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Book Review – Just US Things by Sushmita Malakar

As domestic travel for leisure is yet to open up here in India, we stayed home for the largest number of consecutive weekends at home in years. The good thing is that I have read three books by absolutely new authors this week. “Just US Things” by Sushmita Malakar is one of them. True to its title, the book is about “US things” from the perspective of a new Indian immigrant. Here’s an honest review of this short 58-page ebook which is now downloadable for free on Blogchatter Ebook Library.

About the author and the book

Sushmita in her own words is a “proud Indian living in the United States who decided to work for herself after slogging in the corporate world for five years”. She left her family and a well-settled job in India, to settle in the US with her husband after marriage. In this book, she candidly presents “the daily struggles and existential battles of a new Indian immigrant in the US”.

What I liked about the book

The best thing about the book is that the author is honest and candid about her experiences. The book is filled with useful and eye-opening facts, that many of us who have not settled abroad do not know about. But at no point does the author comes across as a “know-it-all”. It might sound simple, but I have often seen writers of non-fiction or memoirs slipping in the tone. Which brings me to the second-best thing I liked about this memoir.

It’s engaging and relatable. I have never been to the US in my 8-year-long career, let alone being settled there. Neither am I from Uttar Pradesh, which she sometimes alludes to in her memoir. Yet I related to her emotions, cultural shocks, agony, happiness, and excitement. Her unassuming style of writing makes it a breezy read even during office breaks.

This is a must-read for anyone who is planning to shift to the United States either permanently or for a few years. Of course, American movies and serials are part of our lives, which leads us to think it’s familiar territory. Turns out it is not. Let me mention a couple of anecdotes that really stood out for me.

Most of the American serials, especially the new ones on OTT platforms showcase a typical American community being delightfully heterogeneous. We see people of different colors, different countries of birth, different religions staying together, hanging out in groups, etc. So I was surprised to see that’s really not a “normal” in the country. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Another thing that surprised me was the difficulty to make friends in the States. The line where the author says that she put Halloween candies her door on the festival but no one took them, shows this. She is not condescending even when she is pointing out the negatives. Americans are not openly racist or rude, but they are cautious and quite busy with their own lives, she infers. A fair conclusion according to me. 

What can be improved

I might be splitting hairs here, but I think the chapters can be reordered and slightly modified to maintain a flow. Currently, the chapters are in alphabetical order of the titles, which is the chronology in which the posts were published during the A2Z series. The order made sense in the course of the A-Z series, where the challenge itself was to write on a particular alphabet provided. However, for a book, something as crucial as “US Citizenship and Immigration Services” should not wait until the 21st chapter. That’s just my thought here.

So this was my review of the book “Just US Things” written by Sushmita Malakar. I totally recommend it and you can download the book for free here. Blogchatter Ebook Carnival is a fantastic platform for new authors to showcase their work and test the waters before putting up their books on paid platforms. Do check out their amazing library for some fresh content. Yours truly has also published a book in the carnival. It’s called “Postcards from India” and here’s the direct download link for it. Do check it out as well.

While you are at it here are few other “lockdown recommendations” from my side. Enjoy!

  • Amazon Prime – They have come up with some fresh and amazing originals in India. Thappad, Family Man and Panchayat are my top recommendations in that order.
  • Try Amazon Audible – the audiobook free-trial is a great catch. Relax your eyes, and transcend into the world of your novel through an audiobook.
  • Read e-books on Kindle. Don’t have it yet? Order a Kindle online – it’s one of my best purchases ever. 
  • Check out the huge repertoire of online courses on Udemy. Being from the technology industry, I have recently registered for a Python course for data analysts.


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