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Review: The Mango Season

July 8, 2011

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)

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38 Comments leave one →
  1. Veens permalink
    July 8, 2011 6:23 am

    I haven’t even heard of this book. Yep, approval from parents is a big thing for marriage, and mostly they would not give it … lol!

    I want to read this book, just to see how it is really. 🙂

  2. July 8, 2011 6:33 am

    The cover is lovely, and sounds like an interesting read. She is a new author to me.

  3. July 8, 2011 8:03 am

    The clash of the two cultures would be interesting to read about. Maybe this is a book I should look for in the library.

  4. July 8, 2011 8:37 am

    At this point in my reading life I’m not looking for anything more than a quick, enjoyable read 🙂 and I’d like to learn more about the Indian culture. I will definitely add it to the TBR list.

  5. July 8, 2011 9:06 am

    Interesting how many books are out now about females from India in a struggle to pick their own mate. Must be a very topical issue in Indian culture now.

  6. July 8, 2011 9:30 am

    I waited until I wrote my review this morning before reading yours. I’m afraid I didn’t enjoy this one as much as you, but I think it had to do with my expectations. Your review is so much better than mine.

  7. July 8, 2011 9:33 am

    This books seems interesting. But the theme of Indian/non-Indian marriages is out there so much right now, I think a novel has to be truly outstanding to find an audience. Thanks for your review, as always!

  8. July 8, 2011 9:36 am

    It is interesting to read about other cultures “ways” Thanks for the insight.

  9. July 8, 2011 10:15 am

    Thanks for the nice review — I would also be frustrated by the unnecessary dithering. Still, I’m adding it to my TBR as I might want to pick it up this fall.

  10. July 8, 2011 11:00 am

    I was totally frustrated when reading this book, but strangely it was a very easy quick read. Waaaay too much drama going on, and I thought the characters were very mean-spirited. Plus I thought the author played a cheap trick on the reader. Still, I learned about a culture I knew nothing about, and I loved the references to the food!

  11. July 8, 2011 11:09 am

    We had a student assistant here who brought a wife back from India. Yep, an arranged marriage. When he told us about it, I wasn’t sure how to react. He had never met her, but had seen pictures of her and they chatted by texting each other every now and then. Now they are a happy couple with two kids. Both very successful and working in a technology field. It’s hard to believe that arranged marriage still go on today.

    Sorry this one fizzled out for you at the end.

  12. July 8, 2011 11:10 am

    I’ve read a few books, lately, where I feel like screaming at the main character…just a bit. Love this cover, though.

  13. July 8, 2011 11:20 am

    Yay for completing the South Asian Challenge, and I’m glad you liked this book! I’m adding a link to your review to the South Asian Review Database.

  14. July 8, 2011 11:27 am

    Sure she would surely annoy me and I would tell her grow up! Other than that it sounds I like I would enjoy the book

  15. July 8, 2011 11:37 am

    I think I’d like to read this to see inside the family structure and the culture of India.

  16. July 8, 2011 11:55 am

    I like books that contrast different cultures and explore them through the main character’s point of view. Priya sounds intriguing. I like that she’s aggravating at times because I think it means Amulya Malladi has crafted a real, flawed woman we can relate to. Thank you for your review, Kathy :o)

  17. July 8, 2011 12:29 pm

    Even if you didn’t love it, it still looks good.

  18. July 8, 2011 12:50 pm

    I haven’t read a lot of Indian authors, but I have some on my wishlist. I think that the premise of this book is really good, however, like you, I might be annoyed by Priya too.

  19. July 8, 2011 1:55 pm

    The cover is delicious-looking and it sounds like an interesting story.

  20. July 8, 2011 1:59 pm

    That cover is to die for! Since it takes place in the Bay Area I am extra intrigued by it!

  21. July 8, 2011 2:34 pm

    I thought I had read this one and I have! A few years ago though, so I imagine it has been rereleased.

  22. July 8, 2011 3:22 pm

    That cover is stunning. Fantastic review!

  23. July 8, 2011 3:36 pm

    I totally forgot about the South Asian Challenge. Thanks for the reminder.

  24. July 8, 2011 3:43 pm

    Sounds like an interesting book, but after reading so many immigrant stories from this part of the world, I wonder what this one has to offer that is different. I’ll have to sample the style when I’m in the bookstore next.

  25. July 8, 2011 4:09 pm

    i love books that talks about different cultures! it’s been a while since i’ve read a book that talks about indian culture so i’ll have to give this one a try.

  26. July 8, 2011 5:15 pm

    This sounds like a very good book, Kathy. Terrific review, as always!

  27. July 8, 2011 6:36 pm

    Though I really enjoy Indian fiction, I have read a few tepid reviews of this one that make me think that I might not enjoy it. I think it has the potential to be a great read, but some of the issues and bits about the characters sound like they could be a bit annoying. I think I am going to have to pass on this one.

  28. July 8, 2011 7:00 pm

    I’ve never read an Indian fiction, but this sounds to good to pass up. Even with the not so great ending! I’m putting it on my list!

  29. July 8, 2011 9:29 pm

    This one sounds like it could be a fun read. I just saw it for the first time yesterday but I forgot where. Still, glad that you liked this.

  30. July 9, 2011 8:02 am

    I like to read indian fiction and about India and indian culture ! Perhaps a good book for me ! Thanks !

  31. July 9, 2011 10:12 am

    I know an Indian woman falling in love with an American man is nothing new. But I’m always fascinated my the inner family dynamics.

  32. July 10, 2011 12:47 am

    I read another review of this one recently that said it was “okay”. I will probably read it at some point but it won’t make my top ten list for now.

  33. July 10, 2011 11:46 am

    Cultural identities always demands that we stick to what the family will expect. This sounds to be even on the lines of the film Bride & Prejudice – a tale of intercultural love with an Anglo Saxon boy and Indian girl.

    I’d be interested in it just for the chaos that will be found when she reveals to her family – her love for an all American boy.

  34. stilettostorytime permalink
    July 10, 2011 4:26 pm

    Thanks for this review…I am putting this title on my list. I adore Indian fiction and hadn’t seen this one.

  35. stacybuckeye permalink
    July 10, 2011 11:13 pm

    I do love the cover and the story sounds good. And I’m always looking for great mango recipes.

  36. July 11, 2011 9:25 pm

    I don’t know if you have heard of or watch the show Royal Pains but when reading about this book, I couldn’t help but think of Divya, the Physician’s Assistant in the show. She is well educated and can certainly hold her own and she has developed her own dreams and passions. One of those being the freedom to choose to marry for love. This creates quite a conflict with her parents and I don’t envy her the tough spot that she is forced to navigate through. Still, I am definitely enthralled by the drama and eager to find out what happens as this story unfolds on the TV set. I bet I would just as easily get lost in the midst of this story.

  37. July 12, 2011 4:58 pm

    Hmm..this interests me just because it’s a clash of cultures and I like stories like that. Sorry it fizzled at the end though. I’m going to put it on my wish list but won’t be rushing out to buy it.

  38. July 14, 2011 4:26 pm

    I haven’t heard of this book, but I like Indian stories, especially those that deal with issues particular to their culture.

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