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Goddess For Hire

January 27, 2010

Goddess For Hire

by Sonia Singh

How often do you find and enjoy a book that makes fun of your culture, the state you live in, arranged marriages, and religion too? Not often, right? I didn’t think it was possible either until I found ” target=”_blank”>Goddess for Hire by accident on amazon.com one day. You know how Amazon always suggests purchases when you add something to your cart? Well, I am the idiot who always ends up ordering the suggested books. And more. Let’s just say that for me Amazon is like Target…I go in intending to buy toothpaste and 45 minutes later I’ve spent $100.

Anyway, thanks to Amazon’s “Search Inside this Book” feature, Goddess for Hire had me hooked from the second page: “Indian people like to bitch about the big bad British ruling India for two hundred years. Big deal. Try growing up in Orange County. Most of my cousins sport blue contact lenses and dye their hair ash-blond. How’s that for colonial impact?”

Maya Mehra is Indian, unmarried, and 30-years-old. These three qualities alone qualify Maya as every Indian parent’s nightmare. To add insult to injury Maya has no career to speak of, no husband on the horizon, and still lives with her parents in Newport Beach, California. She spends her days shopping and keeping Starbucks in business, while trying to fend off her matchmaking aunts. She wonders what her purpose in life is but she is too lazy to attempt to figure it out. Her situation is not just sad but hopeless too, and her family has no idea what to do with her.

One day Maya finds out she is the incarnation of the Hindu Goddess Kali and her job is to save the world with her supernatural powers. At first she thinks the whole thing is a joke…how can she, a totally non-religious person be a Goddess? But Maya grudgingly begins fulfilling her purpose of helping others and fighting evil. Meanwhile she meets Tahir Sahni – a guy her parents are trying to set her up with. Tahir is handsome, smart, and doesn’t take her crap and Maya finds herself falling in love for the first time. The only problem? Tahir is not at all interested in her!

The author’s quick wit and light-hearted writing takes you through the rest of the book and Maya’s adventures as she battles the bad guys and fights to win the only good guy she’s ever wanted. I found myself laughing constantly as Maya bumbled around Orange County in the canary yellow H2 Hummer her dad refered to as “a weapon of mass destruction.” I rooted for her and Tahir to have a happy Bollywood-ish ending. I cracked up constantly at not only the references to the shallow Orange County crowd but at the authors relatable Indian anecdotes as well.

The premise of this book is ridiculous and silly but I loved it anyway. It is so nice to finally find an Indian-themed book that doesn’t involve the main character being widowed, tortured by her in-laws, or crying over an arranged marriage. Don’t get me wrong, I love those kinds of books too, but sometimes you just need a happy, light story that keeps you engaged and laughing for a few hours.

Sonia Singh isn’t going to win any awards for this book but I think her humor, sarcasm, and literary style are great. If you liked the Shopaholic series you will love this book too! Definitely check it out.

Is anyone else a fan of Indian authors? Jhumpa Lahiri, Rohinton Mistry, Monica Ali are a few of my favorites…does anyone have any other suggestions?

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