ARC Review: Well-Behaved Indian Women by Saumya Dave

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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PS: Thank you to Berkley and Netgalley for providing me with this advance copy. All opinions expressed here are unbiased and solely mine.

10 thoughts on “ARC Review: Well-Behaved Indian Women by Saumya Dave

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  1. 🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺 Oh gosh I can imagine how difficult this book must’ve been to read. If there’s one thing about your Sahi, it’s that you’re daring and you don’t let the possibility of a book being too real/relatable stop you from reading it. ♥️♥️ You’ve for a brave reader heart. I hope you’re doing well. ♥️♥️♥️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Ahana.. it’s not that brave though babe but sweet of you that you think that of me ☺️☺️☺️
      It really was a tough book sometimes because it’s not nice when a book feels like a mirror…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Now I really want to read this book. I think as an Indian we could connect to it. It is something we struggle with. What we learn on our own about the world and then the patriarchal norms trying to bring us down. I am all in for such stories.

    Liked by 1 person

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