform her very traditional family that the man she loves and is going to marry is not Indian. Priya approaches various landmines as a strong-willed daughter can: sometimes she walks around them, sometimes she steps on them full-force. Like most of us who are daughters, she learns that some things in the family will never change, but we can sometimes voice our opinions in opposition and be heard, even if the opinion is not accepted. Priya discovers more about her family, love, and support  and that they don’t always come in the expected form. The book has a nice surprise waiting at the end that makes this an enjoyable one time read.

Advertisements

Book Review: The World We Found By Thrity Umrigar

The World We Found

Beautiful book on friendship and relationships by Thrity!  The story follows the story of four friends, three who live in India and one in America who is dying of a brain tumor. The three in India want to travel to America to see her before it is too late, but one of their friends has married and converted into Islam. Her husband, bitter from a number of circumstances both personal and political, has become a fundamentalist and has isolated his wife from her friends, and thus isolates her from us as readers as well. It’s an interesting thing to do with a character over the course of the novel, but serves to create a secondary problem that keeps us reading.

The book details the journey of these 4 women from adolescent to womanhood and how the times had not changed much between the two times.  The new world that they found was not different from the world that they had left behind.  Discrimination, anger, and bitterness just had different grounds in these different times.

Overall, I loved the subtle yet generous ways that Umrigar told the story. While I don’t often like stories that move from character to character in each chapter, this was one case where I didn’t mind and got too caught up in the lives of these women to see the shifting story lines. Umrigar is a beautiful writer and I will definitely be diving in to some of her other novels in the future.

Book Review: The 228 Legacy by Jennifer Chow

Image

Fascinating journey of 3 generation of women with a Taiwanese background. The book throws a brief history of the differences between the Taiwanese and mainland China from a perspective of a Taiwanese. Silk is a very strong personality woman who is a first generation immigrant who has raised her daughter Lisa in America. Abbey is Silk’s grandaughter who tries to fit in the mold of an American soceity. A very fast read and a rich cultural experience.

The main drawback – dealing with multiple subjects in one single book.  For instance, the book deals with subjects such child molestation, racial issues, immigrant issues all packaged in one.  Instead,  I wish Jennifer Chow could have just addressed the massacre that happened in Taiwan in detail. It is however a fleeting information. I was expecting more details on Silk’s husband Lu and how he got involed in the movement.  Silk, the grandmother is such a strong interesting character and it gave me perspective on some behavior norms (I have noticed) of Asian immigrant population from Taiwan.

In all fairness, Ms. Chow has done an excellent job in her debut novel. Looking forward to more.

Book Review: Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood by Varsha Bajaj

Image

Very interesting debut novel by Varsha Bajaj.  The story revolves around a young girl Abby who is biracial.  Her mom is a Caucasian and her dad (whom she has never met)  is of Indian origin.  Even though, she is raised in a very loving family by her mom and her grandparents, she longs to know her roots.  She seems to have carried a stronger Indian gene with her looks and her allergies.  The book is interesting as it weaves the story of why Abby goes to Bollywood and her journey henceforth.  

I would definetely recommend this book to any girl of age group 12 and older as the book does discuss abandonment by a parent which I would find quite stressful for my 10 year old to deal with.  The story is well written and the characters are intricately weaved.  This could be the story of any typical American child who is probably adopted from another country and finds a disconnect with their parents. 

 

 

Book Review: Little Face by Sophie Hannah

Image

This book is among the first in the series of Simon-Charlie crime solving mystery books.  The writing definetely held my interest and I couldnt put the book down once I started it.  The story is a suspense novel that deals with a new mom, Alice who leaves her home to go to the spa only to return home to a baby that did not belong to her.  The story starts weaving from this incident on with the police Simon and Charlie trying to solve the case.  Cruel intent and a confusing aspect from the various characters, the mother-in-law and Alice’s husband keeps the book alive.  Personally, I connected with Alice.  If you are a mom, you will symphatize with her and try to find out what happens to her and her baby, especially as she disappers towards the middle of the book! The story was a very refreshing read with the suspense building with every page.  .  

An interesting read.  Her choice of words are so appropriate and she is an amazing writer. A 4.0 from me!!

Book Review: The Convent of Little Flowers by Indu Sudersan

Image

The Convent of Little Flowers is a collection of short stories that addresses various themes that are controversial and were/are prevelant in the Indian soceity; hushed under the carpet not to be discussed outside closed doors.  Some of them are probably more rural population based but such norms probably do exist.

The writing was a little disoriented and a little hard to understand.  For instance:  In one of the story, there was a instance where the character mentions that she doesnt remember much of where she lived and a few sentences later, the character vividly describes her childhood or weather then.  There is use of many Indian coloquial words that even though I am an Indian national, I found it confusing.  The topics were very strong which kept my interest alive.  Mega and Chandar’s story was probably the most moving.  Topics of discussion included adoption, parental abuse, sati, obsessive love etc..  A great book for book discussion among South Asian Indians or other people interested in discussion of norms or customs prevelant in India.

The stories are weaved with very strong character potrayal but personally I am not a fan of short stories.  So this book did not hold my interest.  A 3.2-3.5 would do justice!

Book Review: The Distance by Saborna RoyChowdury

TheDistance

I was asked to attend a book launch for this book from my dear friend Amodini (www.fridaynirvana.com).  One of the attending authors was Saborna RoyChowdury.  I decided to read the book just because I feel empty attending book events without understanding the author’s intent.  I feel more connected to my enviornment.  So when I downloaded the kindle edition, I had no expectations.  I was impressed!!  The book is one easy read.  Very simplistic language, very conversational and definetely not a classic.  It is very simple read.

The Distance delivers an account of Mini’s journey from Calcutta to Vancover, Canada.  It accounts her change in perspective and her inner conflict as she adjusts herself to her new life in Canada.  The tale has a very different ending so keep on reading.  I did lose a little bit of interest towards the middle as Mini goes into this depressive, boring phase in her life.  The book did get a little repetetive then.  The Distance has multiple context in this book.   Mini is in love with Amitav who happens to have a selfish personality and gets Mini in various dangerous revolutionary acts that makes her get out of this relationship and move into an arranged marriage.  However, Mini seems to be one of a kind who probably will never be satisfied with her life.  She seems a little confused.

A book with a stronger theme would have carried more essence but for a debut novel, this is not bad at all.  The Characters are quite strongly potrayed which makes the story very readable.  All in all, a 3.5!