Review: The Mango Season
After earning her bachelor’s degree in India and her master’s in the United States, Priya finds a good job in the Bay area. Without really meaning to, she meets and falls in love with Nick, an American. She moves in with him and they plan to marry. Nick’s mother approves of the match, but Priya hasn’t told her family yet. She knows she’s expected to marry a nice Indian man and she’s afraid of what they’ll think. She wants to tell them in person and flies to India to do just that. Once there, Priya finds herself torn between two cultures.
The Mango Season by Amulya Malladi gives readers a peek into Indian culture and expectations when it comes to marriage. I found some of it fascinating and can see why it would be difficult for young people from India, like Priya, who have been exposed to our culture. After living in the US for several years, Priya almost feels more American than Indian, yet she still wants the approval of her family.
The book is told from Priya’s point of view and I did find her frustrating at times. She kept avoiding the inevitable and I wanted to tell her to grow up and stop being so dramatic. At the same time, I could understand how she was caught between two cultures – she wanted to fit in her new culture but didn’t want to leave her old culture behind. I think that’s a common struggle for immigrants. Readers do see Nick’s thoughts a time or two in emails he sends her, but for the most part this is Priya’s story.
There are other glimpses of Indian culture in the book from bartering, to the family structure, to a few recipes using mangoes and I enjoyed all of them.
Overall, I enjoyed The Mango Season. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I loved it, but I liked it a lot. I kind of felt like it fizzled out at the end – there’s an epilogue, but it’s short and doesn’t reveal much. It’s a quick read, though, and an enjoyable way to spend a few hours.
Challenge: South Asian Challenge (challenge is complete with this book)