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Well-Behaved Indian Women

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From a compelling new voice in women's fiction comes a mother-daughter story about three generations of women who struggle to define themselves as they pursue their dreams. Simran Mehta has always felt harshly judged by her mother, Nandini, especially when it comes to her little "writing hobby." But when a charismatic and highly respected journalist careens into Simran's li From a compelling new voice in women's fiction comes a mother-daughter story about three generations of women who struggle to define themselves as they pursue their dreams. Simran Mehta has always felt harshly judged by her mother, Nandini, especially when it comes to her little "writing hobby." But when a charismatic and highly respected journalist careens into Simran's life, she begins to question not only her future as a psychologist, but her engagement to her high school sweetheart. Nandini Mehta has strived to create an easy life for her children in America. From dealing with her husband's demanding family to the casual racism of her patients, everything Nandini has endured has been for her children's sake. It isn't until an old colleague makes her a life-changing offer that Nandini realizes she's spent so much time focusing on being the Perfect Indian Woman, she's let herself slip away. Mimi Kadakia failed her daughter, Nandini, in ways she'll never be able to fix---or forget. But with her granddaughter, she has the chance to be supportive and offer help when it's needed. As life begins to pull Nandini and Simran apart, Mimi is determined to be the bridge that keeps them connected, even as she carries her own secret burden.


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From a compelling new voice in women's fiction comes a mother-daughter story about three generations of women who struggle to define themselves as they pursue their dreams. Simran Mehta has always felt harshly judged by her mother, Nandini, especially when it comes to her little "writing hobby." But when a charismatic and highly respected journalist careens into Simran's li From a compelling new voice in women's fiction comes a mother-daughter story about three generations of women who struggle to define themselves as they pursue their dreams. Simran Mehta has always felt harshly judged by her mother, Nandini, especially when it comes to her little "writing hobby." But when a charismatic and highly respected journalist careens into Simran's life, she begins to question not only her future as a psychologist, but her engagement to her high school sweetheart. Nandini Mehta has strived to create an easy life for her children in America. From dealing with her husband's demanding family to the casual racism of her patients, everything Nandini has endured has been for her children's sake. It isn't until an old colleague makes her a life-changing offer that Nandini realizes she's spent so much time focusing on being the Perfect Indian Woman, she's let herself slip away. Mimi Kadakia failed her daughter, Nandini, in ways she'll never be able to fix---or forget. But with her granddaughter, she has the chance to be supportive and offer help when it's needed. As life begins to pull Nandini and Simran apart, Mimi is determined to be the bridge that keeps them connected, even as she carries her own secret burden.

30 review for Well-Behaved Indian Women

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    Simran is a writer and psychologist, judged by her mother, Nandini, who feels writing isn’t a “job.” When a journalist comes knocking, it makes Simran question her career and her engagement. Nandini, Simran’s mother, has done the best she can to provide a good life for her children. She faces racism in the workplace and at home, she is often placating her husband’s difficult family. Her ideal in life has been to be the “Perfect Indian Woman.” Mimi is the mother of Nandini. She feels like a failure Simran is a writer and psychologist, judged by her mother, Nandini, who feels writing isn’t a “job.” When a journalist comes knocking, it makes Simran question her career and her engagement. Nandini, Simran’s mother, has done the best she can to provide a good life for her children. She faces racism in the workplace and at home, she is often placating her husband’s difficult family. Her ideal in life has been to be the “Perfect Indian Woman.” Mimi is the mother of Nandini. She feels like a failure as a mother, but she strives to be a good grandmother to Simran. Well-Behaved Indian Women is incredibly well-written. It’s a story about how women don’t often follow our dreams, how we strive for certain ideals that culture or society dictate. The characters are complex and lovable. This is very much a character-driven book, and I adored every bit of watching them grow as their relationships were tested. This is such a gem of a book, and I look forward to more from Saumya Dave in the future. I received a gifted copy. All opinions are my own. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

  2. 5 out of 5

    Taylor Reid

    This debut is such a great story about mothers and daughters over three generations. Simran, Nandini, and Mimi are all incredibly different women, navigating the world the best they can—and to see the way they support and challenge one another reminded me of some of the most pitch-perfect moments in another wonderful grandmother-mother-daughter story, Jane the Virgin.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Roshani Chokshi

    Compelling, emotionally nuanced and hard to put down. I loved Dave's intergenerational saga about a mother, daughter and grandmother. I also really loved that this was a book about reclaiming identity and pushing back on the myth that people should have their lives figured out in their 20s. An amazing debut, and a book that I think will resonate with so many.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Theresa Alan

    I loved this novel so much. It’s really well written. After seven years of dating Kunal behind their parents’ backs, Simran and Kunal are engaged, right on schedule. Kunal is in medical school and Simran is almost finished with her master’s degree in psychology. Her parents think it’s cute but not impressive that she got a collection of her essays published by a small press. Writing is not a real career to her India-born parents, who’s coupling was the result of an arranged marriage. The fact tha I loved this novel so much. It’s really well written. After seven years of dating Kunal behind their parents’ backs, Simran and Kunal are engaged, right on schedule. Kunal is in medical school and Simran is almost finished with her master’s degree in psychology. Her parents think it’s cute but not impressive that she got a collection of her essays published by a small press. Writing is not a real career to her India-born parents, who’s coupling was the result of an arranged marriage. The fact that Simran got to choose her own mate should mean she has nothing to complain about. But when she meets another writer she admires, she’s instantly drawn to him, and everything she thought she wanted from her life is called into question. One of the great things about reading books is that you get to learn about other cultures—what is great about them and what you’re grateful is not part of the way you grew up. The expectations of Simran’s mother Nandini would have driven me into an insane asylum—she’s a doctor, but she was forced to be a family physician with regular hours. She never has enough time for her patients, especially because she has to be the doctor to all of her family members and all of her in-laws while her husband gets to be a surgeon with his own practice. Simran travels to India where many girls stop their education when they begin to menstruate, sometimes getting married because their parents can’t afford her. The parents stress about coming up with a dowry. In America, Nandini and her husband are paying for everything for the wedding, which in no way stops Kunal’s mother from demanding a whole heck of a lot. This is a book about the ways women of all ethnic backgrounds sometimes don’t get to fully follow our dreams. There are complex characters and situations and no easy answers. Recommend. Thanks so much to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this novel, which RELEASES JULY 14, 2020.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Blankfein

    Well Behaved Indian Women by Saumya Dave is a mother-daughter story, about Indian women, culture, relationships, and life choices. I really enjoyed this one and learned a lot from my book club discussion with the author. Simran is in her 20s, pursuing a degree in psychology and she also has just written a book. Her parents, Nandini and Ranjit Mehta are both doctors and are encouraging her to follow in their footsteps, treating her writing efforts as a hobby. With the pressure to have her life all Well Behaved Indian Women by Saumya Dave is a mother-daughter story, about Indian women, culture, relationships, and life choices. I really enjoyed this one and learned a lot from my book club discussion with the author. Simran is in her 20s, pursuing a degree in psychology and she also has just written a book. Her parents, Nandini and Ranjit Mehta are both doctors and are encouraging her to follow in their footsteps, treating her writing efforts as a hobby. With the pressure to have her life all figured out, she is engaged to be married to Kunal, her high school sweetheart, who is studying to become a doctor, but she becomes distracted when she meets her handsome writing idol, Neil. Simran begins to question her career choice and her attraction to Neil is undeniable. Attempting to stay true to Kunal and taking a break from her studies, Simran travels to India to visit her grandmother, Mami. Simran’s relationship with her mother could be rocky yet she has a special relationship with her grandmother that is easier to navigate. Mami shares some family secrets which give Simran insight when it comes to her mother and her actions. Throughout the book, all three women are on their personal paths to self discovery and their relationships with each other morph and deepen as they grow. The pressures of Indian family expectations and tradition, combined with the urge to please creates difficult situations where Simran, her mother and grandmother have to make big life affirming decisions. Amongst temptation, and with a refocus on their goals, interests and talents, these strong women choose to follow their own paths. I had the wonderful opportunity to welcome Saumya Dave to my book group and we had informative and thoughtful discussion surrounding the characters in the book as well as Indian culture and traditions (including arranged marriages and mother-in-laws). We learned how her husband inspired the character of handsome, charismatic Neil, how she received 10 rejections from publishers the day she got married and over 100 in total, and how readers at publishing houses wanted to hear more about Nandini, a character that experienced struggles and exemplified strength and courage. Well-Behaved Indian Women is a great read and has so much to offer. I highly recommend it! Saumya Dave’s next book takes place in Atlanta and touches on Indian and Jewish culture with mental health as the focus. Check out my interview with author Saumya Dave on Book Nation by Jen https://booknationbyjen.com/2020/09/3...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sahitya

    I’m always excited when I discover a debut desi author and when I first saw this book being promoted, I instantly fell in love with that cover. And despite it belonging to the women’s fiction genre (which I don’t read a lot), I decided I wanted to give it a try. And here I am after finishing it in a single sitting because I couldn’t put it down. This is essentially a story about a mother and her daughter, both trying to understand each other and themselves better and also trying to make the righ I’m always excited when I discover a debut desi author and when I first saw this book being promoted, I instantly fell in love with that cover. And despite it belonging to the women’s fiction genre (which I don’t read a lot), I decided I wanted to give it a try. And here I am after finishing it in a single sitting because I couldn’t put it down. This is essentially a story about a mother and her daughter, both trying to understand each other and themselves better and also trying to make the right choices for the next phase of their life. The writing in this book is so accessible and easy to get lost in, that I didn’t even realize how much time had passed before I even took a break from my reading. The way the author captures the feelings, emotions, guilt, self hatred, confusion, ambition, and so much else about these two women - (who are the products of a very specific Indian patriarchal society that burdens the women to give their all for the sake of their families at the expense of their own needs and desires )- is thoughtful and poignant and very relatable. To be honest, I was frustrated and angry most of the time while reading the book, not because there was anything wrong with the story or characters but because of the exact opposite. It was too realistic and I felt like I was being shown a mirror of my own life (and future) and those of many women I know, and I frankly wasn’t ready to face it. And I have to commend the author for getting such a strong reaction out of me. You may be thinking why is my review so short which is kinda unusual for me, but as I said, this book was brilliantly written and was too realistic in a way that made me uncomfortable and I didn’t want this review to become a personal rant. If you are someone who loves reading books about complicated women, their dreams, fears, ambitions and relationships, then I would definitely recommend this book to you. I loved the message that sometimes, it’s important for us women to standup for ourselves and being ambitious or indecisive, both are okay.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lori Spielman

    I loved this book, from its mysterious prologue to its satisfying end! Saumya Dave weaves a spellbinding tale seeped in Indian culture, ripe with conflict, and filled with characters who’ll capture your heart. This sumptuous tale of hope and love and family loyalty will resonate with any woman seeking the courage to resurrect an abandoned dream. Don't miss this one!

  8. 5 out of 5

    eyes.2c

    I've really been enjoying the upsurge of multicultural historical and contemporary fiction that's been published lately. I so wanted to enjoy this story of three generations of Indian women. Grandmother Mimi Kadakia, mother Nandini Mehta and daughter Simran Mehta. All are locked not only into their intergenerational challenges, cultural and racial discords, but their personal challenges. All great tension building opportunities, however for some reason I just didn't engage to the degree I'd hop I've really been enjoying the upsurge of multicultural historical and contemporary fiction that's been published lately. I so wanted to enjoy this story of three generations of Indian women. Grandmother Mimi Kadakia, mother Nandini Mehta and daughter Simran Mehta. All are locked not only into their intergenerational challenges, cultural and racial discords, but their personal challenges. All great tension building opportunities, however for some reason I just didn't engage to the degree I'd hoped I would. A Berkley Group ARC via NetGalley

  9. 5 out of 5

    Marilyn

    4.5 Stars! This beautiful debut novel, Well-Behaved Indian Women by Saumya Dave, explored the relationships between three generations of mothers and daughters of Indian descent. I always loved reading books about Indian culture and this one revealed so many aspects of it. It explored arranged marriages and the sacrifices and burdens indian women faced as a result, the importance of education for children of Indian immigrant parents including good grades and prosperous and respectable careers, an 4.5 Stars! This beautiful debut novel, Well-Behaved Indian Women by Saumya Dave, explored the relationships between three generations of mothers and daughters of Indian descent. I always loved reading books about Indian culture and this one revealed so many aspects of it. It explored arranged marriages and the sacrifices and burdens indian women faced as a result, the importance of education for children of Indian immigrant parents including good grades and prosperous and respectable careers, and doing what is expected and mandated from birth. The chapters alternated between Simran Mehta, a twenty something year old American born Indian girl struggling to find her dream career, Nandini Mehta, Simran’s mother and Mimi Kadakia, Simran’s grandmother and Nandini’s mother. It seemed like Saumya Dave drew from her own life experiences to make this book current, authentic and meaningful. I received a complimentary digital copy of Well-Behaved Indian Women by Saumya Dave from Berkley publishers through a goodreads give away. I highly recommend this book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    I had finished watching "Indian Matchmaker" on Netflix and enjoyed it so much. This book felt like an extension of that show. A generational story of three women and the effects of arranged marriage and love marriage. Great debut

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sharon May

    Many thanks to NetGalley, Berkley Publishing, and Saumya Dave for the opportunity to read this wonderful debut novel - 5 stars! Three generations of Indian women, struggling to fit into family and societal expectations and still maintain some sense of their own wants and needs. We meet Simran, studying to be a psychologist and engaged to her childhood sweetheart but suddenly not sure if either path is right for her. Simran's mother, Nandini, working as a physician after putting her husband's care Many thanks to NetGalley, Berkley Publishing, and Saumya Dave for the opportunity to read this wonderful debut novel - 5 stars! Three generations of Indian women, struggling to fit into family and societal expectations and still maintain some sense of their own wants and needs. We meet Simran, studying to be a psychologist and engaged to her childhood sweetheart but suddenly not sure if either path is right for her. Simran's mother, Nandini, working as a physician after putting her husband's career path, his family and their children first and not feeling satisfied with her life either. Nandini's mother, Mimi, still living in India and trying to make a difference in young girls' lives as well as support her daughter and granddaughter. This would be an absolutely perfect book club selection - there is so much to discuss in this well-written book. The Indian culture of arranged marriages, familial expectations, women's and girl's roles and even the wedding planning were fascinating to learn more about. But there are issues here affecting every woman today - the feeling of not being able to live up to having it all, putting everything on hold for families, discrimination in the workplace, family secrets and expectations. Highly recommended!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tova

    This book takes relatable content (though in the most unexpected way for me) to a new level. Also: NEIL DESAI...that's it that the review. RTC

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Seifert

    I loved all the different point of views. Great book! ❤📚

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lian Dolan

    This book was the perfect anecdote to stay at home anxiety-- a rich, warm thoughtful tapestry of three generations of Indian women in one family. Well-paced, the author is able to take a look back at each woman's lives while keeping the story bubbling along in a contemporary fashion. The subject of marriage-- both arranged and free choice, good and bad, for love and for money-- is the story engine here. Fascinating to me. But the payoff is the relationships between the women. This is a 2020 Sate This book was the perfect anecdote to stay at home anxiety-- a rich, warm thoughtful tapestry of three generations of Indian women in one family. Well-paced, the author is able to take a look back at each woman's lives while keeping the story bubbling along in a contemporary fashion. The subject of marriage-- both arranged and free choice, good and bad, for love and for money-- is the story engine here. Fascinating to me. But the payoff is the relationships between the women. This is a 2020 Satellite Sisters Best Beach Bag Books pick.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ruby

    3.5 stars rounded up. I liked reading about the three generations of Indian/Indian-American women and their coming into their own. I did get a bit tired of the repeated description of how Indian-American parents compete in terms of their children's accomplishments and what that does to their children, especially in terms of snide remarks and back-handed compliments. But I did appreciate when someone finally stood up to it [no spoiler here, you can see it coming from a mile away]. And I appreciat 3.5 stars rounded up. I liked reading about the three generations of Indian/Indian-American women and their coming into their own. I did get a bit tired of the repeated description of how Indian-American parents compete in terms of their children's accomplishments and what that does to their children, especially in terms of snide remarks and back-handed compliments. But I did appreciate when someone finally stood up to it [no spoiler here, you can see it coming from a mile away]. And I appreciated how it ended, not really tying everything up in neat bows and ribbons.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jane Igharo

    I loved this story about three generations of Indian women. It was so refreshing stepping into their world and getting to know their culture, struggles, and experiences! Saumya is such a talented writer! Highly recommend this!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Loved this! Such a great message about standing up for yourself and fighting for what you know is right. Loved the idea that women are allowed to be and have more than one “self.”

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ariel | swirlofspice

    The story follows three generations of mothers and daughters: Simran Mehta, her mother Nandini, and her grandma, Mami. All of them feel misunderstood by each other, and the plot follows each of their plights, as they struggle to find themselves and confront their past. This is a difficult review for me to write; as an Indian-American begging for representation, I was overjoyed to see this story, especially a women-centric one. But it’s important to note I bring so much of my own baggage with want The story follows three generations of mothers and daughters: Simran Mehta, her mother Nandini, and her grandma, Mami. All of them feel misunderstood by each other, and the plot follows each of their plights, as they struggle to find themselves and confront their past. This is a difficult review for me to write; as an Indian-American begging for representation, I was overjoyed to see this story, especially a women-centric one. But it’s important to note I bring so much of my own baggage with wanting representation, which is impossible for me to shake. I didn’t want to discount the connection I had to these characters because we come from the same culture; I inherently understood their perspective, so that added tremendous value to the story for me. Then, I became frustrated, wondering if that is a fair basis to give a glowing review. But what if that’s a connection that has always already existed between white authors, readers, and characters? I wouldn’t know. That being said, I loved what this book addressed: the expectations of South Asian culture and its inherent sexism. How hard it is to follow your heart, whether in love or your career. How the culture requires silence and submission from women, how that is both a strength and an impossible burden. But...I couldn’t get into the book. It was in present tense (we know I can’t do present tense), so I was never fully immersed in the story. The narrative felt disjointed at certain parts; sometimes, the entire plot was in the dialogue, other times it was told directly to the reader. There were time gaps that confused me, and pivotal scenes happened off the page. I’ve decided I can’t rate this book, really. I am tremendously grateful that this exists, but, at the end of the day, I wasn’t invested in the story. I don’t know if that’s because of my own reading preferences, or because, ironically, my own experiences are too close to the story. Pick this up on July 14th & tell me what you think! Netgalley and Berkeley Books provided this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    A very well written and thought provoking story of daughter/mother relationships, plus relationships to friends and partners. The characters are finding their way into who they truly are and need to be. While it was related to Indian culture and explored the themes through that, it still has universal application.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    When life for the entire universe and planet turns on its end and like everyone else you "have nothing to do" while your place of work is closed, superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them When life for the entire universe and planet turns on its end and like everyone else you "have nothing to do" while your place of work is closed, superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. From a compelling new voice in women's fiction comes a mother-daughter story about three generations of women who struggle to define themselves as they pursue their dreams. Simran Mehta has always felt harshly judged by her mother, Nandini, especially when it comes to her little "writing hobby." But when a charismatic and highly respected journalist careens into Simran's life, she begins to question not only her future as a psychologist but her engagement to her high school sweetheart. Nandini Mehta has strived to create an easy life for her children in America. From dealing with her husband's demanding family to the casual racism of her patients, everything Nandini has endured has been for her children's sake. It isn’t until an old colleague makes her a life-changing offer that Nandini realizes she's spent so much time focusing on being the Perfect Indian Woman, she’s let herself slip away. Mimi Kadakia failed her daughter, Nandini, in ways she'll never be able to fix­—or forget. But with her granddaughter, she has the chance to be supportive and offer help when it's needed. As life begins to pull Nandini and Simran apart, Mimi is determined to be the bridge that keeps them connected, even as she carries her own secret burden. These are some interesting women, to say the least. They were easy to identify with as mothers and daughters alike no matter what the ethnicity These women are fascinating and well-rounded and the story was a delight to read. - we women all have secrets, carry burdens and are all daughters to someone. The is a perfect book or book clubs to dissect as pretty much any woman could identify with the characters in the book and what they go through. I think it will be the September book club pick that I am hosting - I am already thinking of what Indian food I can serve when and if we can gather as a group again as this #COVID19 stuff is REAL. (our book club this month was a group Skype!) Side note: The first thing I thought when I read the title was about how horrible it is to be a woman in India as one can get gang-raped (and then shamed and cast-aside after as they are no longer "pure") for the simple reason that she was on the bus home from the market!) I am sure that will be part of our block club chat. As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/Tik-Tok and YouTube Millionaires/etc. " on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it 🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Mimi Kadakia was the perfect Indian woman while her husband was alive, but she will never forget how she failed her daughter. Nandini Mehta moved to America with her new husband in an effort to ensure her future children would never have to go to through what she did. Despite thinking this will be a fresh start for her too, she is so focused on being the perfect Indian wife that she lets opportunities slip away. Simran Mehta has always been a bit of a wildcard and perhaps that is why her parents Mimi Kadakia was the perfect Indian woman while her husband was alive, but she will never forget how she failed her daughter. Nandini Mehta moved to America with her new husband in an effort to ensure her future children would never have to go to through what she did. Despite thinking this will be a fresh start for her too, she is so focused on being the perfect Indian wife that she lets opportunities slip away. Simran Mehta has always been a bit of a wildcard and perhaps that is why her parents have no faith in her ability to be an adult. She dated her high school sweetheart (and now fiancé) behind her parents back for years, she rejected becoming a doctor to study psychology, and now she is blowing up her entire life. A look into the pressures of being the perfect Indian woman though three generations and how it leads to an ongoing struggle to define themselves. I loved this book so much. First of all, the generational aspect was amazing. I loved getting to know all three women as individuals, but it was even more satisfying to learn about their relationships with one another (especially as they were learning how to better communicate with each other). It also allowed the reader to draw parallels between the struggles of these women, while noting the many differences between their circumstances. Can we talk about the men in this book? Women's fiction or not, I was grateful for their presence. They added an additional layer of depth -- learning how their culture impacts them, their relationships with their children, and their perspectives of the women were invaluable. Not to mention they were just interesting characters. But ALL of the characters in this book were amazing (even Ranjit's meddling family), so it should come as no surprise. Someone option this as a movie, please. Many thanks to the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Available July 14, 2020.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Verant

    Saumya Dave has crafted an exquisite book in this extraordinarily well-written debut. The story primarily follows the lives-past and present-of a daughter, Simran, and her mother, Nandini, and digs into daughter/mother relationships as well as societal pressures and staying true to yourself and your dreams. As we learn about Indian culture and traditions that still exist today (in context and not preachy), there are many life lessons to take into account, regardless of your ethnicity. I was comp Saumya Dave has crafted an exquisite book in this extraordinarily well-written debut. The story primarily follows the lives-past and present-of a daughter, Simran, and her mother, Nandini, and digs into daughter/mother relationships as well as societal pressures and staying true to yourself and your dreams. As we learn about Indian culture and traditions that still exist today (in context and not preachy), there are many life lessons to take into account, regardless of your ethnicity. I was completely absorbed with the meticulous plot, the well-developed and completely relatable characters (especially Simran!), and the conflict-both internal and external-and I kept turning the pages until the story ended. A beautiful book! Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lily Herman

    Saumya Dave's debut novel Well-Behaved Indian Women had powerful themes around the importance of family, the loving and yet stultifying nature of community, and what it means to be an Indian woman—and a woman at large—in our society. Simran and Nandini in particular could both be equally empowering and frustrating characters, and I loved that they contained multitudes. That said, I had issues with the lack of plot throughout the book (especially in the first half) and the pacing throughout. After Saumya Dave's debut novel Well-Behaved Indian Women had powerful themes around the importance of family, the loving and yet stultifying nature of community, and what it means to be an Indian woman—and a woman at large—in our society. Simran and Nandini in particular could both be equally empowering and frustrating characters, and I loved that they contained multitudes. That said, I had issues with the lack of plot throughout the book (especially in the first half) and the pacing throughout. After a certain point, it felt like we were going in circles with the same conflicts over and over again, only for them to suddenly evaporate at the very end of the novel.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Falguni Kothari

    The title of Dave's debut novel triggered a bunch of feels in me. So often I've been told to "behave" in a certain way as an Indian woman. More often I've rebelled against those so-called societal rules. In Dave's novel, three generations of Indian women face the challenges of doing what is right for them or what will be accepted from them and of them. Lovely first book by Saumya Dave. A nice glimpse into an Indian-American family.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Chermaine

    Absolutely amazing representation of how complicated mother and daughter relationships are and can be but, each woman has their own story to tell .I was sad when it ended. I wanted more but I'm looking forward to seeing more from this author.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ashwini

    I read this book after I read Joy Luck Club (a Chinese immigrant experience) expecting similar rich stories from an Indian immigrant. Kind of disappointed because of those expectations. But also with the depth of the stories and characters. Each chapter felt like it was trying to build up suspense only to fall flat in the next chapter, like eh this was all that hype for. I couldn't relate to the grandmother's voice, nor Simrans. Whenever Nandini came into the picture though, I wanted to read more I read this book after I read Joy Luck Club (a Chinese immigrant experience) expecting similar rich stories from an Indian immigrant. Kind of disappointed because of those expectations. But also with the depth of the stories and characters. Each chapter felt like it was trying to build up suspense only to fall flat in the next chapter, like eh this was all that hype for. I couldn't relate to the grandmother's voice, nor Simrans. Whenever Nandini came into the picture though, I wanted to read more. Quick easy read. Read the Joy Luck Club again instead.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Meghan Dolan

    Wow!! One of my favorite books I've read in 2020! As a lover of Indian culture, I was very excited to read this book revolving around a daughter, mother and grandmother mostly set in NYC with some parts in Baroda. What a beautiful debut. Seamless writing, great character development and a relatable story about mothers and daughters, sacrifice, and the changes we go through at different stages of life. I really hope the author will publish a second book because I was so sad when it ended.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Laurel

    This book. SUCH a joy. It gets an Emotional Feelometer of 🤩 but almost a 😍 … I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and it was exactly the pick-me-up I needed. Though I am not an Indian American, two of my dearest friends are, and there were times where I was laughing out loud thinking about all of the conversations we have had over the years about dating and love and marriage intermixed with the added complication of having traditional Indian parents. The ways in which the main character, Simran, illus This book. SUCH a joy. It gets an Emotional Feelometer of 🤩 but almost a 😍 … I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and it was exactly the pick-me-up I needed. Though I am not an Indian American, two of my dearest friends are, and there were times where I was laughing out loud thinking about all of the conversations we have had over the years about dating and love and marriage intermixed with the added complication of having traditional Indian parents. The ways in which the main character, Simran, illustrated what it means to navigate and marry (for lack of a better term) her families traditions with the traditions inherent in her American upbringing was really beautifully done. She was forced to have a louder voice to stick up for the path she wanted her life to take. I also found this to be a wonderfully thought-provoking story about inter-generational female relationships, which was especially poignant in the context of an Indian American family. This idea that simply understanding one another can harness that much power and love and compassion was a great reminder for me and I thought Dave’s message, rooted in what it means to pave the way for the dreams of those to follow you, was quite beautiful. I also couldn’t help feeling all the feelings when it came full circle for Simran’s mother, Nandini. The moment she realized that the dreams she had for her daughter could also be her own got an outloud-to-no-one ‘yaaaaaas’ from me.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Afshaan Purvez

    It's very rare to find a modern story about Indian women that isn't exaggerated in some way or the other. Whether it's Bend it Like Beckham, or Bride and Prejudice or whatever other stuff is out there, I find it super difficult to relate to the characters that are SUPPOSED to reflect me. I read a book recently called "The Marriage Pact" which hit the predicament of a young South Asian woman on the nose. This book does the same for the complex relationship dynamics of women from three different g It's very rare to find a modern story about Indian women that isn't exaggerated in some way or the other. Whether it's Bend it Like Beckham, or Bride and Prejudice or whatever other stuff is out there, I find it super difficult to relate to the characters that are SUPPOSED to reflect me. I read a book recently called "The Marriage Pact" which hit the predicament of a young South Asian woman on the nose. This book does the same for the complex relationship dynamics of women from three different generations. If culture overall has evolved in the past few decades, Indian culture has evolved at twice that pace. Yet, we continue to have to balance our independence with the doctrine of respect we are expected to conform to when it comes to the previous generations. This book explores that dynamic and shows how all of us need to adapt and understand that at the end of the day, we want similar things, no matter which generation we live in - respect and love. This was shown in such a beautiful way, woven into the lives of three women who are doing well on the surface, but struggling from the restraint we've had to impose upon ourselves due to the culture we are born into! I loved Simran, Nandini and Mimi equally - okay Mimi a little more than the other two. But all the characters are so realistic, I wouldn't be surprised if it was written about a family friend!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Marjorie Elwood

    A fascinating look into another culture, this is a book about the expectations that bind us to lives that deny our true selves. It's told from the perspective of a grandmother, a mother, and a daughter, each one carrying her own secret. The author captures the exhaustion/depression/anxiety of being in a job or life that you don't like. I did find that it wrapped up a little too handily. The acknowledgment says it best: "To anyone who has ever felt different, struggled to find a story that repres A fascinating look into another culture, this is a book about the expectations that bind us to lives that deny our true selves. It's told from the perspective of a grandmother, a mother, and a daughter, each one carrying her own secret. The author captures the exhaustion/depression/anxiety of being in a job or life that you don't like. I did find that it wrapped up a little too handily. The acknowledgment says it best: "To anyone who has ever felt different, struggled to find a story that represents them, or been told to put their book down already, I hope this book can provide some solace."

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