Book Review : The House That BJ Built

Blurb View: 

the-house-that-b-j-built-400x400-imae6zqyqg4tnprf“I’ll make my sisters squirm like well-salted earthworms. I won’t sell. Even my jutti wont sell. And if I die na, then even my ghost won’t sell!”

The late Binodini Thakur had been very clear that she would never agree to sell her hissa in her Bauji’s big old house on Hailey Road. And her daughter Bonu, is determined to honor her mothers wishes.

But what to do about her four pushy aunts who are insisting she sell? One is bald and stingy, one is jobless and manless, one needs the money to ‘save the nation’ and one is stepmother to Bonus childhood crush-brilliant young Bollywood director Samar Vir Singh, who promised BJ upon his deathbed that he would get the house sold, divvy the money equally and end all the bickering within the family.

The first word baby Bonu ever spoke was ‘Balls’ and indeed, she is ballsy, bs-intolerant, brave and beautiful.

But is she strong enough to weather emotional blackmail by the spadefull? Not to mention shady builders, wily politicians, spies, lies and the knee-buckling hotness of Samars intense eyes?

Sharply observed and pulse-quickeningly romantic, this is Anuja Chauhan writing at her sparkling best!

Review:

Picking up a book by India’s one of the most popular contemporary authors, Anuja Chauhan, was a mighty task. I hadn’t read her before, but knew that her novel ‘Those Pricey Thakur Girls’ has been adapted into a television show. ‘The House That BJ Built’ is presumably the sequel of Thakur Girls.  The blurb seemed quite grippy with catchy lines and the promise of a ‘joint family’ story. So I began reading the book like unwrapping a lovely glitzy Diwali gift.

Few pages into the story and I was growing a fondness for Bonu. She’s fierce, that’s probably the best adjective to describe her persona. She’s an entrepreneur, in whatever crooked way it might be, and is making her mark slowly into the lives of people she has employed. She lives with Bauji, taking care of him in a huge dilapidated house, with very occasional visits from her four aunts and his hotness, Samar Vir Singh. Now about Samar – he’s the stepson of Bonu’s eldest aunt, and an epitome of hotness, besides being a young filmmaker in Bollywood. The aunts arrive after Bauji’s death, each of them with their kitty of problems and a common cause – to sell the house.

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Book Review : The Vague Woman’s Handbook

Blurb View: 

Image Source: Self

Image Source: Self

At twenty-two, Sharmila Chatterjee has just married her sweetheart of a few years, Abhimanyu Mishra, a somewhat eccentric if handsome, twenty-three-and-a-half-year-old with obscure academic interests and a small fellowship that never arrives in time. They start a household in a tiny rented flat, fending for themselves in the big, bad and very snooty world of south Delhi, with penny-pinching landlords, some romance, and a lot of anxiety.

At fifty-two, Indira Sen is not sure just how she meandered to where she finds herself now. A senior government officer and single mother, she lives with her daughter and three opinionated old people in a rambling house, drives a battered car, and has a history of credit-card-induced-shopaholism. 

The Vague Woman’s Handbook is a story told with equal parts of humour, hysteria ad tenderness, about the sparkling friendship between two women as they hurtle through life and its mini-crises while trading secrets in the art of survival.

Review:

There are a few books which attract you in the first few pages, the words take you under their wings, make a comfortable nest for you to snuggle in and read away. I wasn’t sure if this book was a chick-lit by the cover and blurb, something told me it will be better than that. It did make my journey much better, though. I was transported into a world of vague women whom we encounter closely in our daily lives.

Who are vague women and why did the author write a handbook about them? These women often reside inside us, for a brief period or for a lifetime. They are absent-minded, geographically and directionally challenged, emotional and stubborn people. Now that pretty much sums up nearly most of us. Being somewhat vague myself, I started enjoying the author’s perspectives on the protagonists. The book is about two women, Mil and Indira, as briefed in the blurb. They are like chalk and cheese in their appearances and lifestyles, and yet they share a lot of similar traits which allow them to bond with each other.

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Book Review : Life..Love..Kumbh

Image Courtesy: Google

Image Courtesy: Google

Blurb view:

The story in Life…Love…Kumbh… is told from the perspective of the three main characters- Annant, Agastaya, and Aditi. Their paths cross on January 13, 2010. It is the day before the first of the eleven sacred baths of the Haridwar Maha Kumbh.
The three characters meet each other and exchange their stories. They remember the days gone by and are unsure about what lies ahead.
As the Kumbh Mela draws towards an end, all three of them are thrown into a challenging situation that they have to face. The book then follows their journey as they try and find answers for their personal quests all at the same time – on life, love, and the thirst for knowledge.

Review:

What would you expect from a book about Life..Love and Kumbh? Philosophy, for one. Spirituality, the next, perhaps. The author himself had cautioned that it is a difficult read, which was the main reason I didn’t want to rush through the book. Not having read adequate number of books on Kumbh, and having read arguably one of the best among them (Amrito Kumbher Sandhane, Bangla, by Kaalkut), I had my own expectations. A fellow blogger had joked a few days back about Bengalis reading on all possible topics in Bangla and finding everything else predictable. I wouldn’t argue much. My apologies, if I have rated another book on the same topic higher.

First and foremost, this is one book where I have no complaint with the content, but I was put off by the form. There are typographical and grammatical errors in the first few pages and it continues well beyond. I don’t know if the editors hadn’t touched the manuscript at all. The punctuation is clumsy, too many short sentences are clustered to form a huge one and the reader is bound to get lost at the end of each sentence. I am not fond of such style of writing, it strains my eyes as well as my psyche. Something I didn’t like – an obvious mistake “Ekla Chalo be..”, which would surely irk a lot of people, Bengalis aside. It is also purposefully quite incoherent to extract the essence of chaos. I particularly loved the chapter ‘Morning Snaps’ for its sheer detailing and flavour of the Kumbh. It made me yearn for more chapters of its like, thus reflecting the author’s competence in this genre.

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