Author: Vidya Samson
Publish Date: April 21, 2012
Source: I received a copy from the author; however, this did not affect my review.
Why You're Reading This Book:
- You're a fiction fan.
- You're an armchair traveler.
From Goodreads.com: "Nisha Desai is a young Indian woman who pines for romance in a country where love is in the same class as malaria, and where mates are selected using a calculator.
Normally deluged with ghastly suitors of her father's choosing, she suddenly finds herself on the short list for a bride-seeing tour by a rich and handsome nephew of a neighbor. This is the stuff of which dreams are made.
A nightmare materializes when a very un-Indian ruffian moves in next door, complete with beard and obnoxious Harley motorcycle. He might play the bad boy in one of Nisha's beloved romance novels, but in real life, he terrifies her.
So she tries to ignore the thundering engine of the bike while anxiously awaiting the arrival of Prince Charming--or at least, Prince Rich.
But arriving first are a long-lost black-sheep American aunt and her trouble-magnet teenage daughters. The aunt proves to be a New Age space case, while the cousins’ appetite for disasters threatens to level the city of Ahmedabad. In short order, the demented cousins instigate an elopement, a public protest, and a riot that gets Nisha thrown in jail.
Nisha’s family comes to the conclusion that while East and West may meet, sometimes they shouldn't. The guests are seen as an invading force, equipped with weapons of mass corruption.
While Nisha wonders how she can hide her now corroded reputation from the dream suitor's family, insanity marches on. Nisha's father adopts a pet cow and convinces half the city it's the reincarnation of a Hindu deity. The two families are finally united in a common goal: to bilk thousands. The result is Madison Avenue's idea of a religious experience, which is not a controllable situation.
Indian Maidens Bust Loose is a hilarious romantic comedy set in the land of cows, curry, and the Kama Sutra."
My Two Cents:
This book looks at a classic clash of cultures. Nisha and Vinita live under the thumbs of their parents who believe very much in the very traditional Indian ways. When their American cousins, Amber and Lauren, come to visit, their lives are turned upside down.
India has always been a fascinating place for me. I would love to go there and visit someday. I think that it would definitely be an awesome experience. There are a lot of things that are unfamiliar to Americans as Amber and Lauren find out. In parts, I kind of wanted to kick Amber and Lauren as they seem to be checking all of the boxes as the ugly American tourists, a stereotype that I really, really hate. Although, I think a lot of times it's hard to keep in mind that you have to accept other places for what they are and that the world would be a very boring place if every single place were exactly the same. That being said, I think that the reactions that the cousins had were very realistic. Even if I didn't share them out loud, I recognized some of the same things that I thought about when I was in Ukraine last year (I don't know how it compares directly to India but it was definitely the roughest country that I had ever been in).
One thing I didn't like in the book was the mystery of Nisha and Vinita's origin. The mystery didn't come in until sort of the end of the middle of the book. It seemed like it was put there for some unknown reason and then the mystery ends pretty quickly. I can see how it resolved some issues in the minds of the characters but I wasn't really sure how it fit into the "big picture" of the book.
I loved the writing of the book. Samson really makes you care about the characters, especially the main character, Nisha. You get to feel what she's dealing with and you get to experience first hand the transition that she makes throughout the book, which I really liked.
Bottom line: I think that readers who like books about different places and cultures will really enjoy this one!
I was a little confused about the storyline behind this book and don't really think I would particularly enjoy it.
I did have to keep reading right to the end of the post though, as our best friends, back in the early days of our marriage, were a Ugandan married to a Pakistani, and their eldest daughter was called Nisha, although I think that common name sounds like the only resemblance between them!
I am so glad that you enjoyed this one and thanks for sharing your thoughts,