Larry Brennan's Reviews > Climbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India

Climbing the Mango Trees by Madhur Jaffrey
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's review
Aug 29, 2011

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bookshelves: foodie-books
Read in August, 2011

This is a very breezy memoir of a privileged childhood in Delhi. Madhur Jaffrey is, as always, charming, warm and just a bit reserved. Reading this, you get an intimate portrait of a well-connected family around the time of Partition.

I really wish this book had more depth. There was so much going on at that time and at best we get a light brush-by with experiences that should be conveyed more forcefully. For example, as a child Jaffrey attended one of the last talks/prayer meetings held by Ghandi, and she gives us a brief view of her family's reaction to his assassination. It would have been far more interesting if she had taken us deeper into her own feelings.

Food is used in an interesting way in this book, and this is where the memoir is most successful. The power of taste memories is very strong and Jaffrey does a masterful job of sharing hers.

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