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Book Review: The Mango Season

August 19, 2009 Leave a comment

 

The Mango Season
The Mango Season

The Mango Season, Amulya Malladi; Fiction; B&N

For some reason, I’ve been craving books about India and Indian culture lately. I stumbled upon The Mango Season and decided to try it out, especially after seeing all the glowing 5 star reviews on Amazon.

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In The Mango Season, Priya, born and raised in India, has been been living on her own in the US for the past seven yeras. Now, at twenty-seven, she’s visiting her very traditional and conservative family in India to tell them some very unwelcome news: she’s engaged to and has been living with an American man, Nick. Since her parents intend to arrange her marriage to someone Indian, Priya struggles to find the right time to tell her family.

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Overall, this book was disappointing. The characters were all so stereotypical that it was really hard to believe that this was written by someone who was Indian herself. The main character was unlikable and pretentious. I also had a hard time believing that someone who moved to the US when they were twenty could turn into such a bad tourist in her home country.

Mostly, I didn’t appreciate that Priya never attempts to understand the other side of things, especially when it comes to the issue of arrange marriages. From page one, the author presents the main character as completely right in her views, and everyone in her family as completely wrong and backward. Every woman in the book who goes along with an arranged marriage is shown as a victim that the reader should feel sorry for. The novel would’ve been a perfect opportunity for the author to explore the positive aspects of arranged marriage, something rarely discussed in Western literature. Unfortunately, it makes the book seem very one-sided and adds nothing new to the arranged marriage debate.