Read All the Fishes Come Home to Roost: An American Misfit in India by Rachel Manija Brown Online


When she was seven, Rachel Manija Brown's parents, post-60s hippies, uprooted her from her native California and moved to an ashram in a cobra-ridden, drought-stricken spot in India. Cavorting through these pages are some wonderfully eccentric characters: the ashram head, Meher Baba, best known as the guru to Pete Townshend of The Who; the librarian, who grunts and howls nWhen she was seven, Rachel Manija Brown's parents, post-60s hippies, uprooted her from her native California and moved to an ashram in a cobra-ridden, drought-stricken spot in India. Cavorting through these pages are some wonderfully eccentric characters: the ashram head, Meher Baba, best known as the guru to Pete Townshend of The Who; the librarian, who grunts and howls nightly outside Rachel's window; a holy madman, who shuffles about collecting invisible objects; a middle-aged male virgin, who begs Rachel to critique his epic spiritual poems; and a delusional Russian who arrives at the ashram proclaiming he is Meher Baba reincarnated.Astutely observed and laugh-out-loud funny, All the Fishes Come Home to Roost is an astonishing debut memoir—now available in paperback—and the arrival of a major new literary talent. The hardcover edition was named a Book Sense Pick and was selected as a Book of the Week by's Book Club....

Title : All the Fishes Come Home to Roost: An American Misfit in India
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781594865268
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 352 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

All the Fishes Come Home to Roost: An American Misfit in India Reviews

  • Sunil
    2019-01-01 16:31

    This memoir is about a seven-year-old white girl whose parents take her to Ahmednagar, India to live in an ashram with disciples of Baba, a spiritual leader (deceased at the time) who claimed he was God (and Jesus and Krishna and Buddha and just about everyone else). She is the only foreign child there. At the ashram, she's surrounded by wackaloons whose explanation for everything is "Baba's will," and at school, she's surrounded by kids who throw rocks at her for being an outsider and teachers who beat her for not uncapping a pen.It's a very funny book! I don't know why I didn't expect it to be so funny, but it came as a pleasant surprise. After reading the first chapter, I knew it was a book I'd have a hard time putting down. I know Rachel has a great sense of humor, so of course she can tell a funny yarn or seventeen about her wacky adventures in India. It was fun to see India from her outsider's perspective—especially since I kind of come from the same perspective when I visit. She mines a lot of laughs out of the strange mannerisms (the shake/nod), multipurpose euphemisms ("He is out of station"), and crazy drivers. Her tone is not mocking but bewildered. She was a very precocious, cynical child, which makes her an interesting tour guide.I was reminded somewhat of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, as both are about a kid trying to fit in in a different culture. They also have a similar narrative structure. Fishes doesn't really have a strong narrative throughline, exactly; rather, each chapter is sort of a little short story describing a particular character or group of characters or relating a specific anecdote. I didn't mind because, as I said, the book is very funny and the stories are entertaining, but after about 200 pages, I began to get a little frustrated, wondering what the purpose of including each chapter was. How did they all fit together? Was this incident really important for her growth? Memoirs are weird because life isn't always narratively satisfying. I had to stop looking for a clear story and just appreciate it as a collection of interesting experiences that were a formative and memorable part of her childhood, whether or not their influences were clear and defined or not.Not to say that there isn't a story. As you would expect, Rachel's relationship with her parents grows and develops over the course of the book. As does Rachel, of course. She becomes obsessed with Indian history and, while the people around her idolize Baba, she idolizes stalwart soldiers who stood their ground and fought and died for what they believed in. So she fancies herself a soldier. And the image of a little eight-year-old girl trying to survive her childhood by becoming a soldier is just too cute and adorable. And sad? Maybe a little sad.

  • Amy
    2019-01-04 16:47

    Read this over Thanksgiving and have been mulling it about in my little brain since then. On the surface, this is a decently written memoir about a girl dragged off to India by her ex-hippie parents to live in an Ashram dedicated to the life and teachings of Meher Baba. There are some humorous parts, some heartbreaking parts. The thing that makes this different for me is that I know just about every person who appears in this memoir (book disclaimer: the names have been changed to protect the innocent, guilty, ignorant, insane, and normal who appear in the book.)The last time I saw the author of this book, she was probably about 8. At 8, many of us are not at our best, but I do remember her to be bright, somewhat precocious and pretty remarkably left to thrive or fail on her own while her parents were busy elsewhere. Precocious children are not always easy to be around, and particularly if they're inquisitive, can be annoying. It's hard to be essentially the only child in an adult environment. As to the depictions of the people in the book, she was clear enough that I could easily identify all but a few (and it turns out from reading her website that she made "compilation" characters for a couple of folks in the book, when introducing a new person into the narrative wouldn't necessarily add to the flow of the story. I can live with that.) I know that there are those familiar with the book who will find it odd I am not upset about one particular occurrence in the book. If you know what I mean, and wonder why I am not angry/horrified/upset/bereft etc, write me privately and I'm happy to discuss it with you. I just don't want to do it here, in a public forum. (And no, I'm not in the book at all, though I do regret not knowing how much she loved to read. I would have sent her some awesome books.)I've often thought, whether looking at the lives of saints, or any of the figures that have been declared God-incarnate, that were these souls not seen as holy, they'd be seen as insane. (I remember having discussions about this with my father back in 1979-80 after we each travelled to India, and to this particular ashram to visit. The Free Dispensary nearby is where I did so much volunteer work before I returned home to marry.) But having felt the power of God in many places and times in my own life, I have no doubt that holiness can be found in people and in places. And that it often goes unrecognized or misinterpreted. The thing about this book that do I respect is that Rachel Manija Brown has told her story, and acknowledges that there are other viewpoints, even for the recollections she shares. And that she recognizes and respects the beliefs of others. She may not agree or believe herself, but she acknowledges that what others feel/believe is true for them.

  • Catherine
    2019-01-13 09:32

    I predict that this will be the least cogent review of a book I ever give.Toward the very end of this book, the author describes how she decided to write about her childhood, and break her silence on the misery she'd endured. She spent a long time thinking of everyone else who would be hurt by her sharing her memories, but eventually decided that breaking the silence, and finding her voice, was most important.That was round about the moment I realized this book had been hammering away at my own red hot buttons, and hard.So I will say this - this is simply and elegantly written; I didn't always follow why the narrative paths went the direction that they did (and frequently wondered, 'what's the point of this story?') but that may have more to do with my own personal discomfort than the author's craft; I wanted more - to know more of what happened after the author left the ashram and began to rebuild her life; how that went; how she figured out how to heal. (Again, that may be strongly influenced by my own story.) It's a thought-provoking book, and an even-handed exploration of religious devotion, even while the author's recounting the awful things that came with her being forced to follow the religious devotion someone else felt. I'm not sorry I read it. I'm not really sure I liked it.And from left field - as I looked up snippets about the book online, I saw many references to this book and Eat, Pray, Love in the same breath. Suggesting that the two have anything in common is like comparing The Scarlet Letter and a memoir about the Birmingham church bombing, just because both feature churches. I'm grateful that this book is out there, disabusing the gullible of any notion they might have that ashrams are uniformly enlightened places and India is an uncomplicated spot where self-awareness flows from rocks like honey. But there's room in the world for all sorts, and while Liz Gilbert's book shouldn't be taken to suggest that India is ground zero for internal peace (indeed, she'd say anything but), that's no different from presuming India is more than this author's experience of an ashram and the slightly (or very) demented western residents therein.

  • Kes
    2018-12-19 17:54

    This book is probably the best evidence I've seen that just because you have a story to tell, doesn't mean you should write a book. My mother picked this up, and after reading the blurb we were both keen to read it as it sounded like a very interesting read. I nabbed it to read it first, which almost entirely meant that I got the honour of reading out the most self-congratulatory, precocious, annoying snippets for us to mutually poke fun at or grimace at how this ever got published. While it has everything going for it on paper - an endless, interesting cast of eccentric characters, a unique setting (the country of rural India, the ashram, the strict Catholic school) and a religion/way of life I knew nothing about, the book as a whole was... boring. Descriptions were either too long, too short or extremely irrelevant. I was tempted to skip over stories of gore and heroes and festivals. And I have never before read a memoir where the author seemed to go out of her way to make herself intolerable. All she does is correct adults, think about how stupid adults are, disregard everything that is said to her, and mention the names of books she's reading (ok ok, we get it, you were reading at a college level.). In the first chapter, in fact, she mentions the title of her book, corrects her parents, sasses her mother, corrects a stranger by identifying the danger of welding an engine, and is the only one to think of leaning the opposite way as their car teeters over a cliff. She is seven years old. The final few chapters are about her deciding to write the book and writing the book, and entirely pointless. This book had limitless potential and couldn't have failed harder at living up to it.

  • Jennifer
    2019-01-06 17:52

    I really wanted to give it 3.5 stars. This book hit home for me in many ways. I don't want to make this review about me, but let me say that I have spent time in India, in an Ashram (a different one) and then 5 years simply living there (nothing to do with the mentioned Ashram). So I could easily identify with Rachel and the people she lived with. And yes India is really that insane. All of it.Bizarre things happen on a daily basis. (I KNOW) This book for me was like looking in a mirror in some looking into a shared past,like visiting home. It made me miss aspects of the life I had there. brought those feelings to the forefront (I think about India frequently, my experience was more positive) If you are curious about in India..the people...etc, take a this book. Keep in mind the author is dealing with her issues; so we are sharing her "crap". But we all have "crap". And its funny. I had several laugh out loud moments. And I can say that I have been inspired....maybe one day I will write my own memoir...I can only hope that I can write it with the humour this book has.

  • Francesca Forrest
    2018-12-26 17:48

    (also posted on LJ--content is the same)I’ve been wanting to read this book, the author’s memoir of years spent as the lone child in an ashram in hot and dusty central India, for quite some time. I’m interested in the emotional costs of alternative lifestyles, in how children cope with the untenable situations they sometimes find themselves in, and what sense they make of their caregivers’ decisions.I was wary as I approached the book because I knew, from Rachel’s blogging, some of the things she’d suffered as a kid, and I thought the book had the potential to be harrowing. She could have written it that way, but instead she wrote it with humor. What a difference that made! Without in any way trivializing the horrors she witnessed and experienced, her humor makes the book not only bearable, but a real pleasure. It’s a good book. It’s a really good book. It’s so good that I was reading it out loud to my family and recommending it to people at random.The pleasure comes not only from her humor, but also from her insight, as when she thinks about the lessons she, her mother, and her driver Khan have taken from their dangerous childhoods: Mom and Khan and I had all grown up knowing that no one would protect us, but we had taken different messages from the same lesson. Khan learned that the hard survive and the empathetic are crushed. Mom learned that all suffering is for a reason, and the greater the pain, the greater the purpose. I learned to see every injured stranger as a fallen comrade.This got me wondering about how we choose the the message we take from life. Is it possible to? Is it down to chance? Luck? Personality?Rachel is clearly a fighter from the beginning, and throughout. Bullied at school, she manages to persuade a number of fellow victims into jumping the bully and giving him quite a trouncing. Others step up to fill his shoes, but that particular boy never picks on her again.Later, she adopts the historical warrior hero Shivaji as a role model. She describes him as “a guerilla fighter, a trickster, an Indian Robin Hood,” a leader of the Marathas, a people who “rarely sacrificed their lives to a losing cause, and often enough … died successful, contented, and in bed.” She notes that “if Maratha warriors committed suicide, it was for personal reasons or to escape torture”—an observation that’s especially significant when you get to the chapter in which Rachel herself is driven to attempt suicide by what she’s experiencing. On the verge of stabbing herself, she asks herself if any of the Marathas she admires committed suicide. She picks up her history book to check … and decides that it would be a shame to waste the time I had now, that I could spend reading a book or otherwise doing something fun, being dead … How could I sacrifice the rest of this day? I was safe at home, and nothing terrible was likely to happen until tomorrow. I got up, replaced the knife and the chair, and picked up History of the Marathas.I could always kill myself later.People do come along who encourage her. There’s Nancy, who compliments her on her writing talent (“the first time that … an adult had praised me in a way that I could believe,” she recalls), and Carla, who introduces her to Anne McCaffrey’s dragon books and the concept of genre fiction, and Walter, a boy who becomes her friend in escapist adventure games and whose own family life leads her to realize that “I wasn’t the only one of our duo who had trouble with real life.”And that’s another thing I enjoyed about the book: Rachel’s personality. She doesn’t suffer fools gladly, but she’s also extremely generous, empathetic, honest, and fair-minded. I was very touched that she included, at the end of the book, a letter that her mother had written describing a dream that her mother claimed Rachel had had as a child. It’s nothing like anything the Rachel we know from the book would be likely to dream and very much the sort of thing that Rachel’s mother would like to have Rachel dream, but Rachel includes it anyway, a kindness to the mother who was, to be blunt, largely responsible for Rachel’s childhood unhappiness. Why does she include it? Because “it seems only fair to give her this small chance to misrepresent me,” Rachel says.Well. What more can I say. I highly recommend this book.

  • Selma
    2018-12-31 14:45

    Rachel Manija Brown's memoir of her childhood in an ashram in India, where she was brought by her cult-following parents, is surprisingly humorous and good natured. While acknowledging that her parents are nuts, she conveys their benign qualities as well as their quirks with a wry sense of detachment. That she survived the brutality of bullying in a fifth-rate backwater Catholic school, where the other children habitually pelted her with rocks and where the teachers beat students with rulers--or worse--for imagined infractions, and emerged from that, as well as from the witnessing of ghastly accidents and street sights that backgrounded life in her experience of India--is a testament to her inner fortitude and resilience. She credits her bizarre upbringing with the formation of her writerly disposition. The main distinctions of this memoir are its balanced acceptance of eccentricity and dysfunction, its breezy prose (a wonderful contrast to, say, the sludge of Dave Eggers' writing), and its cleareyed depiction of reality through the eyes of both the child Rachel and her adult persona.

  • Michael
    2019-01-15 11:43

    A catalogue of horrors, told quite wittily. Self-involved parents, brutal Catholic school, certifiable ashram lunatics... RMB's mother chides her at the end for not writing about happier times. Mani replies: "The trouble is that one extreme experience is more memorable than many normal ones... I could see why Mom thought I ought to have written more about baking cookies and less about decapitations. But the decapitations had made more of an impression on me."The book ends with Mani looking at a New Yorker cartoon her father has given her: "A girl with a ponytail and glasses, who bore a remarkable resemblance to me as a teenager, sat ina window seat with a notebook ion her lap. The caption read: "Dear Mom and Dad: Thanks for the happy childhood. You've destroyed any chance I had of becoming a writer."That's why those of us with happy childhoods have to read memoirs like this!

  • Antonia Murphy
    2019-01-10 14:52

    FABULOUS. This book was nimble, elegant, wise and funny as hell. The author's childhood encompassed everything from the gruesome to the bizarre, but instead of taking a self-pitying tone (which she could have quite easily done ), she finds humor and love-- however misguided-- in the adults around her. In doing so, she conveys how she has grown up and learned to see the silly, wayward hippies who raised her with compassion.I admire her technique and the rich portraits she paints of guru-smitten seekers--all worthy of an Ionesco play-- but mostly I just laughed out loud and kept turning the pages. Thank you, Rachel. Your book was a joy to read.

  • Alison
    2019-01-14 11:32

    In this memoir, All the Fishes Come Home to Roost Rachael Manija Brown, starts it off with a quote by -George Bernard Shaw- __ If you have skeletons in your closet, you may as well make them dance.__ and that is exactly what she has done. The author writes very descriptively, so wonderful to read.. It is sometimes quite funny, often a bit horrifying, but everything she describes and goes through, give us an amazingly interesting story.Rachael or Mani as she was called while there, had a pretty tough childhood. She was the product of free spirited __hippie__ Parents, the mother being the fanatic Baba follower,and quite a character, the father more or less along for the ride, with his own agenda. Mani was the only child at the Ashram and was surrounded by a ton of very crazy and eccentric people. Since the age of 5 or so she could read at an adult level so left on her own most of the time, she spent most of her time with her nose in a book absorbing anything she could get a hold of, and through her we learn a lot about the history of India and it Gods. She was put into the only private school in town a Catholic School called __Holy Wounds__ and there she and the other students encountered very sadistic teachers, who were really cruel.This is the story of the authors 5 years living in an Ashram in in India, (age 7-12) in the town of Ahmednagar run by devotees of Meher Baba, one of the most dynamic spiritual masters of the 20th century. Who had and has many devotees around the world, including Pete Townsend of __the who__, who wrote a Hymn to Baba - __O' Parvardigar__ O' Parvardigar is the common name of a prayer composed by Meher Baba, sometimes called the Master's Prayer or the Universal Prayer.The title, __All the fishes come home to roost__ came from one of the followers miss quoting a saying which should have been about chickens, and to her meaning, that the consequences of everything come home. The truth is known and spoken aloud. Thus the author vowed to one day write her story, and her truth.This book is said to bear comparisons to __Don't let's go to the dogs tonight__ and __Running with scissors__ I own both of those but have not read them yet.Well worth reading.

  • Linda
    2019-01-02 14:28

    Rachel Brown, known as Mani, has written an irreverent, funny, and sad memoir of her growing up India where her mother is a disciple of Meher Baba. Baba claimed he was the reincarnation of Zoroaster, Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed; he believed that all human experience reflects God’s plan, and coined the phrase, “Don’t worry, be happy.” The family left California and went to India when Mani was seven. Her father never explained his reasons for going until years later when he said that he went along to keep the family together. Mani was lonely; the only child in the ashram where they lived, and taunted by her fellow students at the Holy Wounds of Jesus Christ the Savior School because she was white, and different. The nuns at the school were strict and punishments ranged from being beaten with a stick to being made to stand in the sun for long periods of time. Mani’s father ultimately left his wife in India and returned to America where Mani, now called Rachel, lived with him in her teen years. She is now a well-adjusted adult who lives in California and writes for TV. No child should have had to endure what she went through, but she recounts events as seen through the eyes of a child, seeming to say, “Am I the only sane person here?”

  • Beth
    2018-12-29 09:41

    A fascinating look at life in an ashram in India in the early 80s. The memoirist certainly had an unusual life. I liked how she traced her growing skepticism that a certain guru was actually God. She was realistic about the limitations on her as a seven- to eleven-year-old in terms of denying her parents' deeply held beliefs or rebelling against their idea of what was best for her. Her harrowing experiences at the Catholic school are the worst for being such an unlikely contrast with her parents' ideals and those of the ashram where they lived. In many ways a completely unlikely tale, convincingly told. She lived this life and describes it well.

  • Zandra
    2018-12-21 14:32

    I could not put this book down. It was just so hilarious and surreal. Her vivid descriptions put you right there to see the world through her eyes. Much like Rachel, I tested highly at a very young age and that definitely makes you see and process the world differently. You try to intellectualize and over rationalize the strangest things to the mundane while experiencing them as a typical child. It definitely makes your world turn upside down sometimes. Rachel captured this so perfectly.

  • Tracy Walters
    2018-12-25 15:37

    This was one of the most funny and entertaining books I have read in a very long time. Manija (Mani-jay) is one very independent and incredibly intelligent young girl in a crazy life brought on by her parents. She had me hooked from the first page and it was so much fun to experience her life through her writings. I loved this book!

  • Beth
    2019-01-18 16:45

    I LOVED this book--about an American girl who spends part of her childhood in an ashram in India.

  • Richard Brand
    2019-01-19 10:28

    I do not know how you could write about this kind of rearing any better. I was direct, it was honest sounding, it did not try to make the writer any smarter or better than she was. The description of her life, the schooling, the constant religious indoctrination, the apparent lack of involvement with her parents. It is not an easy story but she tells it with a touch of humor. I especially appreciated her more serious reflections about how people might find the integrity of their convictions worthy. It would be interesting to see what happened if Ms. Brown substituted "Jesus" in every place that Baba was mentioned.

  • Alison
    2019-01-02 13:49

    2.5 stars. Starts off funny and engaging but turns dark and depressing. Not what I expected...

  • Susan
    2019-01-19 15:44

    Reminded me a bit of the Glass Castle because this woman also had rather weird hippy parents. They take her off to India to live in an ashram and follow Baba with little concern for her welfare.

  • Nick Fagerlund
    2019-01-18 15:31

    Okay, so someone or another, probably [Elizabeth Bear], linked one day to a really incredible series of posts entitled "[A User's Guide to PTSD][ptsd]." I'll wait here while you go read all three (start at the bottom one), because they are a work of art. The author self-deprecatingly bills them as an attempt to raise the general quality of Gundam fanfic, but they're ultimately exactly what the title of the series says: a comprehensive and explicit manual laying out just how it feels to have post-traumatic stress disorder, in compulsively readable prose with a minimum of histrionics. (Wait, are you still reading this? Go, shoo!)References to Gundam pilots notwithstanding, the author is her own source material, and the occasional details and hints about her childhood sounded absolutely nuts. By the end of the series, I was dying to hear the rest of the story, and the Lacey library was perfectly willing to oblige. So anyway, this is the story of Brown's childhood, which was spent in an Indian ashram run by an obscure religion with a distinctly cultish whiff to it. It is mindblowing. It is also quite funny.Also, the fact that she is apparently still on decent terms with her parents is amazing to me--I'm not sure I'd have come out of that with my sense of filial connection intact. Be sure to read [the author's online postscript][postscript] after you're done with the book. [ptsd]:[postscript]:

  • Boca
    2019-01-03 13:37

    Thoroughly enjoyed!!

  • Margaret
    2018-12-19 10:54

    When Manija Brown (now Rachel Manija Brown) was seven, her parents decided to pack up and move to an ashram in India, there to devote themselves to the teachings of guru Meher Baba. All the Fishes Come Home to Roost is Brown's memoir of her life in India and since. It's both searingly funny and simply searing; though Brown finds humor in much of what happened to her, the pain of her misfit life is always present, and I often found myself going from laughter almost to tears in the space of a few pages. The writing is trenchant and observant; the descriptions of India are particularly good, sharply and colorfully conveying the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes Brown experienced. All the Fishes Come Home to Roost is often not an easy read -- the physical and emotional abuse Brown endured was no small thing -- but it's always deeply compelling; I stayed up far too late one night to finish it.

  • Fadillah
    2019-01-05 17:43

    I picked this book at book fair thinking that it would be fun to read a memoir of a foreign girl who grew up in India. Boy, i was wrong to think so. It is quite painful for me to read the whole story considering a young girl is being dragged into the country she did not know of. The experience of being beaten by teachers, being bullied by her classmates and the dysfuctional relationship between her parents added a pressure and nightmares to this young girl. She even being forced to believe in god that her parents choose to believe. The book that i hope will make me laugh is turned out giving me a goosebump. Her childhood is ruined and the reason she wrote this book is perhaps she could find forgiveness in her heart to give it to her own parents. I settled on 3 stars because i lauded the effort of writer to confront her parents to tell the story from her own perspective.

  • Monique
    2019-01-07 10:28

    Manija is 7 when her hippie-parents decide to move from Los Angeles to India. They're going to live in the ashram of Meher Baba, a spiritual leader who invented the phrase 'Don't worry, be happy'. Happy is the last thing Manija is in India. She's the only child in the ashram among all the babbling Baba-followers. On school she's bullied and tortured by the student and teachers. There's no one she can go to with her problems. She can only hide in her books. On the age of 12 she finally goes back to America. Her past will always have a big influence on her.I liked the book. Some parts were painful but the story was written very funny. I found the information about the history of India very interesting and definitely want to read more about it. After reading this book, I feel very blessed with my own lovely parents and normal happy youth.

  • Zen Cho
    2019-01-11 12:34

    I always admire writers of memoirs for the way they're able to pull the disparate events of a life together into a story; my recollection of my own life is so foggy and confused I couldn't see myself ever doing that well.Rachel's school reminded me of my experience at Chinese school -- the teachers weren't as bad (no standing in the sun until kids collapsed or knocking kids' heads into the wall), but they were pretty bad, and there was the same feeling of being absolutely helpless at the mercy of capricious, all-powerful beings. Some of those teachers were such fucking sadists. Why would you whip a ten-year-old for not bringing a lameass book to school? Why not let kids go to the toilet if they have to go? Those teachers must have hated themselves so much, or hated kids, or hated everything. I don't see why else you'd put so much energy into being mad all the time.

  • Sarah
    2019-01-13 14:42

    Only two stars? Yes, unfortunately only two stars. I really wanted to like this book. The Indian ashram called to me in my early 20s, but fortunately the good Lord found me and I was spared the precipitous fall into rabbit's hole.Initially I found the author's precocious voice to be very humorous. She is delightfully funny and insightful, but I found her relationships with others to be very sad. A child should never experience what she relates as abuse, and I sincerely hope and pray that she has found cathartic resolution through the writing of this memoir. Unfortunately, I feel it was not really for the rest of us to read - a judgment I am in no position to make, but I can only review from my very limited perspective, and I found her telling of the tale to be lacking.

  • Jenny Schmenny
    2019-01-12 15:27

    I always enjoy the memoirs of hippies' kids. If you know me, you know why. This one's about a girl whose parents whisk her off to a cult in India. Since the guru is long-dead, there's no predictable molesty guru scenes, which is lovely, but there's a host of misery dished out by assorted adults who fail or mistreat her in an assortment of other ways. Interesting stuff, if mostly unhappy. A bit funny. I like people who can mix up funny and miserable. Questions of cultural clashes, spirituality, coming of age, individual power, and family. Okay, that's not a sentence, but I'm leaving it there anyhow. Nabil, thanks for the loan, Sugar. Don't let me forget to give this and Motion of Light in Water back to you.

  • Patty
    2019-01-09 13:40

    I have been intrigued by this book since I first heard about it. It was being marketed as like Burroughs Running with Scissors - which I could not even read. However, I had great hopes this would be better. And in my opinion it is.I think Brown is a better writer and her story is more believable. Probably neither childhood was ideal, but I think Rachel Manija Brown seems to have come out of hers in better shape and with a good sense of humor.Brown's parents, especially her mom, are followers of Mehta Baha and feel the need to be in India at Baba's home. So 8 year old Manija gets to be the youngest member of the community.I recommend this book to those who like travel books, coming of age stories and interesting memoirs.

  • da-wildchildz
    2018-12-28 15:44

    I laughed.Last line from All the Fishes Come Home to Roost. A bit of a jumbled read. Its starts as described; an Indian Ashram childhood. However, the narrative didn’t stop at childhood but continued into adulthood. The turning point during adolescence was when my attention began dwindling because I stopped caring about teenage issues a long time ago and I don’t care about anyone else’s problems. At times the author reminded me of myself, with the way she questions religion, though it’s hard to tell whether she had those thoughts as a child or if she’s reimagined her childhood after later life experiences provided a differ filter to see through. Liked the sound of jelebi and bhajia for breakfast!

  • Fiona
    2019-01-16 17:47

    Manija's parents became devotees of Baba before the author was born. The father was fairly laid-back in his devotions but the mother would invoke Baba in almost every sentence, and when Manija was seven the family moved to India to live in Baba's ashram where Manija had a lonely, miserable time, pestered by the Babaites on one side and the nuns in her useless Dickensian school on the other. She tells the story in an entertaining way, though, and combines the perspectives of adult and child very well. I wanted to shake the mother for her endless "Baba, Baba, Baba" and her obliviousness to the reality of her daughter's life in India, but you gradually come to suspect that her childhood was significantly more miserable and realise why she has taken refuge in Baba and the ashram.

  • Cheyenne Blue
    2019-01-11 10:53

    A rather disjointed memoir of an American kid who is carted off by her parents to live in an ashram in India. Mani was 7 when her parents moved to India to worship Baba (Pete Townsend's guru) and 12 when she moved back to American. In between she lived with the wackos in the ashram, went to a catholic school where she was bullied and mistreated, and spent a lot of time by herself with her head in a book.For the most part, I found this an enjoyable read, at times enthralling. Mani's narrative benefited a lot by hindsight, and I was rather irritated by the precociousness attributed to the 7 year old narrator. Overall a good read.