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.
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.. 🙂