Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Adolescence is never easy, but add a move to a foreign country, immersion in a fringe 'spiritual community' and attendance at a school where your classmates throw rocks at you, and it becomes downright disturbing. In this quirky, frank coming-of-age memoir, television writer Brown deftly recounts her childhood spent in an ashram in India in the 1980s, as the only resident child in a community of (mostly) Westerners who worshipped Baba, a self-proclaimed leader of a vague spiritual 'way of life.' Brown, known to her parents as Mani Mao, spent her days at Holy Wounds of Jesus Christ the Savior School, the recounting of which is initially quite humorous, but soon takes a turn for the worse as readers realize the unending physical and emotional abuse Brown endured due to her foreign status. (A particularly funny scene occurs when Brown returns to India years later and is chased in her car by children who throw rocks. 'Had their older siblings passed down the Legend of Mani Mao?' Brown wonders.) While extensive on the depictions of 'Baba,' whom Brown never met nor felt any connection to, this is a poignant memoir that reflects a painful time with wit and insight. Agent, Brian DeFiore. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Reads like a novel and lingers in the mind." --Kirkus review
"Like David Sedaris . . . Brown allows the reader to laugh and wince at the same time."--Library Journal review "One of the fall's most promising memoirs" --USA Today
"Horrific childhood: check. Searing, indelible prose: check. Comparisons to Augusten Burroughs' Running with Scissors: check (and they're richly deserved).
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. Astutely observed and laugh-out-loud funny, this astonishing debut memoir marks the arrival of a major new literary talent.
When she was seven, Rachel Manija Browns parents, post-60s hippies, uprooted her from her native California and moved to an ashram in a cobra-ridden, drought-stricken spot in India. Cavorting through these pages are some wonderfully eccentric characters: the ashram head, Meher Baba, best known as the guru to Pete Townshend of The Who; the librarian, who grunts and howls nightly outside Rachels window; a holy madman, who shuffles about collecting invisible objects; a middle-aged male virgin, who begs Rachel to critique his epic spiritual poems; and a delusional Russian who arrives at the ashram proclaiming he is Meher Baba reincarnated.
Astutely observed and laugh-out-loud funny, All the Fishes Come Home to Roost is an astonishing debut memoir—now available in paperback—and the arrival of a major new literary talent. The hardcover edition was named a Book Sense Pick and was selected as a Book of the Week by BN.coms Book Club.
About the Author
RACHEL MANIJA BROWN, after returning from India, became the youngest person ever to receive an MFA in playwriting from UCLA. She has written for television, worked in TV/film development for the Jim Henson Company, and has won awards for playwriting, comedy writing, and literary criticism. She lives in Los Angeles.