Thursday, November 7, 2013

Blog Tour Interview & Review: Karma Gone Bad

Hello again my lovely followers. You've made it past hump day! Hopefully your week's ending better than it started.

Today, I'm hosting a stop on the blog tour for Jenny Feldon's memoir, Karma Gone Bad: How I Learned to Love Mangos, Bollywood and Water Buffalo. As if getting an advanced copy to review wasn't cool enough already, Jenny was awesome enough to answer some interview questions for Bitches n Prose! Be sure to thank her for stopping by, and be sure to check out Karma Gone Bad. Now, without further ado, Jenny Feldon!


What is your favorite memory from the time that you spent in India?

It's so hard to pick just one! But if I had to...toward the end of our journey, Jay and I rented a houseboat in Kerala, which is one of the most beautiful places in the world and my favorite part of India. We spent days drifting in the backwaters, eating delicious locally grown food, talking to the local residents and just taking everything in. It remains one of the most peaceful and magical trips I've ever taken.

Has your time spent living as an American wife in India inspired, or made you more open minded, to traveling elsewhere in the world?

Yes. I had no idea how close-minded I was until I actually left my own country and got to see some of the world. While we lived in India, we were lucky enough to travel extensively throughout Southeast Asia...Tokyo, Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul, Bangkok and Bali were among the trips we made. Every place we visited revealed such incredible treasures of sights and culture once I learned how to open my eyes beyond the world I'd grown accustomed to seeing. Having little kids at home has kept us mostly in the US for the past few years, but I can't wait to start roaming the globe again once they are old enough to enjoy it with us! There's a whole lot more of the world I can't wait to see.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to any American who is headed off to India for the first time?

Two words: let go. My own sense of identity and pride, and my expectations about the way things were "supposed" to be, were nearly the kiss of death for my Indian journey. There are definitely plenty of people out there who are better suited to understanding and embracing India than I was when we first arrived, but I've never met anyone who has lived or travelled there that hasn't experienced frustrations and challenges. India is a beautiful, complicated, difficult country. Letting go of expectations and taking each moment as it comes is so important. Also, ditch the malaria pills, stock up on Odomos when you arrive, and learn to say "No, thank you" in both Hindi and the regional dialect. Good manners go a long way in any country, and you'll use that expression a LOT :)

What American object or comfort did you miss the most while you lived overseas? What is one thing about the states that you DIDN'T miss?

I hate to admit it, but I missed Starbucks more than anything! I know, I shouldn't really be all that important. But for me, it was part of my identity, not just the caffeine addiction but the comfort of the rituals around it--the warmth of the cup in my hand, settling in for a few stolen moments with a book or a manuscript, the delicious sense of luxury surrounding such a simple thing. What I didn't miss about life in the States was the great big rush that permeated everything in New York City. Everyone was always in a hurry, dodging each other on the sidewalk, shoving to get off a subway car, yelling instructions rapid-fire at an employee behind the counter of the corner deli. At first the slow pace in India drove me nuts, but I soon realized how much more civilized (and less stressful!) life can be without that constant sense of urgency. Life goes by at the same pace whether we're trying to force more minutes into a day or not.

Was making the leap from a blogger to a novelist harder/easier than you expected it to be? How so?

I never intended to be a fact, I started blogging so long ago it wasn't even a verb! I was in graduate school studying to be a fiction writer, and I never thought I'd be anything but that. I started my first blog as sort of a writing exercise, a way to free my mind after spending long days reading (and trying to write) literary novels. Later, after years of blogging being the only medium I worked in, sitting down to write the first draft of Karma Gone Bad was really, really challenging. I was used to short, episodic essays--snippets of life that were meant to stick to the point, wrap up quickly, and be digested in short bursts. Writing narrative requires so much more structure, foresight, and what I like to call "weaving"...everything can't be resolved by the end of a few paragraphs. There needs to be an arc, a big picture. I feel very fortunate to be honing my skills at both blogging and traditional narrative--neither is easy, but they are both wonderful ways to tell a story.

Some authors need to be sitting in a certain spot or be drinking a certain flavor of coffee when they write. Do you have any quirky things that you do while you write?

Nope. Writing with two small kids at home means I write whenever I can, wherever I such luxury as choosing the specifics! Coffee, however, is essential for my daily existence whether I'm writing or parenting, so I guess you could say I need coffee to write. And run errands, and play Candyland, and breathe...

Let's say that Karma Gone Bad gets optioned as a movie RIGHT now, and you get a vote- who would you cast as the main players in your life in India?

My two favorite characters in the book are Venkat, my driver, and my dear friend Anjali. In my dream of dreams, they'd be played by Dev Patel and Freida Pinto, both of whom I think are perfect for the roles! Anna Kendrick would make a great Alexis, and maybe Chris Hemsworth for Peter. And I can't even imagine who would play Jay and I, it seems like such a crazy thing to think about!

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me! Now, here are my thoughts on Karma Gone Bad!


Title: Karma Gone Bad: How I Learned to Love Mangos, Bollywood and Water Buffalo
Author: Jenny Feldon
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: November 5th 2013
Source: Netgalley & Sourcebooks


Four stars.

"Karma Gone Bad" is Jenny Feldon's memoir on an upper class American woman moving across the world to India when her husband gets transferred for work. From Manhattan to Hyderabad, the coffee addicted New Yorker learns about the world one adventure at a time, with equal parts of humor, sadness, and self-realization.


This book was a great read from cover to cover. I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised.

Why surprised, you may ask? Because Jenny is hilarious. I read this book during a train ride, and I felt like an idiot for laughing out loud. And it happened more than once. Despite the fact that I am most definitely not a Manhattanite, I sympathized with her throughout the text. There were more emotions drawn out besides humor. Fear, confusion, and depression are also present within this book, and I felt like this depth gave Jenny a very honest and relatable voice.

As someone who wants to travel, and for whom India is a top location to visit in the future, I also appreciated the chance to learn from her experiences. Like for instance, how American foods are not necessarily abundant everywhere and I may have to hip check someone for a bag of tortilla chips. Or, just how different transportation and manners are in India versus America. Those who have traveled in the past (and have had their share of blunders) as well as those who wish to will both appreciate this memoir.

The detail that went into this memoir was pretty amazing. I felt like I was in the house with the author, and was sharing her shenanigans. I have read other travel memoirs that read like a simple narcissistic, monotonous narration, and that is definitely NOT the case for Karma Gone Bad! It reads like a quick paced fiction, except that it actually happened. That sounds kind of weird, but it's the only way to really explain it. It almost seems too.... Much to be real, but I totally believe that it is.

Karma Gone Bad is a book that takes books like Eat, Pray, Love and mashes them against Sex in the City for a thought provoking, fascinating, yet hilarious story of a woman's move to India. I think that everyone can take something away from this book, and recommend it to everyone, but especially travelers and travelers at heart.

Thank you to Netgalley and Sourcebooks for my copy!

Follow the Tour!

Blog Tour Schedule

3-Nov- Withered Papyrus
4-Nov- Figuring Out 40
5-Nov-Edible Garden
6-Nov- A Bookish Way of Life
7-Nov- Bitches n Prose
8-Nov- We Said Go Travel
10-Nov- Salt and Nectar
11-Nov- Laura Rossi
12-Nov- Baby Zone
14-Nov- Back ‘n Groove Mom
15-Nov- Bookshipper
16-Nov- House of Prince
17-Nov- The Top Shelf
19-Nov- Perfectly Disheveled
20-Nov- These Little Waves
21-Nov- Alexandra Wrote
22-Nov- Practical Parenting


  1. I haven't heard of this but it sounds like it was a great read. So glad you enjoyed it and it actually made you laugh out loud. Books that can do that are the best, even if it is a little embarrassing!

    1. It's a great read if you enjoy books like Eat, Pray, Love. It was a very pleasant surprise!