When Rachel was seven, in the early '80s, her parents whisked her off from America to join an ashram in a backwater town in India. They were followers of Meher Baba, best known for the slogan "Don't worry, be happy". The ashram was populated by holy madmen and unhinged ageing hippies. Rachel was the only foreign child in a 100-mile radius. As if that wasn't enough to contend with, Rachel, the daughter of Jewish Baba-lovers, was bundled off to the Holy Wounds of Jesus Christus the Saviour School, a last vestige of the British Empire staffed by nuns with a penchant for keeping their charges standing in the midday sun until they fainted. Surrounded by adults who were patently mad, and classmates who communicated by throwing rocks at her, Rachel buried herself in comics, tamed the local wildlife and spent a lot of time avoiding her mother. By turns heart-breakingly sad, jaw-droppingly strange and very funny, this is a brilliant memoir of a distinctly odd childhood that makes you splutter with laughter and thank your lucky stars you grew up safely in the suburbs.