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Book Review – 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 Goddess for Hire by accident on 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?

32 Comments leave one →
  1. January 27, 2010 9:27 pm

    Looks like a fun book! I’m a little behind in my blog reading, and just noticed you had another trip to Petros…mmmmm!! Also, looks like you had a fun blogger meetup – I will have to get in on the next one!

    • January 28, 2010 7:22 am

      Hi Annamarina…we can’t get enough of Petros! Maybe we can meet up there!

  2. January 28, 2010 1:05 am

    I liked these: Jaishree Mishra’s Ancient Memories and Advaita Kala’s Almost Single. First one is along the tortured by in-laws kinda story without it being too torturous to the reader – it’s sort of the autobiography of the author. Second one is hilarious – it’s light hearted.

    • January 28, 2010 7:23 am

      Thanks Jeena…I haven’t heard of these books before so thank you for the suggestions!

  3. January 28, 2010 3:38 am

    I had to read Jhumpa Lahiri’s “Interpreter of Maladies” for a class last semester. It was about an American-Indian family going for a holiday in India. The funny part was that they family, being Americanized, didn’t understand their own culture in India, and had to rely on a tour guide/taxi driver. It was enjoyable 😀

  4. louisianagrown permalink
    January 28, 2010 6:47 am

    I love the books amazon and suggest for me. I’ve found some good reads that way!

  5. January 28, 2010 7:21 am

    As always, thanks for the book review!! I love these posts!

  6. January 28, 2010 7:43 am

    Thanks for the review! It seems like a fun book to pick up… I definitely enjoy some lighter reading once in a while 🙂

    Have you ever read “The Life of Pi”? The main character in it is Indian and it’s a really enjoyable read. I recommend it if you haven’t read it 🙂

  7. Stef @ moretolifethanlettuce permalink
    January 28, 2010 7:54 am

    her name is maya too? haha! great book review, you had me at the bit about orange county–colonial impact fo sho! 😉

  8. ida permalink
    January 28, 2010 8:56 am

    I recently found your blog, and I think you’re great! I love Monica Ali, but don’t really know any other Indian authors. The book you reviewed sounds like a fun read though.

    • January 28, 2010 10:27 am

      Hi Ida – thank you for your kind comment! I love Monica Ali as well. Definitely check out my favorite Indian book ever…Madras on Rainy Days…I think you will love it.

  9. January 28, 2010 9:01 am

    I love your book reviews Ameena. I don’t read much beyond cookbooks and things like Thrive and Chi Running (self improvement) so I always enjoy your re caps of these fun stories!

    you are a great book critic!

  10. January 28, 2010 9:51 am

    Oh, I LOVE Jhumpa Lahiri! I find myself very attracted to Indian writers, maybe because two of my best friends are Indian and growing up with them exposed me to a lot of the culture. Thanks for the book review. I’m a voracious reader 🙂

  11. January 28, 2010 10:52 am

    I read this book and another by the author. I liked it because it was light and humorous, a perfect foil to the other “serious” books by South Asian authors that seem to be more prevalent.

    Chitra banerji divakaruni is another of my favorites. There are others but I’ll have to email you later once I’ve looked through my shelves.

  12. January 28, 2010 11:36 am

    Got your comment on my blog 🙂 Thanks for stopping by. To answer your question, these are the books I got:
    1. Hawaii (yes, I know, I should have read it a long time ago… I’ve been to Hawaii many times, but my upcoming trip in April is motivating me).
    2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
    3. Let the Great World Spin
    4. Live a Little!: Breaking the Rules Won’t Break Your Health
    5. Goodbye Ed, Hello Me: Recover from Your Eating Disorder and Fall in Love with Life

    I like to keep a good fiction/nonfiction mix 😉 Do you have a list of your favorite books somewhere?

    Oh, and if you’d rather write via email, my address is 🙂

  13. January 28, 2010 12:19 pm

    thanks for the review, this book sounds fun! i like a nice lighthearted read too and am always looking for suggestions 🙂

  14. whydeprive permalink
    January 28, 2010 2:17 pm

    This book sounds good! Minus the being a Hindu Goddess part, your description of the character reminds me a lot of one of my moms friends. Shes probably the funniest person Ive ever met (and not on purpose at all) so I have a feeling I’d really like this book.

  15. actorsdiet permalink
    January 28, 2010 3:14 pm

    i’m not familiar with too many indian authors but my friend from college, sadia shepherd, wrote a terrific book called “the girl from foreign” if you haven’t heard of that one before.

    • January 28, 2010 7:55 pm

      I just looked it up on and it looks really interesting! Thanks for the suggestion.

  16. January 28, 2010 3:36 pm

    I love reading your book reviews! I feel I can trust your opinion 😉

    This book sounds like a lot of fun. I have a few Indian friends and am totally intrigued with the “traditional” way of living! It is so different and amazing to me, I just love it!


  17. January 28, 2010 4:15 pm

    Love your book reviews! I’ve never seen this before, will look for it 😉

  18. January 28, 2010 4:54 pm

    Always looking for great and fun books. I love books about indian culture. I am a huge bollywood fan. I am not Indian myself but hubby is and I have grown incredibly fond of indian food and culutre.
    *kisses* HH

    • January 28, 2010 7:56 pm

      I had no idea your husband was from India! How great that you love Bollywood too!

  19. January 28, 2010 5:18 pm

    This sounds like a fun read! I love Jhumpa Lahiri too.

  20. January 28, 2010 7:11 pm

    Great book review Ameena. You write really well. Looks like a fun book!

  21. January 30, 2010 1:46 pm

    That sounds like it could be really funny. Ha. Kind of reminds me of Bruce Almighty!. He finds out he has all of these powers too.

  22. Lilian Gilbert permalink
    February 10, 2010 8:00 pm

    I’m trying to get your RSS feed but i’m getting an error. Please let me know when it’s ready, I love the site. Thank you! 🙂

  23. myra permalink
    August 7, 2010 9:56 pm

    Did you read Chetan Bhagat’s books if not have a look at Two states – story of my marriage , taht is hilarious.
    a fun read don’t expect great language or anything.

    • August 8, 2010 8:21 am

      I have never heard of Chetan Bhagat, thank you for the recommendation! I am going to check it out.

  24. Ashwini permalink
    January 2, 2012 9:43 pm

    Ancient Promises by Jaishree Misra is a good read too. It’s a lotta crying and all that though!

    P.S: I came across your blog a coupla days back and so far I feel like it’s my alter ego writing this blog..really! Your writing style is funny and thoroughly enjoyable. I like it!

    • January 3, 2012 12:38 am

      Thank you Ashwini for the book recommendation! I am definitely adding it to my shopping cart. 🙂

      And thank you for reading my blog! I never get tired of hearing from people who can relate to me – it makes me feel SO much better! Happy New Year!


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