Book Review: The Milk Lady of Bangalore by Shoba Narayan

Narayan-Milk_Lady_Bangalore_REV_10_20.inddThe Milk Lady of Bangalore: An Unexpected Adventure
Shoba Narayan
9781616206154, hardcover, $24.99, Pub. Date: January 23, 2018

Publisher’s Description: When Shoba Narayan, a writer and cookbook author who had lived for years in Manhattan, moves back to Bangalore with her family, she befriends the milk lady, from whom she buys fresh milk every day. These two women from very different backgrounds bond over not only cows, considered holy in India, but also family, food, and life. After Narayan agrees to buy her milk lady a new cow (she needs one and Narayan can afford it, so why not?), they set off looking for just the right cow. What was at first a simple economic transaction becomes something much more complicated, though never without a hint of slapstick. When Narayan starts dreaming of cows, a little Ayurvedic medicine is in order. (Cow urine tablets, anyone?) When Narayan offers her surprised neighbors fresh cow’s milk, we learn about the place of milk in Indian culture. When Narayan wants a cow to bless her house, the spiritual and historical role that cows play in India is explored.

In this charming true story about two women and the animal they share, readers are treated to an insider’s of view of India. The Milk Lady of Bangalore is also a window into our universal connection to food and its sources, the intricacies of female friendship, and our relationship to all animals.

WildlyRead Shelftalker: Charming and informative! After 20 years in NYC, Shoba moves her family back to her native India where she befriends her local milk lady. As Shoba becomes increasingly obsessed with cows, milk, and other cow by-products she takes us on a journey of self-discovery and milk-discovery. Most interesting was Shoba’s exploration of her own culture. India is a fascinating mix of urban and rural, where generations, technology, and expectations blend together in a different way for each family. Shoba shares her personal and family story. I will never look at a bottle of milk the same way again!

WildlyRead Thoughts: I loved Shoba’s honesty. She really pulls no punches, whether she’s examining her own thoughts and motives of those of her countrymen and women. It was refreshing and enlightening, and I admire her greatly for being able to both be within the experience and write about it was that type of detached overview. Very well worth the read! I’m hoping to follow it up with Milk by Mark Kurlansky, to round out my new area of expertise.

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