Tea for Two and a Piece of Cake

The next time someone mentions the words ‘Best-seller list’ and ‘Indian’, together, run, run, run for your life, and don’t look back. This book is apparently on the Best-seller list (how?), and I stumbled upon the author’s interview in The Hindu (I trusted you, you treacherous slimy bag of newsprint).

So Nisha is plump, ugly, in a low-pay job, has no friends and the coldest father ever. Things can’t get any worse for her, obviously, so she happens to meet business tycoon Samir Sharma, who sweeps her off her feet and then divorces her after eight years and two children. She then ends up reconnecting with her best friend from years ago, who happens to have been in love with her forever. You know how it ends.

The story is admittedly not that terrible, and could have passed for a Mills & Boon-ish novel, but the author fails in the two of the most important departments – the characterization and the language.

Shenoy paints Nisha as such a sad loser that by the end of the first few chapters I could not muster up even a dust mote of sympathy for this fat, lonely, whiny, extremely gullible doormat of a protagonist.

Prashant had taken me to an office party in a Mumbai local train while Samir had taken me to an ultra-posh place in an ultra-posh car.

Hello? So if a sleazy bald middle-aged jerk with a paunch took you to an ultra-posh place (Samir is none of this, FYI), would you marry him? (Answer is yes, girls! This is what we have been subconsciously waiting for all our lives; a posh car!)

I have always tried hard to please him. I have kept our sprawling home immaculately clean. I have never complained about his late-night office parties. Above all, I have been a good wife and a great mother.

Please tell me how this is not sexist and I’ll give you my entire Wodehouse collection.

“Would your mother not want you to have an arranged marriage with a slim, rich girl who matches your family background?” I ask.

What?! Hello, women empowerment, please jump off the 15th floor.

I didn’t get the father’s behaviour either. How can somebody be so completely detached from their child that they don’t even bother about their marriage? Perhaps afraid of answering this question, Shenoy kills him off prematurely. Well done madam, evasive tactics instead of an explanation, just what this book needs.

The language is a whole other world of trouble. Apparently, sentences that stop just short of being terrible are enough to get you published these days.

And what I feel is so darn pathetic is that you have not even realized it.

Oh, Nisha! I am so darn sorry.

I feel so scared and so darn worried.

Who the darn even speaks like this any more?

Maybe I’m being a bit too hard on something that’s not supposed to be taken as serious literature, but really now, can’t publishers ask for a basic standard of writing or set an entrance test or something? Anyway, serves me right for falling for silly Bestseller lists (WHICH best-seller list is this?) in the first place, so dear readers, the next time you feel like buying Preeti Shenoy’s books on the railway platform, remember me, and buy a pastry instead. Always.

Remember, Remember

P.S. This is the 4th book in the Brunch Book Challenge and the first Indian one, so visit me on Twitter @sindbadrose and #BrunchBookChallenge for the challenge.. 🙂

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14 thoughts on “Tea for Two and a Piece of Cake

  1. At BLF this year, I attended a panel with Durjoy Datta, Shenoy, and one more bloke whose name I can’t remember. That is the first time I even heard of Shenoy and that she is the largest selling women author in India. I have been planning to read her just to know. But it is hilarious how all of these people together have this burning envy for Chetan Bhagat and his popularity. He is like the baap that spawned them all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve seen her books on platforms before..didn’t really register until I read the interview..don’t do it! Don’t read!
      Why isn’t Anuja Chauhan the largest selling female author? 😦 I think her marketing is a bit softer..
      Oooh I didn’t know they envy him..Chetan Bhagat writes far better than Shenoy or Datta..I read a bit of Durjoy Datta’s latest though..he seems to have improved quite a bit..
      What was the panel about?

      Like

      1. Yeah, I thought Anuja Chauhan was before I went for the panel which was on something along the lines of Love Sex aur Dhoka in young India. Apparently the young uns are cooking up quite a storm with their quickies and hookups.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!

    ‘Please tell me how this is not sexist and I’ll give you my entire Wodehouse collection.’ 🙂 🙂 🙂

    I’d have bought it for the nice cover, thinking it was about Indian girls-about-town shopping and gossiping.

    Which reminds me, Honoria did a great post on judging books by their cover …

    *pops back* http://www.honoriaplum.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/cover-story-5-people-share-their-ideas-about-classic-novels-theyve-never-read/

    You should definitely be thinking about that column – how about the bye-line – ‘Highly Indignant of Mumbai’ ? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much.. 😀 😀
      If you really like Indian gossip girl types, you must read Anuja Chauhan! Though I think her books are sold only in the subcontinent..
      I almost always judge them wrong.. 😛
      I love the bye-line, thank you.. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hahaha! Brilliant review! I’m so tempted to take up your challenge and try to win that Wodehouse collection but nope – you win! I can’t make that not sound sexist! But if a man was willing to take me for a drive in his posh car AND buy me that cake, well… feminism is over-rated sometimes… 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh no, that’s not what I meant.. 🙂 We have some fabulous authors here..it’s just that the ones that are on the Indian bestseller list are not very good..the good authors no one reads, so books like this one become bestselling..doesn’t take much effort to read..that is why I said to stay away from Indian bestseller lists..they’re terrible indicators of talent.. 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, dear, what a disappointment! I don’t have many Indian novels on my TBR at the moment, I loved the (two?) Chetan Bhagats I’ve read but they’re hard to find here. This sounds like one of the silly ones by ?Shoba De? I read years ago when my local library in London had a very diverse book selection. But that was years ago and I don’t remember even those being so anti-feminist in their sentiments!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh that’s nice..Chetan Bhagat is the one who spawned all these campus and love stories here..this is a particularly silly one.. 😛
      I haven’t read any novels by De, but she’s quite a famous journalist here..has her own column and stuff..
      Yeah, these Indian-chick-lit-done-badly are usually unconsciously sexist..you should read Anuja Chauhan if you find any of hers..she does chick-lit and humour really well.. 🙂
      And also Indu Sundaresan, if you like historical fiction.. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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