The last time I remember writing a book review was for a school assignment – and not one I enjoyed very much. The thing is, I can’t type out things like “I love books” and “reading is my hobby” – it just sounds silly to me because reading is, well, a lot like breathing. You don’t think about breathing do you? (at least I hope not, it’s not very ‘normal’ but hey not judging!). But hold your breath for 30 sec to know what I mean. Now reviewing a book on the other hand requires thought, and I mean responsible thought. Although I am not deluding myself that this review is what will get someone to pick up or not pick up the book, it is a huge responsibility critiquing someone’s hard work. And it doesn’t make it any easier if you happen to have met the author (Yashodhara Lal) and found her a warm, witty, totally charming person. So trying hard to stay objective, here goes another ‘first’ (you can find the ‘original’ list of ‘firsts’ here if you’re interested – but before that read the review!).
Irritatingly, anything I read about the book starts off mentioning that the author is a blogger – and that too the HR department of them all – a mommy blogger. So what? I mean how is it anyway related to the book? Unnecessary detail, and all it does is create an impression of “oh god another blogger conned someone into believing that their scribbling is worth publishing” – and which is a total injustice to the book. Thankfully I had not read her blog earlier, and didn’t have any pre-conceived ideas about the book – it was new ground to me and that worked. I advise anyone planning to give the book a shot also to keep an open mind – you will be in for a surprise. Also, don’t get daunted by the name (this is for the people who rolled their supercilious eyes when I mentioned it to them) – it is my least favourite thing about the book. If catchy was the aim, it worked as a sales pitch, but after reading the book you realise the name doesn’t do justice to what is, in a nutshell, a delightful read – and not a soppy chic-lit.
Ok now you’ve probably got to the point you want to strangle me for mentioning everything but my opinion about the book. So here’s what I liked best about this very refreshing read about getting married and all the jazz that goes with it – it is surprisingly, startlingly, gratifyingly honest and funny. And when I say funny, I mean seriously hilarious. Sure, there are one or two parts which might be ‘trying a little hard to get a laugh’, but by and large the author’s deadpan humour (and the so-crazy-its-real incidents) will have you in splits. There were times when I actually laughed out loud, startling the husband out of his laptop-induced haze (no mean feat I assure you). Anybody will identify with the emotions the characters go through – and especially married folks will find many moments where you feel “been there! how did she know?”. The repartee between Y (the wife) and V (the husband) sparkle with wit. Ok, Y sparkles, V is just endearing – like most couples I know! The book will cement your belief in one of my favourite quotes “We read to know we are not alone”.
I will just applaud one part here since don’t want to give away spoilers – but in a country/society/world where ‘motherhood’ is glorified to the point of pukedom and every new mom believing herself to be Mother India Part II, it was brilliant to see someone articulating the apprehensions and seamy (ok not exactly seamy, lets say ‘non-rosy’) side of it also, especially for a young working person. That you do ‘give up’ things (and I don’t mean just social life, but your identity also in a big way, and your relationship with your spouse also changes significantly), is brought out without any ‘gyan’ or smug pretention. I’ve purposely mentioned ‘gyan’ here and I will say, I am not a fan of so-called “Hinglish” (I even hate the word) – I would have been happier if the book didn’t have Hindi words thrown in now and then – you know keep the English pristine and pretty for the queen. But I would be nitpicking if I said that’s a ‘flaw’, and I guess it gets the attention of ‘Hinglish speaking’ (or should it be ‘Hinglish-reading?’) folks, so keep up with the times or get left behind!
There are many very ‘real’ life truths couched in humour in the book which carry it far above the casual ‘love story with twists’ – but stop piggybacking on me and go buy it already will you?? It’s very affordably priced at Rs 199 (and even cheaper on Flipkart) so you really have no excuse. It is easily one of the most entertaining books I have read in recent times.
Oh and then come back here and tell me how you liked it!