Saturday, 4 June 2005

Book Review: Serving Crazy With Curry (Amulya Malladi)

About time for another book review, I think. I finished Amulya Malladi's Serving Crazy with Curry on the plane to Seoul, in just under four hours. I'd read Malladi's The Mango Season last year, and kinda liked it, so when I saw this book in the Times Warehouse Sale going for RM8, I immediately picked it up.

I LIKE this kind of books - the kind that are not too thick, can be read easily, simple, not too heavy, and still make you want to finish it in one shot.

On with the review:

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Title: Serving Crazy with Curry
Author: Amulya Malladi

Synopsis:
On the morning Devi decides to take her life, fate conspires against her. Fate in the form of her mother, Saroj, who uses her spare key to let herself into her youngest daughter's apartment when she thinks she's at work.

But, having lost yet another job, and knowing she will never live up to the example her oldest sister has set her as a traditional Indian wife, Devi had decided to take the easy way out.

But it seems she can add suicide to her list of failings. But whilst Saroj insists on telling the world that it was she who saved her daughter's life, Devi isn't sure what she's been saved for.

Forced to move back in with her parents until she is strong enough to resume her life, she adopts a vow of silence. Instead, she begins to cook.

Wild, crazy concoctions that are so delicious the family is drawn again and again to the table. As Devi's silence grows, so does her family's bewilderment at her behavior.

Tension builds and others begin to talk. And secrets are revealed that rock the family to its core...

Main Characters:
  • Devi: tries to commit suicide, but is 'saved' by her mother. Takes a vow of silence and begins to cook instead.
  • Devi's mother: Very bossy, overbearing, and annoying to her daughters.
  • Devi's father: One-armed, and loves his daughters very much. Marriage falling apart too.
  • Devi's Grandma: Unconventional Indian lady who divorced her husband to fend for herself.
  • Devi's Sister: Tries to be the perfect Indian daughter, but is feeling the pressures of it.

What I liked:
  • Simple to read
  • Nice cover
  • Nice story
  • Nice pace to the story
  • Nice little twist in the end (though I saw it coming halfway through the book)
  • Ah heck, it's a NICE book.
  • Using recipes at the end of the chapter to summarize the main character's thoughts is a nice touch.
  • The subject is one that seems to be rehashed in every other book by an Indian author, but Malladi writes well enough to make you want to finish it in one sitting.
  • Interesting premise (though a little illogical to me. Never mind)
  • Not as 'weepy' as many other books on similar subjects

What I didn't like:
  • Read a little to much like her last book - The Mango Season.
  • Some of the characters were stereotypical ones that one usually see in these kind of books
  • Tends to 'explain' a certain situation or a character's past by 'telling' it directly to the reader, instead of 'showing it'. Not a big flaw, and I suspect that Malladi should get better in this aspect as she goes on.
Summary:
All in all, a nice little book that serves as a nice filler before heavier meals... er.. books. Like I said on top, I like this kind of books - a familiar subject written well, in a not too weepy or heavy way, and not too thick either.

I seldom finish books in one sitting unless it REALLY makes me want to keep reading it till the end. So what if I was stuck in an airplane with nothing else to do? For making me finish it in one shot, Serving Crazy with Curry deserves a special mention.

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