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Rachel Manija Brown, after returning to America, became the youngest person ever to receive an MFA in playwriting from UCLA. She has written for television, worked in TV/film development for the Jim Henson Company, and has won awards for playwriting, comedy writing, and literary criticism. Her play, Driving Past, ws produced Off-Broadway. This is her first book. She lives in Los Angeles.
Adolescence is never easy, but add a move to a foreign country, immersion in a fringe "spiritual community" and attendance at a school where your classmates throw rocks at you, and it becomes downright disturbing. In this quirky, frank coming-of-age memoir, television writer Brown deftly recounts her childhood spent in an ashram in India in the 1980s, as the only resident child in a community of (mostly) Westerners who worshipped Baba, a self-proclaimed leader of a vague spiritual "way of life." Brown, known to her parents as Mani Mao, spent her days at Holy Wounds of Jesus Christ the Savior School, the recounting of which is initially quite humorous, but soon takes a turn for the worse as readers realize the unending physical and emotional abuse Brown endured due to her foreign status. (A particularly funny scene occurs when Brown returns to India years later and is chased in her car by children who throw rocks. "Had their older siblings passed down the Legend of Mani Mao?" Brown wond