Tag Archives: Chick-lit

Book Review of “The Sari Shop Widow” by Shobhan Bantwal

The Sari Shop Widow

By Shobhan Bantwal

Shobhan

When the book reached me I wanted to start it at that very moment. There was something about the cover that caught my attention. From the time I turned the pages there was no stopping. At least for quite a bit of the 360-page book.

The main protagonist, Anjali Kapadia, an American-Indian, is a widow who runs her parents sari shop “Silk & Sapphires”. Their exquisite tasteful collection is devoured by most but with the rising competition and building recession, bankruptcy is round the corner for the Kapadia family. Strange how the folks running it don’t realize it until the last minute, and thus look to seek help.

To save their face and their shop, Anjali’s father calls his brother – Jeevan Kapadia, a rich/wealthy businessman from India. When he comes visiting to evaluate the business, he brings his business partner along – Rishi Shah – a complete charmer. With hidden motives none-the-less.

Though Anjali and her mother don’t trust this grey-eyed British Indian, there is something that draws Anjali to him all the more. An empowering attraction that captures her. But what she doesn’t know is a secret that unveils to shake-n-stir them all.

Though the plot of the book is fairly predictable (at least it was for me), the characters stand out with their unique personalities. The premise of the story has it all – love, culture, trust, hope, despair, sex, betrayal, courage, etc. The writing seemed quite effortless and flow- just right.

The characters have depth. Most readers are sure to find a connect with Anjali, or empathize with her.

Though glimpses of life in New Jersey, through Anjali’s story, seemed a bit predictable, the way Anjali has a fling with Rik, her “no-strings-attached” sexual escapades with him, her (fatal) attraction towards Rishi, her loyalty to her sari shop, her undying love for Vik (her late husband), her encounter with Rishi (and his girlfriend) – made the story quite interesting (for those who like chick-lit/romance genre).

The climax, yes, ended a bit abruptly. It could use a little more depth (just like the story overall).

The author brings out the colours (of culture and her characters) quite well. There’s drama, humour, emotions, love, and yes- a bit of senseless entertainment, all mixed well to make it a yummy “masala” read.

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Book Review of “Bringing Up Vasu: The First Year” By Parul Sharma

Bringing Up Vasu: The First Year

By Parul Sharma

The story opens with the protagonist (Mira) stepping out of the hospital with her first-born –Vasu. She is confident about her capabilities as a mother – given that she has attended all the pre-natal sessions; is geared up with her postnatal planning; read all the books on parenting that one could; and most importantly – she feels she has expert advice from Rhea – her friend.

But no sooner that she gets home and starts being a “mom” that she realizes, that theory and practicality are two different things – 

and having a baby is no simple task!

Then begins a full-fledged roller-coaster ride in Mira’s life.

The endless baby poos; regular baby feeds; irregular sleeping time; lack of energy; losing out on career; losing out on her nanny; struggling with the weight gain; not having mommy dear around in time of crisis; it’s like Murphy’s Law stalking her (everything that has to go wrong does go wrong with her!).

From being worked up about getting Vasu admitted into a coveted playschool Teddy Footprints to juggling between her woes with family, friends and self, how Mira goes through this phase of life (bringing up Vasu) is worth reading.

I think most working women will be able to relate to this one. Kid or no kid – the career oriented ones will know what it feels to see another colleague getting promoted over oneself; or how it is when a maid deserts you in the middle of life.

More so, the book offers a sneak-peak in to the life of a “new” working mother who undergoes an upheaval of mood-swings and emotions – a part and parcel of mom-dom.

The book is utterly funny. Her hen-pecked husband Anand who is so understanding and funny in his conversations (unknowingly), overtly caring mother, and wacky friends bring in a lot of drama and humor. The characters are so relatable and real that it feels like part of life you’ve witnessed at some point being re-enacted through words.

The pace is good and the plot quite rich. The writing style is simple, punchy, effective and definitely unique.

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Book Review of “Can’t Die for Size Zero” By Vrushali Telang

Can’t Die for Size Zero

Vrushali Telang

This is a totally humorous yet candid take on a large-sized girl’s attempts at losing weight.

30-year-old Joyeeta Naik, the protagonist, is a middle class Mumbai girl who works and lives in the city alone. She is single, “big” girl, with no boys/men in her life, and no career to boast of. She writes for a newspaper supplement – The Buzz of the Biz and it ain’t no big guns.


Her best friend Lara offers to fix her up for an appearance on a televised makeover show, and Joyeeta gets more conscious and bothered about her weight. She decides to surprise her family and friends and colleagues by revamping her image.

Out goes the obese Joyeeta and in comes a diva from the glossies whose weight loss journey is marked by many trial and error methods. New fancy diets and excruciating workout regimes – just so that she can be more confident and love her body. (Un)fortunately, Joyeeta is a true foodie and loves her occasional beer sips. There comes in a point where the reader can sense that Joyeeta is losing her basic self.

What follows is an interesting account of Joyeeta’s new life around (ex) boyfriends, friends, tailors, colleagues, parties, and a hoard of incidents (revolving around food) that make you laugh out loud.

Oh the connection between movies and food is strikingly well put. Haven’t we all felt like grabbing the same kind of food that we’ve seen actors eat in the movie? I always have.

And the rightful love/respect for beer is just hands-down perfect. Discussions amongst friends about love, life, sex etc. are brilliantly put and they never feel vulgar or forced.

Their (mis)adventure during the trek is an absolutely hilarious read.

The book addresses not just the weighty issues but the support friends and food provide to an individual.

It is a fun, witty, bold and, rather appetizing tale of the large-sized and large-hearted Joyeeta. It is hilarious, and is written in simple unpretentious language. The characterization is done darn well and you begin to care for Joyeeta and relate to her in many ways.

Looking at the cover page you might feel it is a clichéd subject to read. Yes, to a certain extent it is. But the way it is delivered is what I’m hinting at. The book goes beyond the usual concept to explore what happens to those who are not a size zero. It is a hilarious and poignant tale on how it feels to be an XXL size in an age that worships size Zero. The whole concept has received so much attention in the last few years that one begins to wonder about how it impacts those who sit on the other side of the fence. It is much more than being healthy. The book aims to be more about food and fashion; about men and marriage. It reflects sexual liberation.

Some food for the body and some for the soul. Overall, pure entertainment.

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Book Review of “Losing My Virginity and Other Dumb Ideas” by Madhuri Banerjee

Losing My Virginity and other dumb ideas

Madhuri Banerjee 

This, I won’t call a chick-lit but more of a, mirror of our society today is worth a read.

The story is about a 30-year old, single, intelligent, smart, urban girl – Kaveri, who unable to hitch with the “right guy” till now decides to go ahead and lose her virginity (with or without love). She is a freelance interpreter who knows seven languages (!!!) but the language of love. *sigh*

In her desperation to “do it” she is assisted/guided by her friend – Aditi.

Kaveri makes a resolution on her 30th birthday to lose her virginity at least, if she can’t find her “love”. Enter Arjun – a smart, intelligent, art lover, well travelled, hot guy. Oh and married! But Kaveri believes that this is “true love” and she pursues it in the hope that Arjun will divorce his wife to be with her.
But yes, the twist falls right in place and Arjun announces that his wife is pregnant and cannot leave her.  Heartbroken Kaveri realizes her folly and tries to regain control of her life. Following Aditi’s advice that to get over a man, she needs to get going with another man, in a systematic manner effortlessly, Kaveri ends up “doing it” in a hot air balloon with a younger guy; followed by another “no-strings-attached” adventure; and yet another “quickie” in a café; to finally stumble upon the possibility of a romance on the streets of Barcelona.

In her journey with a lot of highs and lows, Kaveri discovers her sensuality; gets her heart broken; becomes a minor celebrity of sorts after participating in a reality-based contest; and gets caught in the middle of the tough war of love vs. sex.

The story resonates with the lives of quite a few modern Indian women – who in the quest to make it big in their careers give no space to “love” as such and end up satisfying their mere sexual needs with different partners, only to realize sooner or later that “love” cannot be ruled out of life.

Kaveri’s principles and ideas are revamped and molded to suit her needs and desires.

This is no chick-lit with a deep, profound message. It just shows a part of life in the metros. But certain questions do pop up in my mind. Given the fact that Kaveri is living a good life in a metropolitan city with many male friends, why is that she hasn’t found a single guy to settle down with till now? Yes, I’m sure there is dearth of nice/good guys but come on…not one!?!

The premise of the plot sure is good, but the consistency wasn’t maintained. Some parts of the book felt lose while some were absolutely gripping.

The subject is a brave and a bold one and the author has done a fine work portraying the life of a 30-year old virgin in today’s time, who gives in to her needs/desires, though rampantly.

Overall a very enjoyable and entertaining read, given the freshness and the simplistic approach by the author.

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Book Review of “Love @ Facebook” By Nikita Singh

Love @ Facebook

Nikita Singh

Well, here we go. Another “chick-lit” by a young Indian author.

And this time the author ropes in Facebook too!

Sweet!!!

So this is about a bored teenager, Vatsala, who ends up falling in “love” with a VJ – after having seen him on TV and then hunting him on FB (it’s amazing what all and who all we can find on FB!).

A few messages they exchange – blatantly flirting and generating interest – to end up being almost “obsessed” by each other.

Vatsala’s friends Janavi and Ankit can’t do much to help. And Ankit’s “love” for Vatsala usually ends up being unnoticed.

“Come on! Like wasn’t that natural. I mean Hello! She’s all “goo goo gaa gaa” about the hot-shot VJ. Talking about him day and night. How do you think she’s going to notice your gestures?”

You see, that’s the tone I felt in the dialogues while reading the book.

It’s like hearing teenagers having a conversation with a friend. And the “yuppy” ones.

I know the ideation is quite nice and the flow very easy, there is humor and a bit of maturity (hidden somewhere) but maybe I was expecting more. Oh! I forgot the author is just about 19 or so! Oh ok then…this book is just fine.

It’s nice to see Nikita’s ideation of using the FB tool to develop the story around it. It sure is a fact nowadays. Quite a bit of stuff happens on FB.

*But I wonder why some people on other sites have used the “defence” way already while writing reviews for this book?

As of today, not many writers think of adding literary value in their work – and somehow even I’ve stopped expecting the same from them, so why go “defending” it. It’s a personal opinion. Some people like it. Some don’t. Why prick them?? I wouldn’t really expect “you” to like Shakespeare, now would I ?!

Anyways, other’s who have chanced to stumble upon this one, wait for a friend to buy it so that you can “borrow” it and read it. Like I did 😉

Yeah, I invest my money in International authors!

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Book Review of “THE OTHER SIDE OF 30” by R. Y. Swint

THE OTHER SIDE OF 30

– R. Y. Swint

This is one fine read. It is the story of a certain Sebrina Cooper whose life is a bit of a mess after having broken up with her boyfriend – A U.S. Marine Corps recruiter, Curtis. While Curtis moves on in life, Sebrina feels at a loss.

She’s a single lady, on the other side of 30, with an army career and she’s been a good girl all this while. playing by the rules, doing what is “right”. But things aren’t looking any brighter any more, and thus she decides to take things in her hands and regain control of her life. And now that she is willing to take second chances, she’s ready to risk it all.

She decides to treat herself on her birthday. She walks in to a mall to be greeted by Andra-Lyn, a makeup artist at the MAC counter. A quick-makeover and Sebrina looks like a star.

The two become friends, meet regularly, hang out and share their stories. However, one of these friends has not been very truthful and her secret, if revealed, will destroy their friendship.

Also, Curtis runs into her again at the Military Entrance Processing Station and is overwhelmed with her beauty. Curtis sees an opportunity to have her back in his life, but he has one problem, his fiancé. What route Curtis and Sebrina opt for is for you to find out.

You do feel connected with the characters and the emotions portrayed. You might even hate Sebrina at a certain point in the book. It’s a female’s pov all throughout. And a different one at that.

This book makes you look beyond “right” and “wrong”. Sometimes what we think is “right” may not be so. And we would never know what we end up deciding until we are in a particular situation. Getting judgmental about others is not a wise thing to do. And the book intends to promote that thought.

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Book Review of “Stilettos in the Newsroom” by Rashmi Kumar

Stilettos in the Newsroom

By Rashmi Kumar

The story depicts the journey of a young journalist (Radhika) as she moves up her career ladder, sometimes by “kissing ass” and sometimes by putting her foot down with meeting deadlines and targets.

The book has relatable instances (esp. for budding journalists and for the ones who’ve acquired a position in their publication.) Office politics, bitching and a free flow of verbal venting seems/is real. The way she balances life and career is also well portrayed, though some sections of the story could have been more tightly written.

Cleverly written, the book would’ve captured more attention and fame had the editing been a bit more stringent. (Some places have a mix up of tenses.)

Connecting the past and the present can be dicey, if not presented well. Rashni’s attempt has been good, but can be honed further.

As a reader and a journalist, I’d say the book has scored a well deserved position on the stands.

It opens up the inside world of a publication but with a few (acceptable) loopholes.

After all, such attempts are building blocks.

Overall, a good attempt by Rashmi Kumar.

Cheers!!!

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