By Tina Jordan
October 05, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT

All the Fishes Come Home to Roost

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Horrific childhood: check. Searing, indelible prose: check. Comparison of All the Fishes Come Home to Roost to Augusten Burroughs’ Running With Scissors: check (and it’s richly deserved). At 7, Rachel Manija Brown left behind her friends and Brownie troop in Los Angeles, Calif., when her parents, disciples of guru Meher Baba, moved to an ashram in India. Though she learned the pleasures of ”mapping out the nullahs with a gecko in your pocket,” her years in India were ”permeated by fear”: She was bullied at Holy Wounds of Jesus Christ the Savior School; pelted with rocks by kids outside the convent; subjected to a gauntlet of rats to reach Indian toilets (holes in the floor; no toilet paper); and served meals of ”yellow-green buttermilk curry that looked and smelled like toxic waste.” Brown eventually escaped India and even made a sort of peace with her mother, whose fanaticism had blinded her to her daughter’s plight.

All the Fishes Come Home to Roost

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