Climbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India by Madhur Jaffrey
Madhur Jaffrey is not only an award winning actress, but also the author of 29 cookbooks, which she has been publishing since the year I was born (that's 1973, if you must know). Jaffrey is often recognized for introducing Indian cooking to Americans and this fascinating insight into her childhood helps explain why she is so well suited for that role.
Growing up in a family associasted with both the British Raj and and traditional Hindu culture, Climbing the Mango Trees tells of Jaffrey's struggle to exist simultaneously within these differnt worlds. It is also a great introduction to the politics of mid-twentieth century India, especially leading up to, during and immediately after the country's partition into modern India and Pakistan, which occured in 1947.
In spite of personal struggles faced by Jaffrey and her family, her Indian childhood sparkles with the joy of ripe fruit and magical spices, along with the kindness of family. All together they shape the woman she becomes, bringing grace, beauty and patience to her voice as a writer, actor and teacher.