All the Fishes Come Home to Roost

All the Fishes Come Home to Roost

An American Misfit in India

Book - 2005
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In the bestselling tradition of Running with Scissors and Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight - a hilarious, affecting memoir of the author's upbringing in an ashram in India.

In 1980, when she was seven, the author's parents, 60s-holdover hippies, leave California for an ashram in a cobra-ridden, drought stricken spot in India. Rachel is the only foreign child in a hundred-mile radius.

The ashram is devoted to Meher Baba, best known as the guru to Pete Townsend and thus for having inspired some songs by the Who, for having kept a lifelong vow of silence, and for having coined the slogan, "Don't worry, be happy."

Cavorting through these pages are some wonderfully eccentric characters - including a holy madman permanently doubled over from years of stooping to collect invisible objects; a senile librarian who nightly sings scales outside Rachel's window, only with grunts instead of notes; and a middle-aged male virgin who begs Rachel to critique his epic spiritual poems. Somehow, Rachel manages to keep her wits and humor about her when everyone else seems to have lost touch with reality. Astutely observed and laugh-out-loud funny, this astonishing debut memoir marks the arrival of a major new literary talent.
Publisher: Emmaus, Pa. : Rodale ; New York : Distributed to the trade by Holtzbrinck Publishers, c2005.
ISBN: 9781594861390
Characteristics: ix, 339 p. ;,22 cm.


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WVMLStaffPicks Oct 11, 2014

Rachel's hippie-style parents take her to live an alternate lifestyle on a desolate commune in India. She is the only child for miles around, though with her insight she seems to be the only adult sometimes. She takes an unusual experience and adds lots of humour to make this a fun, fascinating book to read.

Chrestomanci_Castle Dec 27, 2013

This is a really good book. Honest, tenacious, compassionate, and fierce. Full of meaning. The story of someone who's been through very difficult things, and has made it through to the other side a strong person: able to laugh, love, forgive and live.

BPLNextBestAdults Jan 05, 2012

In this fast-paced memoir, Brown recounts how her ex-hippie parents decide to leave California and settle at Mehr Baba’s ashram in dusty, hot Ahmedanagar, a place full of eccentric characters. Uproariously and absurdly funny in parts, the India described here is not one of snake charmers and exotic excesses. The author’s account of devotee behaviour (her mother is a prime example) and their never-ending ability to interpret all things as signs or lessons from the guru is told with dry wit. The disturbing accounts of both the indifferent parenting and the bullying she endured are told in a similar tone. Brown remained a misfit through the five years at the ashram and returned to her own country as a pre-teen. Her memories of her childhood remain fresh and vivid. The book is authentic in detailed observation, and fresh and original in tone.

Aug 01, 2008

Funny but not. As she says, if she had had a normal upbringing she would not have become a writer.

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