- Paperback: 314 pages
- Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (June 1, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1503933318
- ISBN-13: 978-1503933316
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,054 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #267,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A House for Happy Mothers: A Novel Paperback – June 1, 2016
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Named a Summer Book Pick by Redbook, Working Mother, SheKnows, and Brit + Co
“Malladi (The Mango Season, 2003) examines India’s surrogacy industry with honesty and grace. This slice of life will touch all women who have struggled with conception and/or poverty. This thought-provoking novel will be a sure hit with book groups.” —Booklist, Starred Review
“Malladi (The Mango Season) writes a poignant novel from two difficult perspectives that spans several complex and often controversial topics. This title would make a great book club selection.” —Library Journal
“A House for Happy Mothers explores the lengths people will go for family. The characters are nuanced and sympathetic, and the dueling perspectives of a surrogate and the biological mother are commendable.” —RT Book Reviews
“The story provides an intriguing glimpse into the surrogate industry and casts light on the emotional toil those involved face.” —The Associated Press
“A feel-good story that warms the heart.” —Redbook
“This thoughtful novel examines India’s surrogacy industry with honesty and grace.” —Brit + Co
“A wonderful novel that takes you through the journey of surrogacy and the heart-wrenching emotions of those involved.” —Sejal Badani, author of Trail of Broken Wings
“How far would you go to have a family, and how far would you go to save the family you already have? In A House for Happy Mothers, Amulya Malladi skillfully and compassionately raises these questions in a story of two women yearning to protect their families. This is a thought-provoking, modern-day family saga set against the backdrop of traditional Indian and American maternal expectations.”—Amy Sue Nathan, author of The Good Neighbor and The Glass Wives
“Compelling and filled with insight. [Amulya] Malladi’s voice is layered, and her empathetic powers highly developed. Indian surrogacy is a crucially important and little-considered subject, and Malladi’s novel is thoughtful, enlightening, and moving.” —Leslee Udwin, BAFTA award-winning filmmaker of East Is East and India’s Daughter
“A subtly nuanced and compassionate look at the controversial ‘rent a womb’ industry, Amulya Malladi's book is timely and illuminating.” —Nayana Currimbhoy, author of Miss Timmins’ School for Girls
“A House for Happy Mothers shines an unblinking light on the business of surrogacy in India, and the emotional fallout. Can anything balance the inequality of power between a poor surrogate and a biological mother? A husband and wife in an arranged marriage? A mother and daughter struggling with years of perceived disappointment? Compelling and realistic, Amulya Malladi’s latest release is the perfect choice for book clubs, and any reader with a questioning mind and an open heart.” —Lorrie Thomson, author of A Measure of Happiness and What’s Left Behind
“A sensitive exploration of the emotional terrain of motherhood and the socio-economic complexities of our global world. Amulya Malladi’s novel contains no villains or heroes, just breathing, living characters who will draw you into their heartbreak.”—Shilpi Somaya Gowda, New York Times bestselling author of Secret Daughter and The Golden Son
“In this timely contemporary novel, Malladi describes the important and controversial issue of surrogate pregnancy with a light and masterful [hand]. Readers will find their hearts deeply touched by the longings of the two women who become inextricably intertwined in this process of giving and receiving the ultimate gift—the birth of a child.” —Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, author of The Palace of Illusions and Before We Visit the Goddess
About the Author
Amulya Malladi is the author of six novels, including The Sound of Language and The Mango Season. Her books have been translated into several languages, including Dutch, German, Spanish, Danish, Romanian, Serbian, and Tamil. She has a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a master’s degree in journalism. When she’s not writing, she works as a marketing executive for a global medical device company. She lives in Copenhagen with her husband and two children. Connect with Amulya at www.amulyamalladi.com.
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Top customer reviews
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The main characters in this book are Asha, an Indian woman who becomes a surrogate for an Indian-American woman from California named Priya.
What I enjoyed most about this book is it tackled the difficulties of surrogacy and infertility from several different angles without becoming preachy and without trying to push the reader into agreeing with one side or the other. The characters aren't perfect and both are experiencing real pain for different reasons. One thing I liked about the book is that it made me examine my privilege and prejudices. One example of this was the actual "House for Happy Mothers" which was the name of the home that the surrogates were required to live in during most of their pregnancy. At first, you hear the description of the home as a really great place for the mothers. They get classes in computers and English, which should be helpful as many of the women have little education. There are yoga classes and massages, there are maids and food is provided. At first, I thought it sounded like a great spa where the women got pampered. The reality of the house is a lot different.
The book slowly exposes the flaws in the system, a lot of which are intertwined with the culture. The women have to have money to pay for their daughter's dowry or their son's education. These seem like little things until you realize how poor these women are and how little they have. They are ultimately renting out their bodies in exchange for money because they will never be able to get this much money any other way.
Although I wanted to know what happened to Asha and Priya after the baby was born, I loved that the book ends without knowing what will become of the women and their families. This seems to mimic what happens in these type of surrogacy agreements, and if I wanted to know what happened in a fiction story, I can only imagine how difficult it is for both sides to have this connection but go on to lead separate lives.
I also enjoyed the little snippets of message board chats sprinkled throughout the book. I thought they were incredibly true to some of the boards I used to take part in. As an infertile woman, I appreciated that the author did such a good job examining that pain without making her seem crazy or evil.
There are a few curse words, and some tame discussion about sex. There is no violence or graphic sex scenes in the book.
In the end, you see the advantages and disadvantages of the surrogacy system for both Asha and Priya. The book is honest and raw, and I felt drawn to both characters who were so different but connected on such a personal matter.
Note: I received this book for free as my Kindle First pick for May.
This book explores all of the questions that surrogacy in a poor country raises. Yes, it’s providing a large sum of money to someone who probably lives on $2 a day, but at what cost? There is a lot of shame associated with this practice, and the women must pretend it never happened. They must go through all the toils and discomforts of pregnancy and labor, without the gift of a child at the end. We also see some characters coming back for a second or third time, as either the money was squandered initially or because for a poor person, there is never enough really.
While there is a very hopeful and uplifting message to this book, having just read and watched A Handmaid’s Tale and its forced surrogacy program, it’s hard not to see some parallels. Apparently there are more laws in place now to help protect the surrogates, and efforts have been made to eliminate some of the worst offending “baby mills,” but it’s easy to see how this is a situation still ripe for exploitation.
Finally, I listened to the audio version of this book, and it is wonderful! The narrator, Deepa Samuel, does an amazing job with literally dozens of different characters voices. She manages to create a unique Indian accent for each one, and her performance was truly stunning. This is definitely a book worth listening to.
Agreeing to become a surrogate for the poor women of India is a struggle and great sacrifice for them. Nothing at all for them personally; everything for their families. In this story, Asha assuaged her hateful feelings by thinking of the good education that the money can buy for her children, and the fact that she is helping one woman realize her dream to become a mother.
Not that the father couldn't provide for his family, but it simply wasn't enough. Surrogacy, though it can damage a family's reputation in India, is turned to for money they could not even imagine they'd have no matter how hard they work.
I don't see anything wrong with surrogacy. It's a win-win situation for both parties. But more than these surface wins, there is a lot still that goes on. Maybe it's because of the conservative culture, but whatever it is, it has to be managed and supported well.
This may be fiction, but the author did a great job in relating the many facets of surrogacy.
Most recent customer reviews
Malladi does an incredible job of covering the range of emotions surrounding a surrogacy as...Read more