Sunday, November 10, 2013

Book Review- Amreekandesi by Atulya Mahajan


Author: Atulya Mahajan
ISBN-13: 9788184003956
Binding: Paperback
Publisher: Random House India
Number of Pages: 318
Genre: Fiction 
Language: English
Price: Rs. 199 (Got a review copy)

About the Book: 

Akhil Arora, a young, dorky engineer in Delhi, cant wait to get away from home and prove to his folks that he can be on his own. Meanwhile in a small town in Punjab, Jaspreet Singh, aka Jassi, is busy dreaming of a life straight out of American Pie. As fate would have it, they end up as roommates in Florida. But the two boys are poles apart in their perspectives and expectations of America. While Akhil is fiercely patriotic and hopes to come back to India in a few years, Jassi finds his Indian identity an uncomfortable burden and looks forward to finding an American girl with whom he can live happily ever after.

Laced with funny anecdotes and witty insights, Amreekandesi chronicles the quintessential immigrant experience, highlighting the clash of cultures, the search for identity, and the quest for survival in a foreign land.

Swarnali Speaks :

Amreekan Desi is the story of Akhil and Jassi and many other Indians who crack GRE to live their American dream. Atulya Mahajan very successfully portrays the difference between this supposed dream and what actually happens when the FOB-Fresh off the Boat Indians land on the American soil. The book is an amusing narration of the cultural shock that Indians get initially and how they learn to mold themselves to fit into a society which is so distinctly different from ours. What is very appealing about the book is a very fresh , candid and honest depiction of the real America versus the America that we imagined after watching tonnes of American movies and TV shows. The unvarnished appeal of the book could be attributed to the author's first hand experience of going to the USA for higher studies, much like the protagonists.

The best part of the book was the humor quotient which is evident from the cover itself. Though not absolutely hilarious, the incidents and anecdotes in the book do manage to make you giggle from time to time.  Be it Akhil's professor's assumption of the former of being an Indian prince who rides and elephant or his father's typical Indian mindset of instantly converting USD into INR before purchasing an item, the book has innumerable incidents to make the reader have a hearty laugh, sometimes on the absurd notions of India that Americans have and sometimes on our own typical Indian behavior (for example, hogging on airline food). Also, it comes as a relief that the book does not contain glaring typos or grammatical errors.

What I think would've been better is if the author had paid more attention to making the lives of the characters seem a little more complex instead of describing one incident after another. I would have liked to see how Jassi's family would've reacted to his Amreekan girlfriend, Victoria ,which was not touched upon (very little was told about his family in fact). Also the straightening of issues with Akhil and Nandita seemed a little too simple and almost DDLJ-ish but enjoyable, nonetheless.

If you are one of those planning to appear for GRE and shifting to the States in the near future or are are one of those who love to read while on the move, this book is the perfect choice for you. A light, breezy and enjoyable read, this one is sure to tickle your funny bones. I already have in mind a couple of friends of mine who are planning to go to the States and this book will make the perfect gift for them.

Rating : 3.5 / 5 

This review was a part of Reader's Cosmos book review program.


  1. Such a nice review!! I like reading his blog, so I assume his book must be equally good!!

    1. The book is indeed a fun read like his blog. Thanks much, Fabida :)


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