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Serving Crazy with Curry (Ballantine Reader's Circle) [Kindle Edition]

Amulya Malladi
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Between the pressures to marry and become a traditional Indian wife and the humiliation of losing her job in Silicon Valley, Devi is on the edge–where the only way out seems to be to jump. . . .

Yet Devi’s plans to “end it all” fall short when she is saved by the last person she wants to see: her mother. Forced to move in with her parents until she recovers, Devi refuses to speak. Instead, she cooks . . . nonstop. And not the usual fare, but off the wall twists on Indian classics, like blueberry curry chicken or Cajun prawn biryani. Now family meals are no longer obligations. Devi’s parents, her sister, and her brother-in-law can’t get enough–and they suddenly find their lives taking turns as surprising as the impromptu creations Devi whips up in the kitchen each night. Then a stranger appears out of the blue. Devi, it appears, had a secret–one that touches many a nerve in her tightly wound family. Though exposing some shattering truths, the secret will also gather them back together in ways they never dreamed possible.

Interspersed with mouthwatering recipes, this story mixes humor, warmth, and leap-off-the-page characters into a rich stew of a novel that reveals a woman’s struggle for acceptance from her family and herself.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In Malladi's third novel, following A Breath of Fresh Air (2002) and The Mango Season [BKL Ap 15 03], the characters keep referencing "bad Hindi movies." Indeed, the plot of this very readable novel does resemble something out of Bollywood, but the characters are drawn so clearly and strongly that readers will immediately be taken by the triumphs and tribulations of the Veturi family. Devastated after being fired from her job at a Silicon Valley startup and suffering a miscarriage, Devi feels she has strayed far outside the expectations of her traditional Indian family and attempts to commit suicide. However, her intrusive mother, a continual source of aggravation for Devi, saves her life. Devi then moves in with her parents, but she refuses to speak, taking up cooking instead. Channeling all her emotions into the elaborate meals she prepares, Devi prompts her family to engage in a series of completely honest conversations that draw all of them closer to each other. A reading-group guide is bound into this heartfelt novel, which also provides a candid snapshot of fractious mother-daughter relationships. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


“A feast of a book, sizzling with the humor and tensions that bind its characters together. Amulya Malladi’s writing is as hot as her protagonist’s fiery cooking.”
–GEMMA TOWNLEY, author of When In Rome… and Little White Lies

“Reading this is like spending time with a warm, witty, and honest friend. Malladi isn’t afraid to tackle the big issues head-on, and above all this is a life–and love–affirming book.”
–SARAH SALWAY, author of The ABCs of Love

“A refreshingly candid portrayal of the Indian immigrant experience in America. At times darkly comic, at others profoundly moving, the characters will linger in your mind long after you turn the final page.”
–KAVITA DASWANI, author of For Matrimonial Purposes

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 467 KB
  • Print Length: 269 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0345466128
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (November 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001M5JVFW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #751,181 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I learned out about this WONDERFUL book by Amulya Malladi, entirely by accident. I just happened to be checking out books along the themes of Jhumpa Lahiri, and other Indian, or Indian-American authors when I came across "The Mango Season".

After reading "The Mango Season" which I liked, I looked to see what other books she had written, and then I checked out her other 2 books.

Out of ALL the books by Amulya Malladi, "Serving Crazy with Curry" is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE!!

"Serving Crazy with Curry" is about an Indian-American woman, Devi Veturi, who after losing her job in a Silicon Valley company, and suffering a miscarriage, which even her own family did not know about, ponders her life, and then decides to kill herself.

Before taking the final steps to end her life, having been up all night worrying about her decision, Devi calls her father, Avi, which ostensibly is an obvious cry for help, as she calls him pretty early for a weekend morning.

In an effort to put off her decision to commit suicide, Devi calls her father, hoping that in talking to him, he will make things better, but knowing deep down that he can't. She realizes that everything that has happened to her is her own fault, and she can only deal with it as only she knows how.

So with tears brimming in her eyes, and hearing her family in the background, Devi talks to her father, never letting on about all the problems in her life, just telling him that everything is fine before hanging up, and going ahead with her decision.

However, Devi's plans to end her life are quashed when she is saved by the last person in the world she wants to see......her mother.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A clever and inventive dark comedy December 3, 2004
Amulya Malladi's third novel is SERVING CRAZY WITH CURRY, a dark comedy in which suicide is the center of the story. The reader is allowed inside the thoughts of Devi Veturi as she ponders killing herself, plans it, attempts it, and then tries to recover from it while living with her crazy family in the middle of California's famous Silicon Valley. It almost resembles a Bollywood-style movie and is just as entertaining.

The book opens with Devi contemplating reasons to die. She writes a list of pros and cons of whether to die or not, as if she were deciding on something as mundane as buying a house. It's important, but she treats the idea as a business plan, which can be of equal importance. And she has just been laid off (again), which doesn't help with her depression. Despite how she feels, her list tells her that she must save herself and abandon her previous plans, but she has already made up her mind and is now devising ways to do it. She has finally made her decision --- or thinks she has --- but she's up all night worrying about this business of suicide.

She then decides to call her father, as it is now morning and because talking to him would help stall her decision to kill herself. She hears her family in the background as her father answers the phone. There are tears in her eyes, but she tells him that she is fine and doesn't let on about her latest job, or how she is really feeling. She wants her father to make things better but knows that everything that has happened to her is her own fault and that she is responsible for her own actions. She will deal with her life as only she knows how.

What saves her is a "mistake" she made the previous year, by giving her mother a set of keys to her apartment.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The title says it all October 27, 2004
I like books with inventive titles and this one has a really cheeky one. I picked up the book just yesterday because of the title and the book cover and I am so glad that I did. I read it in one day! This writer certainly knows her stuff and she should as this is apparently her third book. "Serving Crazy with Curry" is the story of Devi, a second-generation Indian living in Silicon Valley and how her life and her family's live and perception about life changes after she survives a suicide attempt. That is the story in a nutshell. A worthy read!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Serving up a great read!! December 3, 2004
Amulya Malladi is a master storyteller. This book, the third novel focusing on the lives and times of Indian women in crisis, is a fabulous study of family dynamics. Relationships are at the center of a Malladi novel -- between mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, fathers and daughters, sisters and sisters -- and this one is a powerful discussion of a family reacting to a member's attempted suicide.
Devi is a mess. She has managed to screw up her life and feels that her only way out is through suicide. She chooses the time and the method, plans it all out, and puts her plan into motion -- only to be thwarted at this as well: nosy mom happens to come by and lets herself in with her key to find Devi in the nick of time. Devi does not consider this "saving" to be a favor. She stops talking completely and, after discharge from the hospital, takes over her mother's kitchen -- cooking new dishes that are nothing like those ever produced in her home. Her emotions come out through her cooking -- extra spicy when she is angry, milder when she is mellow. Her family -- mother, father, sister Shobha and brother-in-law Girish don't know what to make of this. Truths long held inside are revealed as the family recovers from Devi's suicide attempt. A dead marriage is revived but another one is abandoned. A mother's love is finally accepted, and the sisters learn how to accept each other. In short, this is a wonderful story and one you will remember long after you put the book down. A reader's circle guide with discussion questions is included as well as a whimsical conversation between the author and her characters. ENJOY!!!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommend it as a thoughtful, interesting and fun read.
One of my favorite books by Amulya. I lost a few days to this one. It offers great insight into the characters and has several fun surprises as well. Read more
Published 8 days ago by stevenandrea
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful with No Curry
This book has to be one of the worst books I have ever read. It's totally unbelievable. Probably because it's about an indian family living in California and the author lives on... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Serena
4.0 out of 5 stars A satisfying novel
A story that cannot be predicted by a reader. It is a story that relates to real life. More like a cook book but Amulya is a writer who really knows how to blend it well to the... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Valarmathi L.
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read
This was an enjoyable read, with interesting characters and some good twists to the plot. Also a good way to visit Indian American culture, which is new to me. Read more
Published on November 7, 2012 by Chris K
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelieveably Beautiful Story
I have a rule. Never buy a kindle ebook for more than 5.99. That's my limit. But for this book I liked the sample so much that for my first and only time I broke this rule. Read more
Published on July 3, 2012 by kels
3.0 out of 5 stars Dysfunctional, yet admidst it all...
Although it could be argued that this is a story about characters plagued by bad choices and regrets, this still was about a family ultimately caring for one another in individual... Read more
Published on March 8, 2012 by L. L. Luther
1.0 out of 5 stars BAD BOOK!
I started reading this book, but couldn't get past the first few pages because of the bad language. Do NOT suggest this book to others..
Published on September 13, 2009 by ArkieAM
5.0 out of 5 stars Mothers and daughters we are so hard on each other
"Life is so much much fun,Devi. I wish you could have so much fun that you will never think about dying again. Read more
Published on May 27, 2009 by simple sellers
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique Story and Unique Recipes
Amulya Malladi is the author of A Breath of Fresh Air and The Mango Season. She and her family live in the island of Mors in Denmark. Read more
Published on March 17, 2008 by Story Circle Book Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Mangolicious!
As a american born south indian 22yr old male, this book hit my soft spot. I'm that typical skinny book worm indian who likes to hide feeling and all that stuff. Read more
Published on December 2, 2007 by H. Edamadaka
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More About the Author

I was born in 1974 in a small town, Sagar in central India. I grew up in India and left for the United States when I was 20 years old armed with a bachelor's degree in engineering. My first stop was Memphis, Tennessee and I absolutely loved it there. Despite personally knowing people who got mugged around campus, I don't remember being afraid, and remember that time as a fun one. I got a master's degree in journalism and found myself in the bustle of Silicon Valley with a job as an online editor with a start up in San Francisco. I had fun! I lived in the SF Bay Area for several years before moving to Denmark in 2002. My husband is Danish, so wanted to give Europe a try once we had children. I live near Copenhagen with my husband and two sons; and recommend the city in the summer and fall...okay, maybe not the fall...just for the summer.

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