'A book for our times – a reminder that respect for women starts at home.’
'Good Indian Daughter is a breath of fresh air. I laughed out loud on page one – a portent for how much this book would make me laugh. Ruhi is a genuinely funny writer but also uses humour throughout to soften the blow of so many other emotions you’ll feel as you read this ... This is a brave book ... Totally engrossing and highly recommended.'
'[Written] really beautifully ... a seemingly light touch in this book revealing something that's very, very powerful.'
'This book left me reeling - for all the right reasons.'
'A love letter to the child she was, a reckoning with trauma, and a promise to her own daughter – Ruhi Lee’s memoir made me laugh hard and then catch my breath with hurt.'
'Absorbing from the first page ... fierce and intelligent ...'
'This is a courageous, unflinching and ultimately redemptive account of the terrible cost of being a good Indian daughter.'
'... deeply personal, intensely relatable, often hilarious and ultimately joyous.'
'...funny and moving...yet also has moments of discomfort in which you interrogate your assumptions and boundaries.’
'I chuckled, I laughed, I teared up, I cried ... Every Indian “disappointing” daughter must read this one!'
'Warm and wry, with moments of crackling beauty; Ruhi Lee writes with humour and grace.'
'Almost every desi young woman can associate with the stories and experiences of navigating her traditional parents and her own modern liberal perspectives towards life. It's a must-read for a laugh and a little nostalgia.'
Long before Ruhi fell pregnant, she knew she was never going to be the ‘good Indian daughter’ her parents demanded. But when the discovery that she is having a girl sends her into a slump of disappointment, it becomes clear that she’s getting weighed down by emotional baggage that needs to be unpacked, quickly.
Ruhi sets herself a mission to deal with the potholes in her past before her baby is born. Delving into her childhood in suburban Melbourne, she draws a heartrending yet often hilarious picture of a family in crisis, beset by unspoken trauma and struggling to connect across generational, cultural and personal divides. How can she hold on to the family and culture she has known and loved her whole life when they are the reason for her scars?
Good Indian Daughter is a brutally honest yet brilliantly funny memoir for anyone who’s ever felt like a let-down.
[This book is authored by Sneha Lees under the pseudonym, Ruhi Lee.]
PRAISE FOR GOOD INDIAN DAUGHTER
Good Indian Daughter is a breath of fresh air. I laughed out loud on page one – a portent for how much this book would make me laugh. Ruhi is a genuinely funny writer but also uses humour throughout to soften the blow of so many other emotions you’ll feel as you read this.
Right throughout this smart, fiercely honest memoir, you understand what is at stake for Ruhi. In a culture where the sacrifices parents make weigh heavy and daughters are meant to be compliant, the publication of this book is anything but. This is a brave book. However, it is not a rejection of culture or family, but rather an exploration of how Ruhi can pass the privilege of all this on to her daughter – without the pain. Hers is the story of so many Australians born to immigrant parents, who struggle as the expectations of culture clash uncomfortably with their new life. Her exploration of her Indian culture makes for a fascinating and informative reading.
Good Indian Daughter is a brutally honest yet brilliantly funny memoir for anyone who’s ever felt like a let-down. But more than that, it’s a love letter to her child. It is the ultimate show of a mother’s love – one woman’s journey to understand, heal, be better and do better for her own daughter. Totally engrossing and highly recommended.
Reading Good Indian Daughter is anxiety inducing. Not because it’s bad – far from it, it’s excellent – but because it says out loud things that most of us only whisper. It feels like an act of resistance, a declaration of freedom from a woman who is done being “good” for other people … Writing with unflinching honesty alongside compassion and a healthy dose of humour, Lee lays her life bare in the hope that others with similar experiences feel less alone. This is a moving and powerful book that looks at the heavy weight of expectation that pushes down on women and girls, but it’s also simply the story of a women who wants her daughter to have more than she did.
The Big Issue
A brave book. A powerful book.
Hilary Hooper, Life Matters – ABC Radio National
Good Indian Daughter is a courageous memoir by an unapologetic writer who masterfully balances humour with the complexity of cultural conflict and family chaos.
[Written] really beautifully … a seemingly light touch in this book revealing something that’s very, very powerful.
Cassie McCullagh, Focus – ABC Radio, Sydney
Good Indian Daughter is a title that carries a lot of weight, but debut author Ruhi Lee lightens the tone through the clever use of humour, dialogue and story right from the opening line … While the overall tone of the book is fairly light-hearted, Lee seriously questions female autonomy within society … I admire Lee’s bravery in choosing to cement her story on the page, providing a valuable contribution to the written history of Indian women in Australia.
Kill Your Darlings Magazine
This memoir expertly combines humour with darker subject matter, delving into the impact that generational trauma and parental expectations can have on young Indian women growing up in modern Australia. Lee describes the pressure involved in maintaining the “good daughter” image and the ultimate cost of setting boundaries against loved ones. It’s a difficult yet important read, expressing experiences that are both unique to Lee’s own experience, but also universal in how some of them translate.
This book left me reeling – for all the right reasons. A torrent of conflicting emotions oscillating between shock, laughter, rage, resonance, solidarity and awe. Above all else though, gratitude; I am so grateful for Ruhi Lee’s tenacity that has delivered a memoir as hilariously on point as it is at times, horrifying.
Her courage and grit are matched squarely with a wry humour so wickedly timed. Further, Lee’s wordsmithing prowess conquers the complexity of cultural idiosyncrasies of Indian households with a deftness that is pure art. It was impossible to put this book down, and not declare ‘I KNOW, RIGHT!’ numerous times while reading it.
To every desi girl who has felt the struggle of being a good daughter, combating the weight of expectations, self doubt and familial angst, this book will hit home.’
Tasneem Chopra OAM, author, broadcaster and director
Told with humour and a light touch, Good Indian Daughter, by Ruhi Lee, lays bare the experience of growing up in a family and culture that requires its daughters to be dutiful, compliant and silent. It is a story about the intergenerational consequences of those expectations and about one woman’s refusal to continue being ‘good’. Good Indian Daughter is a book for our times – a reminder that respect for women starts at home.
Pip Williams, bestselling author of The Dictionary of Lost Words and One Italian Summer
A love letter to the child she was, a reckoning with trauma, and a promise to her own daughter – Ruhi Lee’s memoir made me laugh hard and then catch my breath with hurt. Unflinching in her examination of herself and her family, Lee tells this difficult story with clever, playful prose and fills it with anecdotes that made me snort with laughter. It is a privilege, as a reader, to be taken deep into Lee’s experiences and past and to understand all the ways in which she both tries to be and rails against the notion of a Good Indian Daughter.
Kate Mildenhall, author of The Mother Fault and Skylarking
This is a courageous, unflinching and ultimately redemptive account of the terrible cost of being a good Indian daughter.
Roanna Gonsalves, author of The Permanent Resident, published in Asia as Sunita De Souza Goes to Sydney
Absorbing from the first page, Ruhi Lee’s Good Indian Daughter lays out the complex expectations of immigrant parents who made sacrifices for the sake of family, yet thwart their children’s attempts to live lives of their own. The laugh-out-loud moments make Lee’s accounts of childhood trauma and her fierce and intelligent observations on Indian culture – particularly with regard to girls and women – all the more powerful as she searches and finds who she really is beneath the guise of the Good Indian Daughter.
Katherine Tamiko Arguile, author of The Things She Owned
Forthright and heartfelt, Good Indian Daughter is a book for anyone who’s ever been a child, for anyone who’s struggled with family expectations, for anyone who needs to do the hard work of setting boundaries and cultivating self-love. Lee’s story is deeply personal, intensely relatable, often hilarious and ultimately joyous.
Ashley Kalagian Blunt, author of How to be Australian and My Name is Revenge
Another important memoir about lives at the convergence and friction between two homes, Good Indian Daughter reflects on identities, history, and what it means to be a brown woman, daughter, and mother. We see Australia and India from Ruhi Lee’s observant and loving yet critical eyes. She gives breath to the past and turns the everyday and the mundane in the present into a curious, exciting story. Good Indian Daughter is funny and moving, and within the first few pages you know you would care about the characters, yet it also has moments of discomfort in which you interrogate your assumptions and boundaries.
Intan Paramaditha, author of Apple and Knife and The Wandering
Warm and wry, with moments of crackling beauty; Ruhi Lee writes with humour and grace. Inside each story of Good Indian Daughter is another story unfurling, memory by memory peeling back to a nugget of truth laid bare.
Emily Clements, author of The Lotus Eaters
Good Indian Daughter is a breezy read that makes you chuckle and nod in agreement. Almost every desi young woman can associate with the stories and experiences of navigating her traditional parents and her own modern liberal perspectives towards life. It’s a must-read for a laugh and a little nostalgia.
Japleen Pasricha, founder & editor-in-chief of Feminism in India
I chuckled, I laughed, I teared up, I cried. A riveting tale of being a good Indian daughter has been carefully and honestly told by Ruhi – a terrific writer! It took my heart back to India and to the love and anxiety it brings that never truly leaves our bodies. Even beyond borders. Every Indian ‘disappointing’ daughter must read this one!
Dilpreet Kaur Taggar, founder & editor-in-chief of South Asian Today