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Nestled in the suburbs of Atlanta, a family learns the funniest punchlines can hide the hardest truths in this evocative women’s fiction novel from the author of Well-Behaved Indian Women. From the outside, the Joshi family is the quintessential Indian-American family. Decades ago, Bina and Deepak immigrated to America, where she became a pillar of their local Indian commun Nestled in the suburbs of Atlanta, a family learns the funniest punchlines can hide the hardest truths in this evocative women’s fiction novel from the author of Well-Behaved Indian Women. From the outside, the Joshi family is the quintessential Indian-American family. Decades ago, Bina and Deepak immigrated to America, where she became a pillar of their local Indian community and he, a successful psychiatrist. Their eldest daughter, Suhani, is following the footsteps of her father’s career and happily married. Natasha, their middle daughter, is about to become engaged to the son of longtime family friends. And Anuj, their son—well he’s a son and what could be better than that? But a family scandal shows that nothing is as it seems. Bina’s oldest friendship starts to unravel and she finds herself as an outsider in the community she helped build. Suhani discovers that her perfect marriage isn’t as solid as she thought. Natasha faces a series of rejections that send her into a downward spiral. As they encounter public humiliation, gossiping aunties, and self-doubt, the Joshi family must rely on each other like never before. But sometimes, family has to fall apart in order to come back stronger than before.


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Nestled in the suburbs of Atlanta, a family learns the funniest punchlines can hide the hardest truths in this evocative women’s fiction novel from the author of Well-Behaved Indian Women. From the outside, the Joshi family is the quintessential Indian-American family. Decades ago, Bina and Deepak immigrated to America, where she became a pillar of their local Indian commun Nestled in the suburbs of Atlanta, a family learns the funniest punchlines can hide the hardest truths in this evocative women’s fiction novel from the author of Well-Behaved Indian Women. From the outside, the Joshi family is the quintessential Indian-American family. Decades ago, Bina and Deepak immigrated to America, where she became a pillar of their local Indian community and he, a successful psychiatrist. Their eldest daughter, Suhani, is following the footsteps of her father’s career and happily married. Natasha, their middle daughter, is about to become engaged to the son of longtime family friends. And Anuj, their son—well he’s a son and what could be better than that? But a family scandal shows that nothing is as it seems. Bina’s oldest friendship starts to unravel and she finds herself as an outsider in the community she helped build. Suhani discovers that her perfect marriage isn’t as solid as she thought. Natasha faces a series of rejections that send her into a downward spiral. As they encounter public humiliation, gossiping aunties, and self-doubt, the Joshi family must rely on each other like never before. But sometimes, family has to fall apart in order to come back stronger than before.

30 review for What a Happy Family

  1. 5 out of 5

    Taylor Reid

    What a Happy Family centers on the Joshis, an Indian American family living in Atlanta, and explores how our family dynamics play a role in our decisions and who we become. With every member of the Joshi family hiding something from someone else, they quickly learn that keeping up appearances is exhausting, particularly when it’s your own family. Tender and sweet and wise, just like Saumya Dave’s first, Well-Behaved Indian Women.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Woodbury

    3.5 stars. For the first half this book is familiar, a multi-perspective look at a modern family where the parents are immigrants who have built a successful life but the children are starting to flounder. What makes this book really different is that it has a very specific idea of how this dynamic is unhealthy but also how it can be repaired. To be honest, in a way this reminded me of a romance novel. In a romance novel part of the joy comes from watching people not only get into a relationship 3.5 stars. For the first half this book is familiar, a multi-perspective look at a modern family where the parents are immigrants who have built a successful life but the children are starting to flounder. What makes this book really different is that it has a very specific idea of how this dynamic is unhealthy but also how it can be repaired. To be honest, in a way this reminded me of a romance novel. In a romance novel part of the joy comes from watching people not only get into a relationship but solve whatever barriers they run into along the way. At the end you know they are happy together. In a lot of books about family, you see the dynamic and then the dynamic either doesn't change, or it changes only in small ways. But in this book, you get to not only see what the dynamic is, you get to be there as the family works on taking significant steps to resolve it. You get to *go through family therapy* with them. It can be a wild kind of wish fulfillment read, getting to see all the both loving and harmful things everyone does, having them confront what they've done wrong, appreciate what they've done right, and move forward together. I am trying to think of the last time I read a novel that did that and... I am coming up blank. I talk about it as wish fulfillment because I do think it gets a bit oversimplified and resolves a bit quickly. I think there could have been a longer journey there and I think it could have started earlier. The balance of the book is a bit off. It wasn't until I was almost done that I realized that it's really about the resolution more than the problem. And that's a good thing, I wish it had leaned into it a little more. It certainly differentiates it from the pack. The family here makes so much sense, you just sink right into it. It's not hard to see how the different personalities and relationships have come together. Really my biggest quibble is that I didn't entirely buy Natasha. Some things about her just didn't totally make sense to me, and she's the central character if there is one. She wants a career in comedy, she has apparently done all this research, but she also thinks that what will be basically her first time doing real stand up is going to open up doors when comedy is the longest of slogs felt weird. I also couldn't ever imagine her relationship with Karan, he seems far too boring for her, especially for so many years. I also (sorry) did not find her funny, which made the comedy segments of the book fall flat. It was a bummer because there are many other parts of her that were really grounded and relatable, so the ones that didn't quite fit were more noticeable. Content warnings for depression, attempted suicide, abortion, and domestic abuse.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Shivani

    This book was everything I ever wanted. I don’t think I’ve ever been this connected and seen by a book before. I’m so grateful to have received an arc of this book because I could talk about it all day long and will be raving it about it until and after its release. To dive into the contents, this is a story about a family that each have their own personal problems whether that’s in their careers, mental health, relationships, etc. It’s told from a multi-person perspective which I as a reader lo This book was everything I ever wanted. I don’t think I’ve ever been this connected and seen by a book before. I’m so grateful to have received an arc of this book because I could talk about it all day long and will be raving it about it until and after its release. To dive into the contents, this is a story about a family that each have their own personal problems whether that’s in their careers, mental health, relationships, etc. It’s told from a multi-person perspective which I as a reader love because I enjoy getting to be in the heads of everyone and see the depth of why they act the way they do. My favorite character was of course Suhani. She’s the epitome of who I want to be. Up until recently I had actually not read or seen a lot of Indian women going into the field of medicine because they actually wanted to rather than their parents just telling them they should. Anyways, I felt like Suhani was a reflection of myself and her relationship with Natasha, her sister, definitely had some similarities to my sister and I’s relationship. Besides the wonderful cast of characters, I thought the writing style was easy to read without being juvenile which is an aspect that I was looking for in a South Asian adult fiction book. I found that many SA adult fiction books had characters or contained writing that came across as juvenile which is just difficult for me to relate to because of how I was raised and the independence I’ve had from an early age. I was completely sucked into this family drama and dynamic from the very beginning. Additionally, the way in which South Asian culture was depicted and appreciated, while still breaking down why some of the old fashioned thinking and traditions are problematic was done so well! I think the tension and emotions tied to what happens as an effect of these traditions were quite realistic. I myself have felt so much internalized pressure being the child of an immigrant and as I mentioned, this book understood me. Now of course I want to give this book a five stars, however, there were a couple things that led me to lowering it one star (not to say that this book wasn’t amazing because it is and I highly recommend you all pick it up!). First, I know the term shrink was thrown around a lot. I’m not a health care specialist and the author is a psychiatrist, so it could be my interpretation is wrong, but I found that calling a psychiatrist a shrink can be a bit demeaning or oversimplified. I could understand it as a joke between Suhani and her dad, but outside of that it definitely bugged me a little bit. Related to this, in the beginning, Suhani talks with her friend Vanessa on how they sometimes describe people by throwing around clinical labels or terminology such as saying “so and so definitely has some OCD characteristics.” Again, I’m not a psychiatrist, but even as a joke, I find that putting labels, especially clinical labels on people can be really detrimental to the way people see or value themselves. I’m not sure if it meant to come across that way, but that was just my own thoughts. Aside from that, the only other thing that I didn’t really care for in the book was Natasha’s comedy. I really tried to not be so quick to judge like Suhani had, but certain things are so hard for me to change. This is more of a personal thing, but comedians who use their culture in almost a negative context can give other people, specifically white people the opportunity to continue to stereotype South Asian people. I know it’s not our job as South Asians to have to filter ourselves for the sake of others, and I’m not sure if it’s because of my own personal experiences, but making jokes about South Asian culture and mental health hits a little too close to home and makes me uncomfortable. I know humor can be a coping mechanism for many so I totally understand where Natasha was coming from, but it just wasn’t for me. I actually thought she could be a better motivational/public speaker than comedian. Anyways, that’s besides the point. I’m going to wrap it up by saying that this book is incredibly special and I’m so excited to gush about it with my South Asian friends.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Verant

    What a Happy Family delves deep into the emotions of family struggles, mental health, happiness, and the importance of communication. A beautiful and wonderfully written book told from different POVs, Dave’s poignant and true-to-life story pulls on the heartstrings with warmth, compassion, and humor. Each character comes to life and, ultimately, grows. I even found myself growing with them.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    I connected to this book on a heart level--the warmth, humor, emotion, depth, and realism pulled me in and I was hooked from the beginning.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Shannan Hicks

    Such a great look at family dynamics and trauma wounds. Well-written. I couldn’t put it down!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Anita Kushwaha

    I first became a fan of this talented author after reading her debut, Well-behaved Indian Women, and I was excited to dive headfirst into her latest work. As a daughter of Indian immigrants, I felt so much of myself and my family reflected on the page. More than once I found myself thinking, "That is exactly something my mom would say!" or "Ohmigosh, I have an aunt who is just like that!" The cultural nuances and insights into inter-generational conflict and family dynamics are what makes this b I first became a fan of this talented author after reading her debut, Well-behaved Indian Women, and I was excited to dive headfirst into her latest work. As a daughter of Indian immigrants, I felt so much of myself and my family reflected on the page. More than once I found myself thinking, "That is exactly something my mom would say!" or "Ohmigosh, I have an aunt who is just like that!" The cultural nuances and insights into inter-generational conflict and family dynamics are what makes this book so special. There's humour effortlessly mingled with more serious issues and it never feels either heavy handed or glib. Highly recommended!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Suzy Lew

    Dave's follow-up to her first novel, Well-Behaved Indian Women is an absorbing drama that examines the dynamics of the Joshi family, mental health, and what it means to truly belong. Bina and Deepak Joshi came to America to start over and welcome new opportunities into their lives. Bina ia a little resentful of leaving a flourishing acting career but settles into her role as the matriarch of the household-settle being being the operative word-as she supports Deepak's journey to becoming a psychia Dave's follow-up to her first novel, Well-Behaved Indian Women is an absorbing drama that examines the dynamics of the Joshi family, mental health, and what it means to truly belong. Bina and Deepak Joshi came to America to start over and welcome new opportunities into their lives. Bina ia a little resentful of leaving a flourishing acting career but settles into her role as the matriarch of the household-settle being being the operative word-as she supports Deepak's journey to becoming a psychiatrist in America. Suhani is their oldest child. She's beautiful, accomplished, and seemingly perfect and has followed in her father's footsteps as a psychiatrist. However, a dark secret from her past emerges, threatening to derail her marriage and her career. Natasha is the middle, so-called "problem" child. She is determined to not follow a traditional path and decides to reject a marriage proposal from a long-time boyfriend and quit her current job, in order to pursue her passion for stand-up comedy. However, her mental health becomes strained by the fall-out and Natasha is forced to reckon with past demons. Anuj, the youngest, is the golden boy. His quiet confidence and easy-going nature however, mask other insecurities that rise to the surface. The Joshi family must delve into the past and examine long-buried secrets if they are truly to help each other and heal as a family. I was riveted by this family drama. The characters were vibrant and so relatable, making this a perfect exploration of the joys and imperfections of family.. I highly recommend!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jane Igharo

    Loved every minute of this!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dimple

    I'm quite conflicted when writing this review, thus a slightly generous rating. While written in the same vein as Well-Behaved Indian Women, I really wanted to enjoy it just as much. Unfortunately, Dave seems to show perspectives of all six family members quite flippantly, without giving them too much depth. The second half focuses more on the mental health aspect of the characters which is wonderfully redeeming, and where she gives us more depth and insight into the Joshi family, especially Nat I'm quite conflicted when writing this review, thus a slightly generous rating. While written in the same vein as Well-Behaved Indian Women, I really wanted to enjoy it just as much. Unfortunately, Dave seems to show perspectives of all six family members quite flippantly, without giving them too much depth. The second half focuses more on the mental health aspect of the characters which is wonderfully redeeming, and where she gives us more depth and insight into the Joshi family, especially Natasha, and the South Asian stigmatization around therapy and issues surrounding mental health. However, character development seems to be made out of convenience rather than out of any actual growth. Lots of unnecessary pop culture references. Seems like a hasty effort to release a book overall; would recommend WBIW more.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    This book was so well done. As another reviewer said, I connected with it on a heart level. So many of the sentences were thoughtful, useful nuggets of wisdom. I loved this book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    I received What a Happy Family as part of a Goodreads giveaway. The Joshis, an Indian-American immigrant family living in Atlanta, seems to have it all: a successful and comfortable life in a thriving community and three healthy adult children. But appearances can be deceiving. Newlywed Suhani is a successful psychiatry resident, but trouble lurks beneath the surface of her marriage as her past comes back to haunt her in a way that jeopardizes both her personal and professional lives. Middle chil I received What a Happy Family as part of a Goodreads giveaway. The Joshis, an Indian-American immigrant family living in Atlanta, seems to have it all: a successful and comfortable life in a thriving community and three healthy adult children. But appearances can be deceiving. Newlywed Suhani is a successful psychiatry resident, but trouble lurks beneath the surface of her marriage as her past comes back to haunt her in a way that jeopardizes both her personal and professional lives. Middle child Natasha struggles to find her place in the world; always the fish out of water, she rejects a proposal from a family friend and her childhood sweetheart and quits her job to unsuccessfully pursue a career in comedy. Baby of the family Anuj is outwardly easygoing but seeks to find a balance between love for his family and finding his own voice and path in life. Meanwhile, mother Bina must reconcile her turbulent past with the wife and mother she's become, and the woman she wants to be now that her children are grown. When crisis hits, however, the family must face its collective ghosts and rally together to support on of their own. This was a lovely read, capturing the complex emotions that accompany family dynamics, particularly those of immigrant families. I'm a white woman, so I found it interesting to compare and contrast my own family relationships with those of the Joshi siblings. I liked that the book left some loose ends, as that's how those relationships are--long lasting and never completely resolved. I'll say that at some points the dialogue does feel a little bit like it's addressing the audience rather than representing the way people actually talk, but on the whole it was a really engaging and enlightening read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Naveed Hussain

    I'm very disappointed in this book, since "Well-Behaved Indian Women" was my favorite book of 2020. I will be fair and give both positives and negative below. PROS: - good descriptions of Gujarati family dynamics, and appropriate cultural references - interesting descriptions of Group/Family Therapy. The author clearly has experience with this - Suhani and Roshan have a super interesting dynamic that I wish was explored further. Suhani is (in my opinion), the most interesting character CONS: - this b I'm very disappointed in this book, since "Well-Behaved Indian Women" was my favorite book of 2020. I will be fair and give both positives and negative below. PROS: - good descriptions of Gujarati family dynamics, and appropriate cultural references - interesting descriptions of Group/Family Therapy. The author clearly has experience with this - Suhani and Roshan have a super interesting dynamic that I wish was explored further. Suhani is (in my opinion), the most interesting character CONS: - this book is the epitome of "Telling, not showing." We are told a lot of things about the characters directly rather than organically learning those ideas through the characters' actions - too many characters. The core family is well-fleshed out, but the millions of aunties seem unnecessary and take time away from further developing the main characters - The constant references to celebrities are distracting. Some characters look like celebrities (Zack is like Andy Samberg), and others want to be like celebrities (Natasha wants to be Mindy Kaling, etc.). This seems like a crutch rather than having characters with fleshed out descriptions and motivations - Natasha is super unlikable as a protagonist. I understand her struggles but I realize why her family is fed up with her antics. She probably has undiagnosed Borderline Personality Disorder since she has chronic feelings of emptiness, mood swings, unstable relationships, etc. - The Roshan plotline seems like it could have been its own book. The issues with domestic violence, pregnancy, etc. are really interesting and are only cursorily mentioned. I would have much preferred a book where Suhani was the protagonist dealing with these issues, and Natasha was an annoying side character - Zack is too "perfect" and it's not believable - The "Chats over Chai" fiasco is so overblown. It's a glorified kitty party group with a bunch of aunties gossiping, and I can't imagine Bipin wasting so much of his precious time on tearing down such an insignificant gathering I respect what the other tried here, with plotlines about mental health, residency, Indian families, therapy, and other ideas, but it seems too overstuffed for a small novel. I hope the author focuses in on a few key issues and dedicates her next novel to fleshing them out rather than trying to do too much.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Shazia Khan

    "She hates how much of her identity is tied to being accepted by the people she loves. It reminds her of her first years in America. Back then, Bina spent so much time wondering when she'd finally feel like she belonged. Now, she wishes she could tell her younger self to focus less on wanting to belong with others and more on believing in herself" - Saumya Dave I will start off by saying @saumyajdave is a very talented author, a psychiatrist and mental health advocate and an incredibly kind perso "She hates how much of her identity is tied to being accepted by the people she loves. It reminds her of her first years in America. Back then, Bina spent so much time wondering when she'd finally feel like she belonged. Now, she wishes she could tell her younger self to focus less on wanting to belong with others and more on believing in herself" - Saumya Dave I will start off by saying @saumyajdave is a very talented author, a psychiatrist and mental health advocate and an incredibly kind person. I have so much respect for her and for the conversations she has started about how there is a place out there for South Asian stories. This book is introduces us the Joshi family. Bina and Deepak immigrated to America decades ago and have three children: Suhani, Natasha and Anuj. They are well known in the desi community and from the outside seem to be the ideal happy family. But a family scandal ends up revealing just how much each family member is suffering alone and how much they need to heal together as a family. This book felt like a therapy session. You can tell it's written by someone who is passionate about mental health. The story explores what it's like to be the child of immigrant parents. I found this to be very relatable. There was actually something relatable for me with each of the female characters: Bina exploring the end of long friendships, Suhani's perfectionism and exhaustion in the health care field and Natasha's dream to do what she loves (her story resonated with the writer in me). I feel like any reader can find something to relate to in this story. I love that this book focuses on mental health within South Asian families. I like the way the family was depicted and how the author shows us how important communication is within a family and a community. How being vulnerable can strengthen family ties and save lives. My favourite characters ended up being Bina and Suhani. I think I related to Suhani the most, but Bina is my Queen. I also really loved Zack. My heart ached for Natasha and every character. They began feeling so real to me, which is a mark of a brilliant author

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sheela

    I really wanted to love this book. It discusses impactful issues concerning mental health, especially in the SA community and I particularly enjoyed the narrative from the mother which is often ignored in this genre - we always hear the perspective from the children of immigrant parents and how it affects their life but not entire chapters from the parents themselves, especially those who suffer from real issues that are most often neglected or brushed aside in our community (post-partum depress I really wanted to love this book. It discusses impactful issues concerning mental health, especially in the SA community and I particularly enjoyed the narrative from the mother which is often ignored in this genre - we always hear the perspective from the children of immigrant parents and how it affects their life but not entire chapters from the parents themselves, especially those who suffer from real issues that are most often neglected or brushed aside in our community (post-partum depression, anxiety, distinctly those in older women). A lot of the wisdom, anecdotes and issues were reminiscent of my life and the people in it (trying to find an identity outside of the house, the pressure on kids of immigrant parents to embrace two cultures) but overall, the content wasn't ground breaking. I've read it all before, just different versions - the only contrast is this novel took tough topics (like attempted suicide, depression and abuse) and didn't try to make it an afterthought like a ton of other books do - the mental health discourse WAS the main narrative and the storylines followed along those lines. The writing was not a style I particularly liked either. The author herself is a psychiatrist and so the writing was very technical/medical but not in a unique or interesting way. It sounded like sentences from CBT worksheets - maybe someone who isn't in the field may be convinced but to me, the symptoms the author lists for each character are so transparently from a psychological screening. It made the characters a bit one dimensional. I also didn't really love the style - I just don't like when each chapter is a different character's perspective. In order to do that, each character has to be STRONG and I didn't think that was the case. Additionally, when you format your book this way, you limit the interactions each character has with each other and the stories feel choppy. Overall, the book was worth reading for its important issues.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Stacy40pages

    What a Happy Family by Saumya Dave. Thanks to @berkley and @netgalley for the e-Arc ⭐️⭐️⭐️ The Joshi’s are an Indian-American family living in the suburbs of Atlanta. When a family scandal shows the community they aren’t as perfect as they seem, the family needs to rely on each other. This was a good, heartfelt family drama. I really liked the cultural background and how the culture affected the siblings vs. the parents. Every family member was dealing with expectations from each other, yet none What a Happy Family by Saumya Dave. Thanks to @berkley and @netgalley for the e-Arc ⭐️⭐️⭐️ The Joshi’s are an Indian-American family living in the suburbs of Atlanta. When a family scandal shows the community they aren’t as perfect as they seem, the family needs to rely on each other. This was a good, heartfelt family drama. I really liked the cultural background and how the culture affected the siblings vs. the parents. Every family member was dealing with expectations from each other, yet none really were communicating how it was affecting them. This book takes a look at mental health and how it’s at in families from an eastern culture. Despite family members being literal psychiatrists, there was still a “we don’t talk about this in our family” vibe. While I appreciated the characters and what the novel did, I never really connected enough with the story to become heavily invested “She wants to tell them it will be okay eventually. They’ve been through much worse than this. But he knows they aren’t ready to listen. Families break when everyone argues to win, not understand. So that’s what he’ll do.” What a Happy Family comes out 6/22.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kristine

    Multiple viewpoints from everyone within the Desi family walk us through family struggles, anxiety and depression, the façade of happiness, and the importance of honest communication. The moments of frustration followed by the moments of forgiveness. This book was definitely a trip. Natasha was the central character, and many of the things shared from the rest of the family centered on her. She doesn't think through the consequences of her actions, and she is extremely selfish. She doesn't want t Multiple viewpoints from everyone within the Desi family walk us through family struggles, anxiety and depression, the façade of happiness, and the importance of honest communication. The moments of frustration followed by the moments of forgiveness. This book was definitely a trip. Natasha was the central character, and many of the things shared from the rest of the family centered on her. She doesn't think through the consequences of her actions, and she is extremely selfish. She doesn't want to deal with anything, and she shuts down regularly. In many ways, her part feels extremely immature compared to the rest of the family. The pacing of the book was somewhat off. The first half was a mix of all the family and an introduction to the issues as things unravel, and the second half was focused on Natasha and the family's resolution. Therapy often takes years, and the way that the resolution came so quickly felt disingenuous. All this is to say, I liked it, and it had good bones, but it also could have been so much more.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sasu Kayem

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I loved it. I have to go backwards on this book to process it. Towards the very end of the book the whole family goes to therapy (family therapy) and they’re all able to talk to each other about their own thing that had such on effect on one another unknowingly… does that make sense? Even though the situations on this book aren’t the same, it’s hard NOT to make comparisons with my own family. If only we’d done that as a family, we’d be in a different place. This whole book paints such good pictur I loved it. I have to go backwards on this book to process it. Towards the very end of the book the whole family goes to therapy (family therapy) and they’re all able to talk to each other about their own thing that had such on effect on one another unknowingly… does that make sense? Even though the situations on this book aren’t the same, it’s hard NOT to make comparisons with my own family. If only we’d done that as a family, we’d be in a different place. This whole book paints such good pictures of relationships a between siblings, children, and couples. Every character grows and changes so much throughout the book. I loved reading (and comparing) about how each of the kids in this family coped and process the manner in which they grew up … and how much their culture and the world they grew up in affected other relationships. This is such a good book to read/enjoy; especially if you don’t have a perfect family but even if you do. It’s a good story if you’re feeling lost or a bit depressed… i loved it

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sophie Armitage

    What I loved was the subject matter with the focus on mental health, stigmas, pressures to confirm, career, fertility, familial relationships exacerbated by the cultural pressures that exist within Indian family culture and how each character represented a different angle within that web of complications and challenges. I think these topics need to become more mainstream in all types of society, especially those that are more stereotypically oppressive so I think Dave is highlighting an importan What I loved was the subject matter with the focus on mental health, stigmas, pressures to confirm, career, fertility, familial relationships exacerbated by the cultural pressures that exist within Indian family culture and how each character represented a different angle within that web of complications and challenges. I think these topics need to become more mainstream in all types of society, especially those that are more stereotypically oppressive so I think Dave is highlighting an important and necessary conversation; one which will make this book a familiar and comforting read that I am sure will make it's readers feel less alone. We need more stories like this, I almost wish this was YA! I particularly related to Natasha's conversation with Karan at Starbucks after he reveals his news: that passage made my stomach squirm with recognition as I felt her pain alive in memories of my own experiences. I did struggle to feel genuinely attached or emotionally invested in the characters and their conclusions which I think was due to frequent changes in narrative perspective. I can see how this provided a multi-dimensional view of one family, but for me this was at the expense of a certain level of character depth I found myself wanting more of. Overall, I couldn't put this down and really enjoyed reading it, thank you for writing and publishing it!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Thanks to Berkley and NetGalley for the e-galley in exchange for my review. What a Happy Family is the story of the Joshi family. Author Saumya Dave’s second novel continues the themes from her first: cultural, family, societal expectations and the effect on everyone involved. All are relatable no matter what the reader’s background. My heart went out to matriarch Bina as she endures a humiliation that goes to the core of all she holds important. She only wants the best for her family but at what Thanks to Berkley and NetGalley for the e-galley in exchange for my review. What a Happy Family is the story of the Joshi family. Author Saumya Dave’s second novel continues the themes from her first: cultural, family, societal expectations and the effect on everyone involved. All are relatable no matter what the reader’s background. My heart went out to matriarch Bina as she endures a humiliation that goes to the core of all she holds important. She only wants the best for her family but at what cost? What to do when her daughters make choices that were never considered by her generation. A major topic of the novel, especially in the second half, is depression. When it strikes close to home what does one do? No matter how prepared a person or family is, there’s still the stigma of mental illness. The hope is that it will be faced with courage and faith in the ones closest to them. What a Happy Family is a family drama that had me flipping the pages, completely entertained and wanting to know how things would work out for the Joshis. Recommended to fans of contemporary diverse women’s fiction. And I’m sure wonderful discussion would come from book groups. There are discussion questions at the end.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    This great novel has nailed the intricacies of navigating a family that at its crux deeply wants to love and support each other and yet due to so much pressure from culture, norms, and personal fear around vulnerability, they each suffer in silence until things start unraveling deeply and what feels like irreparably. Their journey to unravel and their journey back to each other are both wonderful to read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Daisy Patel

    Prime example of telling instead of showing. Characters read like DSME entries. Also, I dislike how her books always revolve around very well-to-do Indian families - it perpetuates the myth that all Indians are doctors or children of doctors. The book, at least the first half, flows decently well. It lacks nuance, though.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kari

    Won't be rating/reviewing as I read an early copy for work. Won't be rating/reviewing as I read an early copy for work.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dkbbookgirl

    Wonderful story Strong character development Family drama

  25. 5 out of 5

    M.

    It was a good read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Deepa

    I bookmarked the heck out of this book. It has insights for just about every relationship. It's clear Dave is passionate about psychiatry and mental health. Her writing is effortlessly beautiful--the perfect mix of breezy, and thoughtful. This definitely surpasses WBIW as my clear favorite. I bookmarked the heck out of this book. It has insights for just about every relationship. It's clear Dave is passionate about psychiatry and mental health. Her writing is effortlessly beautiful--the perfect mix of breezy, and thoughtful. This definitely surpasses WBIW as my clear favorite.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tracy Fox

    This is a great book for anyone who has a loud, loving wild family and is trying to find their place in it. The characters are real and relatable and it is a nice, fun read.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Abha

    This book is just so real and really delves into the Indian immigrant story - lack of communication, being honest and open about true internal struggles and mental health issues.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ron Frampton

    A family scandal sends the family on a downward spiral that they must rely on them selfies.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Komal

    I finished this book in a few days - it really drew me in. It covers an Indian immigrant family and their various challenges with mental health, marriage, alternate career choices, parenting, intergenerational influences, culture and family dynamics.

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