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Made in America. Outsourced to India. At Home with Herself? A charming yet honest memoir of one Upper West side housewife who finds herself saying good-bye to Starbucks and all her notions of "home" when she and her husband are outsourced to Hyderabad. Jenny Feldon imagined life in India as a glitzy yoga whirlwind. Instead she found buffalo-related traffic jams. Jenny strug Made in America. Outsourced to India. At Home with Herself? A charming yet honest memoir of one Upper West side housewife who finds herself saying good-bye to Starbucks and all her notions of "home" when she and her husband are outsourced to Hyderabad. Jenny Feldon imagined life in India as a glitzy yoga whirlwind. Instead she found buffalo-related traffic jams. Jenny struggled to fight the depression, bitterness, and anger as her sense of self and her marriage began to unravel. And it was all India's fault--wasn't it? Equally frustrating, revealing, and amusing, this is the true story of an accidental housewife trapped in the third world.


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Made in America. Outsourced to India. At Home with Herself? A charming yet honest memoir of one Upper West side housewife who finds herself saying good-bye to Starbucks and all her notions of "home" when she and her husband are outsourced to Hyderabad. Jenny Feldon imagined life in India as a glitzy yoga whirlwind. Instead she found buffalo-related traffic jams. Jenny strug Made in America. Outsourced to India. At Home with Herself? A charming yet honest memoir of one Upper West side housewife who finds herself saying good-bye to Starbucks and all her notions of "home" when she and her husband are outsourced to Hyderabad. Jenny Feldon imagined life in India as a glitzy yoga whirlwind. Instead she found buffalo-related traffic jams. Jenny struggled to fight the depression, bitterness, and anger as her sense of self and her marriage began to unravel. And it was all India's fault--wasn't it? Equally frustrating, revealing, and amusing, this is the true story of an accidental housewife trapped in the third world.

30 review for Karma Gone Bad: How I Learned to Love Mangos, Bollywood and Water Buffalo

  1. 4 out of 5

    April (The Steadfast Reader)

    Full review here: The Steadfast Reader - Karma Gone Bad Really, it only took me two days to finish this book? It felt like forever. Okay, so about this. I hated the narrator for the first 75% of the book, she came across as spoiled, xenophobic, and incredibly overprivileged. It was a string of complaints and insecurities. (Oh no! I can't get a latte! Why are all these brown people staring at me?! Why can't they wait in line properly like Americans!) She manages to redeem herself the last quarte Full review here: The Steadfast Reader - Karma Gone Bad Really, it only took me two days to finish this book? It felt like forever. Okay, so about this. I hated the narrator for the first 75% of the book, she came across as spoiled, xenophobic, and incredibly overprivileged. It was a string of complaints and insecurities. (Oh no! I can't get a latte! Why are all these brown people staring at me?! Why can't they wait in line properly like Americans!) She manages to redeem herself the last quarter of the book by at least making the effort to enjoy and embrace Indian culture. I've lived abroad (3 years), yeah, things are done differently, but I feel like that narrator dismisses other cultures as 'less than' because they're not American (or even western). Overall this book annoyed me more than it enlightened me. (This review is based on an advance review copy supplied through NetGalley by the publisher.)

  2. 4 out of 5

    K

    Between 2.75 - 3. I thought I would love this but I found the character/writer a bit vapid and whiny. Any revelations felt shallow and rather patronising to me. I also found the dynamic between husband and house/wife (iron my shirts?) oddly patriarchical and 1950s. Definitely not my cup of tea.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Christian

    Cross-posted on globaljunkie.net Jenny Feldon is not My People – far from it. I hang out at the rougher end of adventure travel and have been privileged to meet a full-spectrum rainbow of global citizens en voyage, but am yet to bump into an Upper West Side corporate wife. That said, Jenny has the chops to see my backpack, raise me a Samsonite Silhouette wheeled and to take all the chips on the table: Karma Gone Bad is a standout 2013 travel read and well-worth your time and money. We open with Je Cross-posted on globaljunkie.net Jenny Feldon is not My People – far from it. I hang out at the rougher end of adventure travel and have been privileged to meet a full-spectrum rainbow of global citizens en voyage, but am yet to bump into an Upper West Side corporate wife. That said, Jenny has the chops to see my backpack, raise me a Samsonite Silhouette wheeled and to take all the chips on the table: Karma Gone Bad is a standout 2013 travel read and well-worth your time and money. We open with Jenny 27, newly married and mellow in Manhattan, “living by Zagat, not Lonely Planet”, when husband Jay is “asked*” to go to India for two years (*American corporate speak. Translation: “Go, or find a new job”.) Marital vows echoing softly, our author takes one for Team Feldon and so off to Hyderabad we switch, complete with husband and (almost) more importantly, beloved dog Tucker. As someone who doesn’t actually want to travel, let alone to go and live in India, our author is utterly unprepared for Andhra Pradesh, and ticks off the signature experiences one by one. First solo escape from the cultural fallout shelter that is their apartment (without Indian Rupees but with useless Amex) – check! First scary rickshaw ride (NCAP rating: zero) – check! First night spent communing with a toilet bowl, post-Indian food – wholly unwanted check… It’s all light, frothy, amusing stuff and if Karma Gone Bad were simply to continue in the same vein, this would still be a quick, fun read, particularly for those who have never experienced the all-consuming simultaneous good/bad overload that is the sub-continent. But, as the book opens out, Jenny starts to first circle around, and then focus in on how India exposes some deeper truths about her, her new life and her marriage. Even simple pleasures are thwarted – an enjoyable day trip to a historical fort is ruined by a group of boys constantly brushing the edge of her personal space – “a tense, threatening vibration, just short of danger”. Or, discovering that even a gated mansion lifestyle means either no water one day (halfway through a shower, in true karma-gone-bad style) then flooding the next. On top of these day-to-day challenges, Karma Gone Bad doesn’t shy away from bigger picture questions of self-worth and personal growth. Husband all but absent, consumed by corporate demands, Jenny struggles to take on either of the roles she imagined for herself, becoming neither the dutiful corporate wife - ”a parasitic extension of my husband”, nor a savvy expat travel blogger. It’s to the author’s credit then that her problems never sound whiny or excessively self-pitying, and her descriptions are always pithy – her new home becoming little more than a “marble cage.” Even at the nadir of Jenny’s Indian experience and the pressures it puts on her marriage, neat black humour keeps the reader engaged. After a particularly brutal sub-continental haircare experience – “he made his first cut … half my hair hit the floor” – Jenny returns home in floods of tears, for her driver to deadpan “hospital, madam?” What I wasn’t expecting from Karma Gone Bad was to be transported back to Business Studies 101, and Mazlow’s Hierarchy of Needs: from the immediate (food, shelter), through to the more complex (love, happiness, community). It’s a theme Jenny returns to throughout her book, whether consciously or not, most clearly in an audacious scene with a bold comparison between herself and a slum family as to who is ultimately happier. It’s a very Mazlow moment – whoever we are, wherever we are, whether we possess the protective force field of a corporate credit card or just a hidden tin with a few thousand rupees, we are all alike – once there’s a little food in the belly and a roof over the head, our higher needs must be addressed. You can argue the chutzpah of such a comparison, but there’s a literary bravery here which deserves due respect. As Jenny negotiates the contact sport that is her Hyderabadi life, bruising frequently, this reviewer was occasionally frustrated – why not just push through the difficulties through pure force of will? But then I realised how I was missing the point, and by a very long way. I’ve been lucky enough to travel quite widely and, by chance, I’m writing this review sitting in a Warung on Nusa Lembongan off the coast of Bali, after a great 18-day trip through Java, Indonesia. As well as some amazing travel experiences, I’ve also been hacked off, annoyed by scammers and angry at the wider stresses of the open road. I’ll get home in a few days utterly exhausted, both physically and emotionally, which is the beauty of short-term travel – life lived jacked-up on adrenaline and the pure lust for a road never travelled. This though is exactly the OPPOSITE of Jenny Feldon’s experience. She’s there for the long haul and can’t afford to keep blowing out her emotional reserves “vacay style” as I do. How she negotiates this problem and the other complications of life in India sets up a satisfyingly complex denouement by the close of Karma Gone Bad. Clearly then, I found this a great read. But there is the odd rough edge which jars. I’m far from the politically correct camp, but even so, found the repeated use of the phrase “third world” somewhat grating – it’s a tired phrase now and a shame it is still prevalent in so much, largely American, writing. But, this is a minor point. In Karma Gone Bad, Jenny Feldon has created both an amusing portait of a reluctant traveller in a strange land, and also written a moving and emotionally naked portrait of a life and a marriage facing challenges never expected. Well worth a read – this reviewer is just sad that, with the author now happily settled on the West Coast, a sequel probably won’t be forthcoming. Ever been to Africa Jenny? Go on…

  4. 4 out of 5

    Calista

    I really have to hate a book to not finish it, so I guess I didn't completely loath this one. It's a great example of what not to do when writing a memoir. Now, Feldon is probably not racist, but I laughed out loud when she said she wasn't bigoted, that she was a Liberal American. I have no idea how many times she described a situation where "all of their brown faces were staring back at me" but it was more than the appropriate number which is zero. Her lack of understanding and empathy with the I really have to hate a book to not finish it, so I guess I didn't completely loath this one. It's a great example of what not to do when writing a memoir. Now, Feldon is probably not racist, but I laughed out loud when she said she wasn't bigoted, that she was a Liberal American. I have no idea how many times she described a situation where "all of their brown faces were staring back at me" but it was more than the appropriate number which is zero. Her lack of understanding and empathy with the people of India throughout the book, only occasionally interrupted by superficial reflections on her white upper-middle class privilege, was unbearable and disheartening. It was almost like my alter ego was writing a book about living abroad, because a lot of the experiences she described were so familiar and yet so foreign to me. I was also reading Gone With the Wind when I lived abroad, and having a hard time figuring out what to do with myself. But when I heard I was moving to a country in the Global South, I did not pack a bunch of designer clothes (let's be real I don't have any) and dream of only hanging out with other expats, while not trying to learn anything about the local culture, customs, or language.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mathis Bailey

    Starbucks! Starbucks! Starbucks! This memoir was like Paris Hilton goes to India with her Jimmy Choos and little pet poodle. I had high hopes for this memior, but it just didn’t deliver. The only thing that is interesting about this book is the beautiful cover-art. That’s it. Jenny is a middle class socialite living in Manhattan, New York. She receives news from her husband that they will be moving to India as expatriates. The moment they arrives in Hyderabad, Jenny immediately hates it. She comp Starbucks! Starbucks! Starbucks! This memoir was like Paris Hilton goes to India with her Jimmy Choos and little pet poodle. I had high hopes for this memior, but it just didn’t deliver. The only thing that is interesting about this book is the beautiful cover-art. That’s it. Jenny is a middle class socialite living in Manhattan, New York. She receives news from her husband that they will be moving to India as expatriates. The moment they arrives in Hyderabad, Jenny immediately hates it. She complains religiously about the repressing heat, the incessant poverty, and over spiced curries. She refuses to give up her Americano ways, which brings her marriage to a breaking point. I found the writing in this memoir to be very repetitive. I had to suffer three quarters of the book about the author missing her lattes at Starbucks, and how awful Indian food is. By the title of the book “Karma Gone Bad” I knew she was going to be facing some obstacles living in a third world country, but she had way too many reoccurring issues that placed me into a coma. The plot pacing was slow. Jenny really doesn’t come to a realization until her husband threatens to divorce her, which I thought was sad. It took her marriage to fall apart for her to sympathize with people living with little means in India. Talk about self-absorbed. Over all, the story was meh. I just couldn’t get with the writing style with all the clunky paragraphs of her reflecting and complaining. It was like wading through quick sand. I found myself placing this book down and picking up something else. It took me months to finish it. However, the storyline was unique the none the less.. I will give this 2.5 stars. I will recommend this book if you are planning a trip to India and looking for something light and whimsical, but beware of the redundancy. My review blog https://mattsbookbites.wordpress.com/

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    I had hope for this memoir. I enjoyed the first couple of chapters but the writing became stale. Felton observations are not interesting and she comes across as a whiner who misses her Jimmy Choos. I , admittedly, only got halfway through and decided that I had had enough.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jacqueline

    It took to page 224 for her to stop whining. Exhausting.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Gina

    "Karma Gone Bad" is a memoir on Jenny Feldon's experience moving to India for her husband's work, and the struggles she faces attempting to hold on to her old ways of life while simultaneously blending in unnoticed to Indian culture. Feldon's ability to depict the people, places, and events during her stay in India along with her honest, bone-deep illustration of her near crippling depression, makes for a read that is hard to put down. Although given my background, I at first found Feldon terrib "Karma Gone Bad" is a memoir on Jenny Feldon's experience moving to India for her husband's work, and the struggles she faces attempting to hold on to her old ways of life while simultaneously blending in unnoticed to Indian culture. Feldon's ability to depict the people, places, and events during her stay in India along with her honest, bone-deep illustration of her near crippling depression, makes for a read that is hard to put down. Although given my background, I at first found Feldon terribly un-relatable (she's an Upper West Sider, living in the corporate world, addicted to Starbucks and expensive clothes, obsessed with her dog, Tucker, concerned about her appearance, etc.) I still found myself rooting for her survival, and most of all, her transformation. Though at first much of her naivete and near-arrogance from being firmly ensconced in wealthy Western culture was off-putting, I believed that she would HAVE to change, and the prospect of this growth excited me, keeping me hooked to the very last page. What I appreciated most about this memoir is that Feldon never spells out the lessons she learns at the end as a way of tying things together--she moreso presents her transformation as part of the tale, thereby circumscribing any preachy here's-what-all-of-us-can-learn sort of conclusion. This story is purely her's, her growth and maturity belongs to no one else, and she serves as an example, not as a preacher. She tells it like it is, aware of her own short-comings, and humble about her personal revolution. And all told with good humor, potent descriptions, and a hard-core reality that invests you from the beginning. I would recommend this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    Jenny Feldon is a New York girl who loves fashion and shopping. When her husband's work takes the couple to live in India for two years, the culture shock is not brief or humorous. It rocks Feldon's self-image and her marriage. However, with time, she develops ways of not only coping, but finding beauty and pleasure in her new environment. This is an interesting story of culture shock and coping. I, personally, thought the narrator made the jump from deep depression and rejection to acceptance s Jenny Feldon is a New York girl who loves fashion and shopping. When her husband's work takes the couple to live in India for two years, the culture shock is not brief or humorous. It rocks Feldon's self-image and her marriage. However, with time, she develops ways of not only coping, but finding beauty and pleasure in her new environment. This is an interesting story of culture shock and coping. I, personally, thought the narrator made the jump from deep depression and rejection to acceptance seem a bit simpler than it would be in reality, but I appreciated the honesty of trying to explain a complex personal experience.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    After being in India, I'm always intrigued to read about others' experiences. This is the only reason to read this book. Transferred to Hyderabad, Jay and Jenny struggle with the culture. She has a blog and a book, but stupid grammatical errors pepper her work (door jam, continued to waiver, Nestled in his blanket, beneath the frame and the marble floor, dredges of her tea, let Anjali and I visit). Superficial insights also. I gave it two stars to be generous and because I'm fascinated by India. After being in India, I'm always intrigued to read about others' experiences. This is the only reason to read this book. Transferred to Hyderabad, Jay and Jenny struggle with the culture. She has a blog and a book, but stupid grammatical errors pepper her work (door jam, continued to waiver, Nestled in his blanket, beneath the frame and the marble floor, dredges of her tea, let Anjali and I visit). Superficial insights also. I gave it two stars to be generous and because I'm fascinated by India. Jenny's only interest was in replicating her New York life. Too bad.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tanya (mom's small victories)

    As posted on my blog at Mom's Small Victories. 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 f As posted on my blog at Mom's Small Victories. 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 bring 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? After that incident, I grew increasingly more offended by Jenny’s description of the Indian people and their country. She started blaming India for the problems in her marriage, which I found a bit immature. By the time Jenny came around to appreciate India, its people and its culture, I was already struggling to finish the book and her revelations came too late. I really enjoyed the book after its turning point, I just wish she’d gotten there sooner. What I did enjoy about the book was Jenny’s descriptions about the festivals and the places she visited. Her recounting of seeing the Taj Mahal was beautiful and it took my breath away as it did hers. The author did write well, I certainly felt like I was there in India watching her story unfold, I just wish there was more focus on the happy times in India and less of the complaining.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra

    Rating: 3.5/5 I was very excited to read that there was actually another Firangi in Hyderabad when I was there!!! Reading that she went to see Dhoom 2 at Prasad's and that she was there during the Lumbini bombings - we could have easily bumped shoulders! However, Hyderabad has changed sooooo much since 10 years ago that I feel that people who are reading this novel now would not understand how small it was back then. Hyderabad in 2005/2006 was TOTALLY different than it is now. I was also a bit unc Rating: 3.5/5 I was very excited to read that there was actually another Firangi in Hyderabad when I was there!!! Reading that she went to see Dhoom 2 at Prasad's and that she was there during the Lumbini bombings - we could have easily bumped shoulders! However, Hyderabad has changed sooooo much since 10 years ago that I feel that people who are reading this novel now would not understand how small it was back then. Hyderabad in 2005/2006 was TOTALLY different than it is now. I was also a bit uncomfortable with how the author went on and on about "third world" and all the "dirt", like it just reeked of privilege. As a New Yorker, I'd expect her to be more cultured and more willing to explore. For 75% of the novel, she wallowed in self pity, seemed to hate India intensely - barely even willing to explore India - and compared it to New York too much. That was a bit ridiculous, and she almost lost her marriage over it. She sounded bratty. In those instances I really could not relate to the author because I love to travel and explore. She lacked a sense of humour about things and it just felt like non-stop complaints - the least she could do was make it funny! However such themes are quite universal - an expat in a strange country, gets so scared that they can barely leave the house, enters a depression, until they get the courage to venture out and make friends and really develop a new idea of "home". Such instances even happen to Indian women who move to the USA. The novel redeemed itself in the end, as the narrator started to explore India again, make friends, and make the best of it. It ended with a surprise pregnancy, which was wonderful to read. I would recommend this book to expats that are having a difficult time adjusting to their new home country.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nina

    In which our heroine is devastated to find that there are no Starbucks in Hyderabad, India, where her husband has been transferred to. Neither are there couture boutiques, nor anyplace appropriate to wear the designer frocks she already owns. A self-professed yogini, she can't find a yoga class. In India. And is apparently unable to do yoga without one. India, she complains, is nothing like NYC, and she HATES it. I could possibly tolerate this from a well-crafted fictional character. Alas, this In which our heroine is devastated to find that there are no Starbucks in Hyderabad, India, where her husband has been transferred to. Neither are there couture boutiques, nor anyplace appropriate to wear the designer frocks she already owns. A self-professed yogini, she can't find a yoga class. In India. And is apparently unable to do yoga without one. India, she complains, is nothing like NYC, and she HATES it. I could possibly tolerate this from a well-crafted fictional character. Alas, this is not a novel, but a memoir from an amazingly whiny, shallow, self-absorbed blogger who, at one point is Honest-to-God horrified to find she has split ends. I get that India is very foreign to Americans. On "The Amazing Race" it's the place that even emotionally healthy teams fall apart. But when someone who is going to live in a foreign country for 2 years can't even be bothered to read a single guide book about the country beforehand, I have no sympathy for her. The fact that it's only her husband's threat to divorce her that gets her to reassess her attitude doesn't make her any more sympathetic either.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Katie Hurley

    Jenny weaves an incredible tale of love, heartache, and self-discovery in this must-read memoir based on her experience as an expat housewife in India. Having left her friends, family, and most of her favorite shoes behind in New York City to spend two years in India for her husband's job, Jenny steps off the plane and into a culture shock so intense that she quietly slips into what can only be described as depression. Through many months of soul-searching and rediscovering the true meaning of " Jenny weaves an incredible tale of love, heartache, and self-discovery in this must-read memoir based on her experience as an expat housewife in India. Having left her friends, family, and most of her favorite shoes behind in New York City to spend two years in India for her husband's job, Jenny steps off the plane and into a culture shock so intense that she quietly slips into what can only be described as depression. Through many months of soul-searching and rediscovering the true meaning of "karma", and heartbreaking lessons learned from the children she mentors in an orphanage, Jenny emerges a more confident version of her former self and with a new sense of purpose. "Karma Gone Bad" will make laugh, cry, grit your teeth with worry, and cheer all at once. It's a wonderful story of the lengths we go to to find ourselves when life gets in the way. Jenny is strong, brave, witty, and entertaining. I couldn't put this book down, but when I read the last sentence...I was sad that it was over.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Joann

    Karma Gone Bad will sate your travel bug and leave you laughing, worrying, and cheering as you follow Jenny’s humbling and enlightening journey. I love travel books about exotic locations and the author had me right with her from the first chapter. The first half, if not more, is filled with her troubles adjusting to India and her depression. Thankfully, she came through it and was able to enjoy India for what it is. Enjoyed it immensely.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    I LOVED this book! Jenny Feldon has written one of those I-can't-put-it-down books about her life as an expat in India. It is a funny, poignant, sometimes dramatic coming of age story. Truly a remarkable first book. A memoir about life, marriage, class, race, learning, travel, poverty, wealth, generosity and extreme happiness. Congrats, Jenny!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Really, really loved this book. I thought it started out as a major put-down against India, but by the end of the book, it was pointing out that the flaws were in the author's thinking, not so much in the culture of India itself. She learned that instead of looking for the comforts of America in another country, she just needed to take it as it is and celebrate the good in it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jillyn

    "Karma Gone Bad" is Jenny Feldon's memoir on an upper class American woman moving across the world to India when her husband gets transferred for work. From Manhattan to Hyderabad, the coffee addicted New Yorker learns about the world one adventure at a time, with equal parts of humor, sadness, and self-realization. ---- This book was a great read from cover to cover. I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised. Why surprised, you may ask? Because Jenny is hilarious. I read this book during "Karma Gone Bad" is Jenny Feldon's memoir on an upper class American woman moving across the world to India when her husband gets transferred for work. From Manhattan to Hyderabad, the coffee addicted New Yorker learns about the world one adventure at a time, with equal parts of humor, sadness, and self-realization. ---- This book was a great read from cover to cover. I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised. Why surprised, you may ask? Because Jenny is hilarious. I read this book during a train ride, and I felt like an idiot for laughing out loud. And it happened more than once. Despite the fact that I am most definitely not a Manhattanite, I sympathized with her throughout the text. There were more emotions drawn out besides humor. Fear, confusion, and depression are also present within this book, and I felt like this depth gave Jenny a very honest and relatable voice. As someone who wants to travel, and for whom India is a top location to visit in the future, I also appreciated the chance to learn from her experiences. Like for instance, how American foods are not necessarily abundant everywhere and I may have to hip check someone for a bag of tortilla chips. Or, just how different transportation and manners are in India versus America. Those who have traveled in the past (and have had their share of blunders) as well as those who wish to will both appreciate this memoir. The detail that went into this memoir was pretty amazing. I felt like I was in the house with the author, and was sharing her shenanigans. I have read other travel memoirs that read like a simple narcissistic, monotonous narration, and that is definitely NOT the case for Karma Gone Bad! It reads like a quick paced fiction, except that it actually happened. That sounds kind of weird, but it's the only way to really explain it. It almost seems too.... Much to be real, but I totally believe that it is. Karma Gone Bad is a book that takes books like Eat, Pray, Love and mashes them against Sex in the City for a thought provoking, fascinating, yet hilarious story of a woman's move to India. I think that everyone can take something away from this book, and recommend it to everyone, but especially travelers and travelers at heart. Thanks to Netgalley for my copy of this book. This review can also be found on my blog, Bitches n Prose.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kim H.

    Do you like to travel? Have you always imagined yourself living in an exotic place? Are you the type of person who enjoys reading memoirs? If you answered yes to any of these, then Jenny Feldon's book, Karma Gone Bad: How I Learned to Love Mangoes, Bollywood, and Water Buffalo is a must read! Feldon presents herself as a vivacious, young New Yorker who loves yoga and Starbucks. She also writes a blog which has many followers. Very early in her marriage, her husband Jeremy is presented with the opp Do you like to travel? Have you always imagined yourself living in an exotic place? Are you the type of person who enjoys reading memoirs? If you answered yes to any of these, then Jenny Feldon's book, Karma Gone Bad: How I Learned to Love Mangoes, Bollywood, and Water Buffalo is a must read! Feldon presents herself as a vivacious, young New Yorker who loves yoga and Starbucks. She also writes a blog which has many followers. Very early in her marriage, her husband Jeremy is presented with the opportunity to go to India and help organize an office in Hyderabad. It will be a two-year assignment. Initially excited at the prospect of living abroad, the young couple dreams of the idyllic life they will lead as expats in such an exotic setting. Feldon imagines all the opportunities she will have to blog about her experiences. She pictures herself having the time and motivation to finally write the book she has been wanting to pen. When the plane lands in Hyderabad and she steps into the sea of humanity, Feldon's sense of adventure quickly turns into a sense of "what have we done?" Karma is Feldon's account of her time living in India. She is open and honest about the struggles she went through to adapt to this very different way of life. As a reader with a bit more life experience (I'm assuming at 47 I'm older than she was when this happened), I felt myself wanting to offer her advice about not trying to remake India into her expectations, but rather allowing herself the joy and surprise of embracing India simply for what it was. Sometimes funny and often touching, it was a delight to go with her on this life-changing experience! Karma Gone Bad is a quick, fun book. I hope you have the chance to read it!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    4.0 out of stars - Funny and poignant memoir! Have you ever wanted to go live the expatriot life in a foreign country for a year or two? Newlywed Jenny Feldon really didn't have that wish on her bucket list. She was quite happy living in New York with her lovely apartment, a Starbucks nearby, easy access to public transportation, writing career, yoga addiction, and designer clothes. When her husband accepts a transfer with his company to Hyderabad, India, she comes along as a "plus one" thinking 4.0 out of stars - Funny and poignant memoir! Have you ever wanted to go live the expatriot life in a foreign country for a year or two? Newlywed Jenny Feldon really didn't have that wish on her bucket list. She was quite happy living in New York with her lovely apartment, a Starbucks nearby, easy access to public transportation, writing career, yoga addiction, and designer clothes. When her husband accepts a transfer with his company to Hyderabad, India, she comes along as a "plus one" thinking only that this will be an adventure of the sort that people call "the opportunity of a lifetime!" What an understatement! Jenny is totally unprepared in every way for what she will encounter during her two year "exile" in landlocked Hyderabad, India. Her expectations fall flat quickly against the reality of life in a country that is completely different from everything she has ever known. Alone and miserable, Jenny recounts her experiences and emotions in a way that makes the reader laugh and cry with her. No experience leaves the person unchanged, and Jenny is transformed by her time there. I don't typically like memoirs, but I really enjoyed reading this one. Jenny was easy to relate to and I could feel her despair, frustration, and sense of outrage at some of the things she dealt with. I was rooting for her all the way! I realize I am probably in the minority, but I have no desire to walk in her footsteps so living in India vicariously through this book will have to do it for me! Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks for the ebook to review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Bee

    My biggest advice for this book: stick with it. I recently read Behind the Beautiful Forevers, a nonfiction book about the Mumbai slums. Comparing and contrasting these two books is almost grotesque. Behind the Beautiful Forevers is about the hopelessness of the people eking out a meager living in the garbage around Mumbai. This is a memoir about an American who moves to India for her husband's work. For the first 70 pages or so, the author is spoiled, annoying, selfish, and oh-so culturally inse My biggest advice for this book: stick with it. I recently read Behind the Beautiful Forevers, a nonfiction book about the Mumbai slums. Comparing and contrasting these two books is almost grotesque. Behind the Beautiful Forevers is about the hopelessness of the people eking out a meager living in the garbage around Mumbai. This is a memoir about an American who moves to India for her husband's work. For the first 70 pages or so, the author is spoiled, annoying, selfish, and oh-so culturally insensitive. It was so bad that I was tempted to throw the book across the room and give up. I'm glad I stuck with it, and I'm hoping that the first part is exaggerated so that she can show character growth, rather than that being an accurate reflection of her true attitude. A lot of her trouble in moving to India was caused by depression (I believe) and an unwillingness to bend for culture. While the description of her growth feels a bit forced, I thought all in all in was an interesting view of an unfamiliar place through a lens that I understand.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    While I initially enjoyed this memoir, her complaints really started to wear on me. This had the potential to be an enjoyable read, but 75% of the book is about her refusal to embrace India and how unfair her life is. Honestly, it was depressing! Her misery/complaining made her so unlikeable that by the time she embraced the culture, I had long since stopped rooting for her. I felt as though she suddenly realized that she'd better not write an entire book about everything that sucks about India While I initially enjoyed this memoir, her complaints really started to wear on me. This had the potential to be an enjoyable read, but 75% of the book is about her refusal to embrace India and how unfair her life is. Honestly, it was depressing! Her misery/complaining made her so unlikeable that by the time she embraced the culture, I had long since stopped rooting for her. I felt as though she suddenly realized that she'd better not write an entire book about everything that sucks about India (in her opinion) so she threw in some half-attempts at embracing the culture towards the end. By the end, the only people I cared about were Venkat and Kamala, and I was really off-put that there was zero closure with either, especially Venkat since he seemed an special part of her journey. Honestly, the best part of the book was the cover.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Midge Bork

    I hate to stereotype, but you know this woman. Young New Yorker who cannot start her day without Starbucks. She can identify the designer of any shoe or accessory (as long as it is expensive). And, oh, does she know how to whine! Jenny's husband get transferred to India and she goes with him. Unable to adjust to life without Starbucks, she whines for the next 6 months (which is 3/4th of this book). Then she moves home. She goes back to India with a changed attitude but where did that come from? Th I hate to stereotype, but you know this woman. Young New Yorker who cannot start her day without Starbucks. She can identify the designer of any shoe or accessory (as long as it is expensive). And, oh, does she know how to whine! Jenny's husband get transferred to India and she goes with him. Unable to adjust to life without Starbucks, she whines for the next 6 months (which is 3/4th of this book). Then she moves home. She goes back to India with a changed attitude but where did that come from? The last quarter of the book reads like a self-help manual instructing us all to open to the possibilities around us. Maybe this would be okay for a beach read, but I found Jenny irritating and wouldn't recommend this book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    This was funny and had a great lesson in it too. This woman's husband was sent to Hyderabad, India for two years. She went with him. Let's just say she and India didn't hit it off. :-) The couple almost got divorced; she almost went back to America for good. But she decided to go back and try again, this time with more success (the husband, I must say, really needed to make some effort here too--we see a little of this, but he was sort of not very sympathetic at first, through some real difficul This was funny and had a great lesson in it too. This woman's husband was sent to Hyderabad, India for two years. She went with him. Let's just say she and India didn't hit it off. :-) The couple almost got divorced; she almost went back to America for good. But she decided to go back and try again, this time with more success (the husband, I must say, really needed to make some effort here too--we see a little of this, but he was sort of not very sympathetic at first, through some real difficulties.) Very fun and quick read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Whitney Page

    So many things working against Jenny Feldon, I didn't want to like this book but I kept reading until the end... You have to admire her ability to paint a not so wonderful picture of herself. I feel like I learned from her experiences and enjoyed seeing a more realistic view of expat life in India...and it aint pretty. Still in the end she comes off a bit clueless, materialistic, self-important, and lacking in substance... ouch. Kind of like reading a bad reality show staring hot yoga doing, ric So many things working against Jenny Feldon, I didn't want to like this book but I kept reading until the end... You have to admire her ability to paint a not so wonderful picture of herself. I feel like I learned from her experiences and enjoyed seeing a more realistic view of expat life in India...and it aint pretty. Still in the end she comes off a bit clueless, materialistic, self-important, and lacking in substance... ouch. Kind of like reading a bad reality show staring hot yoga doing, rich jewish princess from NYC, sans commercials.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tonya Wertman

    Having grown up overseas for 11 years, I am always interested in hearing about the expat experiences of others. Jenny Feldon's book, Karma Gone Bad is an honest, funny and compelling tale of self discovery of her time in India. My biggest take away is that attitude is everything and the phrase she adopts as her mantra, "Love it for what it is" rings true in just about every type of situation there is. A great read!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

    Loved this book. Jenny writes with honesty and wit about the reality of first world problems in a third world country. She candidly shares both the beauty in embracing the new and the pain of letting go when you step outside your comfort zone. Something most of us can relate to no matter where we are.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nan

    This book would not have been a first choice read for me, but I found it both entertaining ( I couldn't stop reading it) and enlightening. We are all on the verge of self-discovery if we can just give in to the experience! Well written, honest and poignant, truly a good read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Robert G. Loden

    Jenny spins a facinating tale. You feel like you're right there with her. A definite need to read for all. I have past this on, like I do all books, for others to enjoy. Won this book on GoodReads. Thanks.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Falcione

    This book was amazing. You really got wrapped up in the lives of the characters and when times were tough you were really hoping they would pull through. The author is wonderful about expressing her attitude both going in and coming out of this amazing experience.

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