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Karma Gone Bad: How I Learned to Love Mangos, Bollywood and Water Buffalo [Kindle Edition]

Jenny Feldon
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In the tradition of Holy Cow and Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven, a fascinating travel memoir of finding yourself in the India of rickshaws and rainy seasons.

Jenny was miserable, and it was all India's fault...until she realized it wasn't.

When Jenny's husband gets transferred to India for work, she looks forward to a new life filled with glamorous expat friends and exciting adventures. What she doesn't expect is endless bouts of food poisoning, buffalo in the streets, and crippling loneliness in one of the most densely populated countries in the world.

Ten thousand miles away from home, Jenny struggles to fight off depression and anger as her sense of self and her marriage begin to unravel. But after months of bitterness and takeout pizza, Jenny realizes what the universe has been trying to tell her all along: India doesn't need to change. She does. Equal parts frustration, absurdity, and revelation, this is the true story of a Starbucks-loving city girl finding beauty in the chaos and making her way in the land of karma.

Editorial Reviews


"I LOVED it. I would never, ever have the courage (or stomach) to live in India for two years, and now I don't have to because I lived vicariously through Jenny in the pages of her book. I couldn't put it down for days, completely addicted to the experience of her lifetime. Plus? No malaria pills for me!" - Jill Smokler, New York Times bestselling author of Confessions of a Scary Mommy

"A wonderful adventure of self-discovery. I could not put this book down. It is a delight and awakens your senses while sweeping you away. I could almost taste the chai and smell the spices of India." - Soleil Moon Frye, author of Happy Chaos and Let's Get This Party Started

"Warm, funny, evocative, endowed with a winning voice and a moving conclusion." - Vivian Gornick, critic, essayist and author of The End of the Novel of Love, Fierce Attachments: A Memoir and The Men in My Life

"I'm incredibly tempted to put Jenny on a plane to another exotic locale just so I can read another compelling, hilarious take on the city gal gone native. Karma Gone Bad is just that good." - April Peveteaux, author of Gluten is My Bitch: Rants, Recipes and Ridiculousness for the Gluten-Free

"Jenny Feldon's generously told and absolutely addictive memoir is about learning to embrace the unexpected, not just in our environment, but within ourselves. This well-crafted story is a perfect reminder that we often emerge from life's biggest challenges with gratitude that they arose in the first place." - Claire Bidwell Smith, author of The Rules of Inheritance

"Heartfelt, frequently very funny and always extremely well written ... a great read for anyone who loves India, a good adventure or simply a well-crafted story" - Travelati Magazine

"A joy ... Once I began reading Feldon's book, I couldn't put it down" -

About the Author

Author of the popular blog Karma (continued...), Jenny Feldon was named one of BlogHer's Voices of the Year in 2012. Her writing has appeared on, The Huffington Post, and A Massachusetts native, she lives in Los Angeles where she balances writing, motherhood, and giant cups of coffee...mostly all at once.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1486 KB
  • Print Length: 337 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks (November 5, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00F2JXSX0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,422 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Seemed like a good read. Her husband was sent to India to start a branch of the company - a two year commitment. She was excited to go and since they were fairly newly wed, wanted to support her husband in this adventure. Once arrived in India, the majority of the book was her whining, complaining, holding firm to HER needs and what she was used to in NYC - her eternal Starbucks addiction in search of some form of coffee in India, not wanting to understand the differences in the country and with the help of a few expats and locals, try to make it work. She was so miserable during the majority of this book, she was not at all likeable. Of course, this is the author's ploy to turn it all around at the end and become Mother Earth of India.....but too little too late. 75% of the book was one big whine. The end 25% was more of getting ready to return to NYC after the 2 years were up. Narcissistic and immature. Too bad.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit offensive and too much complaining for me November 30, 2013
This was a tough review to write. I finished the book a couple weeks ago but had a hard time writing the less than positive review. I enjoy travel memoirs and books where people learn how to appreciate what they have.

Karma Gone Bad tells Jenny’s story of going from a twenty-something Upper West Sider who does yoga, buys designer clothes and drinks Starbucks to an American housewife in a third world country. Jenny doesn’t choose to live in India but follows her husband there when he feels he doesn’t have a choice in order to keep his job.

It’s an understatement to say that Jenny doesn’t adapt well initially. The crowded streets, the cows and buffalo walking amongst the people, the crazy driving and the poor kids, women and children begging for food and money is understandably a culture shock to someone raised in America. I remember being shocked when I went to India but it also deeply moved me and made me appreciative for the life we have.

The story drags on too long about just how miserable and stressed out Jenny is living in India. It felt like a spoiled little rich girl whining about every little thing she missed in America. The tone goes from her being shocked and empathetic to the poverty to being superior to those “little brown faces” that stare at her for being blond haired and blue eyed that they have never seen before.

When Jenny sees her Indian home for the first time, she lets her little dog run through the puja room. The room is where Hindus have idols of their deities and conduct prayers and meditation. I found it offensive and disrespectful that Jenny, even after learning what the room is for, wanted to make the room her dog’s bedroom “once we got rid of all the clutter.” Since when are Gods clutter?
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Beach book February 1, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A prolonged whine from someone who made no attempt to adjust to things not from "home".
For me, it was almost painful to read. No respect for the culture, people, and customs of India.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad Karma May 21, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It wouldn't seem right to criticize the author personally except this book, and it would seem for her, life itself, is all about HER, making any review necessarily personal. This is the journey of a totally self-absorbed, functionally incompetent, spoiled Jewish American Princess whose life is ruined(!) when a move to India deprives her of designer shopping, Starbucks, expensive lunches, and daily yoga classes. When for no apparent reason, other than it had to happen to make a book possible, she decides to "change her attitude" we are supposed to be awed by the fact that she jumps back into meaningful existence by hiring servants and then finding places to shop and to eat out while being chauffeured around. She even learns to light a gas stove with (insert amazed OMG here) a REAL match. Don't continue reading to the end expecting some sort of epiphany. The author returns to her former life, now pregnant, without any articulated enlightenment, other than life is good. Which is true for her because for someone to be able to carry on that spoiled existence and get this book published, life must be good indeed.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best structure December 26, 2013
By Miacara
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book seemed incomplete with gaping holes in it. She skipped around a bit too much for my taste. So much was missing from this book--missing links--having just returned from India I found it hard to believe that she didn't know in advance about the water and the food, not to eat cheese pizza, etc. So many questions unanswered. Malaria preventative taken or not taken? No mention of cow shi t everywhere or even seeing human feces. Did she only notice how people lived that one time? Why did she seem to get food poisoning later in her stay rather than sooner? Did she not read anything about india in advance? The author can write, but certainly didn't structure the book effectively. Could have used a solid editor who noticed the gaping holes and questions they raised. The books just "eh" for me.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Karma Ran Over My Marriage November 9, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
In Jenny Feldon’s novel, Karma Gone Bad, she shares losing herself among the sights, sounds and overwhelming smells of India. Through her tumultuous stories of making life work overseas as a newlywed, she nearly channels Carrie Bradshaw from “Sex in the City” if she appeared in Eat Pray Love.

Feldon knows she is a New Yorker through and through; her essentials to carry-on the plane to Hyderabad are “four pairs of designer shoes, two hundred manuscript pages of my novel-in-progress, an assortment of cocktail dresses and a small white Maltese named Tucker.” Her husband, Jay, has a professional opportunity but what will Jenny do? As the twenty-seven year-old recounts, “My wanderlust was satisfied with a ride on the R train to Brooklyn. Ashrams weren’t really my style. I lived by Zagat, not Lonely Planet.” As a long-term traveler, I wondered how would Jenny and Jay adapt?

Their initial impressions were not surprising. As she said on arrival, “we stepped out of the airport and into absolute chaos. I felt like an exotic zoo animal on display, but with no cage to protect me from the tidal wave of aggressive curiosity.” For our three months in India, several people told me, “You will love it and you will hate it.” Feldon’s voyage definitely started with hate. As she wrote, “My clothes were wrong, my communication skills poor, my sense of direction unreliable. I hadn’t even so much as glanced in the direction of my computer.” Her early hopes of being the perfect housewife and writing every day are daunted by the drama of life in India.

The beginning is very challenging. She yearns to believe in herself as an expat, “What could be more exciting, more sophisticated than becoming a seasoned traveler, a citizen of the world?” but wallows:

“Here, I was no one.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Funny, Absorbing Read
I gobbled up this book and it had me laughing out loud, to myself, while alone, in the house -- now that's hard to do. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Timothy P. Monaghan
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, fun book- excellent read
Such a great book! I couldn't put it down and I was laughing so hard almost the whole time imagining you. Anyway, fabulous enjoyable book! Read more
Published 2 months ago by Carijill
1.0 out of 5 stars This was one of the worst books that I have every read in my entire...
This was one of the worst books that I have every read in my entire life. I had to struggle with myself to stop from throwing it in the garbage for 75% of it's content. Read more
Published 2 months ago by SK
2.0 out of 5 stars The info on India is interesting
The author sounds very young and not too bright. She would be, I suspect, as shocked by the poverty in the rural American South as she is by what she found in India. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jeanajoan
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you Jenny!
The things we do for our spouses. The things we do to ourselves. Thank you Jenny for delivering us to the streets of India and the front lines of marriage with vulnerability, wit,... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Isla C
1.0 out of 5 stars waste of
nothing original. waste of time
Published 4 months ago by shawn tabarestani
5.0 out of 5 stars Very full of smells tastes and visual snapshots.
I loved her transformation from outwardly affected to inwardly guided. I wish her husband's character had been more flushed out. He seemed to have very little to do with the story.
Published 4 months ago by MJA Armstrong
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed her real life adventure
Great book! I've had a hard time getting into books lately, but I recently finished this and thoroughly enjoyed it. What was best is that this was a true story.
Published 5 months ago by CARMEN
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful insight into Iife in India from the viewpoint of ...
Wonderful insight into Iife in India from the viewpoint of a young woman who accompanies her husband when his work takes him to India for two years. Read more
Published 6 months ago by F. Peters
4.0 out of 5 stars What a fun read!
An honest account of the author's stay in India. Very nicely written without the forced exaggeration some authors add to make sure their work is funny. Read more
Published 6 months ago by P. Armstrong
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More About the Author

Jenny Feldon was born in California and grew up in Newton, Massachusetts. She completed her bachelor's degree in English literature at Boston University and earned her MFA in creative writing from the New School University.

Her work has appeared in nonfiction anthologies as well as many online and print publications, including Parenting magazine, and the Huffington Post. She writes the popular blog Karma (continued...) and was named one of BlogHer's Voices of the Year in 2012.

Jenny lives in Los Angeles with her family, where she balances writing, motherhood, and giant cups of coffee...mostly all at once.

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