A House for Happy Mothers

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 01 Jul 2016

Member Reviews

Two women with very different backgrounds and circumstances are joined by the one factor - child. 
Priya is an American woman (ethnically half-American, half-Indian) desiring a child. Asha, a poor Indian woman living in India, is trying to get some money to ensure her family´s future. They connect through the surrogate mothering. 

This is definitely a book to start a debate. Quite educative on the Indian surrogate "market" and many of the ethical questions. 
The authoress is trying to cover all of the angles, emotional, ethical and economical. But just the fact that all of her characters are nice people (who also grow during the circumstances), somehow sugarcoats one of the main ethical questions here - the exploitation of the poor women, for whom the surrogate mothering is often the way out of the horrible circumstances (one of the characters comments on the issue: at least this way is better than prostitution). Because however Priya and her family are nice people, who genuinely try to help - yet their niceness is seen as a step above, as something extra in this world of the business with women´s uteruses. And the fact that Asha´s son is a boy with a promising future (and this future can be ensured with the help), makes only for another "Slumdog Millionaire" movie plot angle - because if the boy was just a normal "boy", how could Priya "repay" Asha´s being a surrogate mother for the baby? While the authoress brings the issue of exploitation on the table, yet somehow whitewashes it by Priya´s family and friends´ niceness. As if the "unusual" niceness of some people can be the apology for the business with poor women. 

But I am thankful for this book to open/continue the discussions.
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2.5 stars. I kept reading because while I have given some thought to the concept of surrogacy, I wasn't aware of the surrogacy market in India and the book kept me thinking, sometimes very uncomfortably.
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What a complete joy this book is to read. 

With a serious thread about infertility and surrogacy it is a touching and heart warming read. At times it is hard and very emotional and I was shocked by some of the story and the women.

I knew I would love it as soon as I saw the cover and to be honest it was so much better than I first thought. It is superbly written and while it is not a happy read it is one that will stay with me forever
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I thought this book brought up a lot of good points about outsourced surrogates. Not always as win-win as the proponents make it out to be, it gives a good look into the reasons someone might choose to do this and the perils therein. Heartbreaking and real, I was only a little disappointed in the weird relationship they end up having with the brilliant son. A good read!
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Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher, and Amulya Malladi (author) for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest review. 

Overall, I enjoyed this book, although the ending seemed rushed. I would've liked to know more about how Asha did post-birth; how her life was once she returned home. Did Manoj end up going to the boarding school? Did Asha and Pratap buy a flat? And how did having a baby change Priya's life. An epilogue would've ended things on a more complete note.
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A beautifully written book that shows the joys and heartache of using a surrogate to have a baby. The book seemed to be well researched.
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This was a heart-wrenchingly beautiful novel. Having never experienced the desire to be a mother, I couldn't empathise with Priya, but still had many feelings throughout the story. I could not imagine wanting something so badly that I went to such great lengths, but I also feel sympathy for those who must go this route for any reason. I think surrogacy is a beautiful thing and mutually beneficial, albeit highly emotional and controversial. The topic was made even more powerful by Asha's story against the background of Indian poverty. It was interesting to explore the thoughts and emotions of a character who isn't entirely on board with what she's doing, but feels obligated to do it anyway due to her circumstances. I enjoyed that the women did have a connection to each other, but felt Asha was more bitter than necessary.  Though, it was also very refreshing to have a character that wasn't entirely selfless.
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An honest portrayal a motherhood and womanhood in its many forms. Priya and Asha are two women from vastly different background and circumstances that become united in life as Asha become Priya's surrogate. Amulya Malladi does a beautiful job of exploring the ups and downs of this journey for both women and their family and friends. Just as the two women come across as relatable and real, so do the people  in their lives. From the husbands and in-laws to the other surrogate mothers in the "House for Happy Mothers", everyone brings a unique perspective to the story exploring the struggles, the beauty, and also the moral and ethical dilemmas of surrogacy in the context of a wide spectrum of Indian culture, from Asha's poor, rural India to California's multicultural Bay Area. 
Thank you to NetGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this review copy.

This novel covered the topic of surrogacy, and surrogacy where an American (Indian sub-continent heritage) couple used an Indian woman as the surrogate. Despite this being fiction it was quite a difficult read and I felt (yet gain) fortunate to live where I do, with the freedom to make the choices I make. 

I thought the book well written, the challenges on either part well explored, but ultimately I found some of the characters a little less engaging than I'd have liked.
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Interesting read, not really what I would have picked up on a bookstore or library. Well written, characters have enough depth for you to feel for them.
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Thought provoking!  It should make for a good book club discussion!  This was my initial reaction, so I did, indeed, ask my book club to read this.  We did and, as I anticipated, we did have an excellent discussion about many different aspects of the book--payed surrogacy, the traps of poverty, cultural expectations, ex-pats.  This book is interesting, engaging, and an excellent platform for a book club discussion.
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I really enjoyed getting to see the perspectives of both women in this novel. I felt the hope and nerves from Priya and Madhu, which really allowed me to empathize with them and want everything to work out as they wanted it. But I also felt the fear and reluctance of Asha, who was forced into being a surrogate mother to help support her family. Being so intimately involved in both women's thoughts though, I found it hard to relate to Asha sometimes when she thought poorly of Priya. I didn't see Priya's actions the same way she did, which made me dislike her when she complained about Priya.

Overall, I think the story was very well written. I loved that while initially Asha was the one "helping" Priya by carrying the baby Priya couldn't, both women came together to help each other and benefit from surrogacy.
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The structure of this novel was quite interesting and would have worked great in theory, but the voice of the author is underdeveloped and juvenile. On the sentence level, the author's straightforward, plodding details really detracted from my enjoyment of the story, and I believe it could have used another round of constructive editing and development. I chose not to review this publicly.
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