Monday, July 18, 2016

Book Review: A House for Happy Mothers

by: Amulya Malladi

**I received a free digital copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

This story was amazing. I love watching Bollywood movies, so this caught my attention by being a story mostly set in India. But it goes beyond anything you'll see in a Bollywood flick. This deals with the harsh reality of being poor in India.

There are 2 women, both named after Hope. One is half Indian (Praya) living in America, but married to an Indian man. While staying with his family, they find a surrogate, Asha. Asha is very poor, and already has 2 children. Her oldest boy is extremely intelligent, and this is the only way she can scrape together the money to send him to a good school.

Praya's mother plays devil's advocate. Isn't this taking advantage of the poor? And you'll have to draw that conclusion for yourself. But it's a hard place to be where your best option is to rent out your uterus. It can't be easy to carry a baby to term and give it up, even if it's not genetically your baby.

The story flipped between Praya and Asha. I think Asha did get some good out of the arrangement. It pushed her and her husband to a place that Asha never would have gone on her own. And she learned how much he really loved and and was willing to be equal partners with her. She never would have found this out otherwise, Asha prides herself on being a "good" Indian wife.

Praya learns more about her own mother, they have a really difficult relationship. And she learns more about the Indian culture, even if she refuses to participate in some of it. Like refusing to call her mother's friends Auntie and Uncle - which is a sign of respect in India. I felt she was a bit stuck up, but it made for a great comparison against Asha. Asha was also a bit stuck up, but I think it all pointed to how we all have our own assumptions about how the world works, and maybe we should remember there's more to the story than we can ever see.

The writing and the flow were fantastic. I will definitely be looking up more from this author!

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