Ladies Coupe

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Author: Anita Nair

ISBN:978-0-141-00595-9

Price: 275INR

Author Website: http://anitanair.net/

The plot is very easy to comprehend. As the title suggests, it’s about the ladies travelling together in one ladies coupe. The journey is made wonderful and thought provoking when these ladies share their till-date spent life with the protagonist Akhilandeswari, 45 -the one who is on a quest of finding out what her life means to herself, where is her life headed and what exactly she wants from it-after all these years of being the ‘man of the family’?

Poignant tales of 5 ladies-Margaret, Janaki, Sheela, Marikolunthu and Prabha Devi-of different ages and background and performing different roles in their lives- lay in front of Akhila from which she picks up some bits and pieces and tries to solve her own jig saw puzzle which is on her mind since a long time now.

What are these ladies going to tell Akhila, which is going to make her confident about her own thoughts and her own decisions which she is unable to take?  Is it going to be something about the woman power? No, it’s all about the woman as an individual herself. Her desires, likes, wants, needs and her own identity.

A power packed novel about woman and her life in different settings-rich-poor, educated-illiterate et al. The best part is this novel doesn’t offer some unwanted ‘gyaan’ or ‘lecture’ to be precise- on what woman should do and should not do. It’s about knowing your inner self. It’s about the human being inside every woman who somehow is left behind or sometimes buried while catering to other’s demands and roles which are dawned upon her.

I think it was a nice read though like every story there are some negatives too but they’re negligible-not to be counted! The down to earth language and some facts that are presented about Hindu culture are also like eye-openers. These are things which we may know but when weaved in a story they create an impact and make sense. I like that way of presentation!

My rating for this book is 4*

 

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My Favourite Wife

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Author: Tony Parsons

ISBN: 978-0-00-727712-4

Price: 325 INR

The tag line on the cover says: How far would you take your family for a better life?

So! It’s about a family, for family and of family. Bill Holden-a successful and ambitious lawyer- with his beautiful wife and best friend-now a housewife- Becca and their lovely 4 years old daughter Holly shift to Shanghai, from London, for a better life, a better future.

There are faces of Shanghai, the original China and the made-up China which are revealed to this family of three in the course of their time spent in the new country.

Something happens back home in London and Becca and Holly have to go. For how long will they be gone? Will they come back to Bill? Is it just going to be a phase or a permanent change in their life? Bill is insecure about this move but Becca is sure that it’s just a phase and they’ll be back in his life, in a short while.

Bill’s life suddenly becomes lonely and he starts feeling left out-clueless. After all he loves his daughter and wife and it was for them, to provide them a better life than what they had in London, that he had taken this plunge of shifting the bases and changing job.

At work, Bill is exposed to a new set of rules of working and he is amazed the way with which the upper rungs are willing to fill in their pocket at the expense of poor and needy. That’s what they call growth and developed country-but for Bill the definition and concepts of laws were different. He gets stuck between need and principles.

Though Becca was sure and she believed that nothing will change in their lives, in their marriage and life will still be like a fairy tale-sadly, life is not a fairy tale always-specially it is least when we expect it to be.

Bill and Becca go through a rough patch in their relationship which brings them to a point where they are to decide whether they want to continue being life partners anymore! It’s tough since they still love each other and they have their daughter to answer to-a 4 year old to be explained why her parents are not going to be together anymore.

The story line is very ordinary and close to real life. One could feel connected through out with the emotional ups and downs presented in the entire plot though there are moments where you would not agree or relate to them and you would also wish that it should never happen to you! The characters are like one of us-sometimes strong and sometimes week enough to break down.

An angle of Shanghai, its cheap labour and the working system is presented in a nut shell which hovers around the the storyline. It’s like an insight into what really happens in that corner of the world.

This was the first novel of Tony that I read. Have heard a lot about his other books-Man and Boy, Man and wife and the likes making huge success. I would recommend this book though I won’t tag it as highly recommended cause it’s going to get mixed reactions-me thinks. There would be set of people who would love it and there would be others who would just like it .

Honestly, I belong to both the sects!!! Hence I give it 3 stars.


Words Can Describe

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Author: Abi Grant

ISBN: 978-0-3350-51835-2

Price: . 285 INR

Abi Grant is a successful young television sketch show writer. One night she is attacked in her London flat, while she is sleeping, by a complete stranger-who had waited for her to come home from the theatre.

The attack-an attempted rape-was violent and terrifying. But Abi manages to fight back and escapes from her home and goes upstairs to her landlady.

Post this incident the nameless man-who broke into her home via a window-is not to be arrested for next 12 years. In this long duration Abi’s life collapses around her. She goes through a lot of ups and downs of life as well as the emotional trauma haunts her every now and then.It’s not the same again for her to sleep alone in her own house feeling safe and sleeping sound !

How does she copes up with all this ? What happens to the rapist? Does he get identified? Does Abi get justice?

The book is a piece by piece record of Abi’s life after this attack. A memoir of a sexual assault. What she goes through mentally, physically and financially. Though the novel’s storyline is intriguing and the quote on the book from ‘Coleen Nolen’ says “This is a book every woman should read”.  I personally felt that the book loses  its grip going forward. Slowly in the middle of the consequences Abi stops writing her story instead starts writing about the factors creating rape-culture, some digs at second wave-feminism et al. presenting unnecessary incidences which actually dilute the main plot. She also manages to write some humour in between the serious plot which sometimes is irrelevant to the mood.

Not that I don’t recommend reading this book. Just that it disappoints through the middle of it. Like you know there are books in which you can skip few chapters and still you can connect to the story line without even feeling that you’ve missed something important. That applies to this one. So don’t keep any high hopes.

It’s a onetime read- Words Can Describe is helpful for victims and survivors-who will feel less alone.It also provides a set of guidelines about how to cope up with the trauma without feeling guilty about being attacked and what to do or not to do. Of course it depends on case to case basis but it can be taken as a suggestive write-up for dealing with the trauma and stress and get back to normal life yet again.

My rating for this book is 3


Moving On

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Author: Shashi Deshpande

ISBN: 0-67-005781-9

Price: 450 INR

Moving On’ is a presentation of a personal diary of a dead man, read by his daughter and her own thoughts revolving around the pages she is going through and her own perspective about the past which consists of the her parents, husband and children.

The book talks about family ties, relationships, commitment and the generations. Sometimes you just don’t have proper words to describe what you feel about certain things. I’m in that state right now when I think about writing a review for this book. There is so much to express yet no proper stream of words to put it all in. Those who have read Shashi’s books would agree with me that he books leave you thinking about your own life and somewhere in the book you find yourself revolving in the story too. It’s so real and close to life-nothing larger than that and nothing superficial about it !

I found it a different way to present the story line. I have read Shashi Deshpande in the past as well and I’ve never been let down by her work. Shashi’s command over language, verbal ability to match the plot and easiness with which the story moves and dwells the characters that are designed to form the entire book is truly amazing.

My rating for this book is 4*

Secret Daughter-edited

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Author: Shilpi Somaya Gowda

ISBN: 13: 978-006192231

Website:http://www.shilpigowda.com/

[putting it as it is straight from the back of the book-the excerpt]

On the eve of the monsoons, in a remote Indian village, Kavita gives birth to a baby girl. But in a culture that favors sons, the only way for Kavita to save her newborn daughter’s life is to give her away. It is a decision that will haunt her and her husband for the rest of their lives, even after the arrival of their cherished son.

Halfway around the globe, Somer, an American doctor, decides to adopt a child after making the wrenching discovery that she will never have one of her own. When she and her husband Krishnan see a photo of the baby with the gold-flecked eyes from a Mumbai orphanage, they are convinced that the love they already feel will overcome all obstacles.

What I liked about this book is the way it has been presented in a simple manner in spite of the issue being a bit complicated. The book also takes you through the city of Mumbai in few of its’ chapters-the riches and the poors of the vast city. As the title suggests it’s about a daughter and then it’s about the mother as well. Which is interesting. The chapters weave through the happenings of India and America simultaneously without letting the reader feel confused even for a moment. Two families,two countries,two mothers and one daughter that binds them all together !

Yes..I liked the end as well..the author has treated the story pretty well when it comes to an obvious end.

Umm..there is nothing that I didn’t like about the book…just that in general it scores not more than 3 according to my opinion. It’s one of those books,you know,which you feel is a good one but you won’t want to read it again after a certain interval…it will reach your heart but I’m not sure whether it will stay with you or not…but in all a good read..check it out yourself 🙂

My rating for the book is 3*

The Doctor’s Wife

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Author: Elizabeth Brundage

ISBN: 0-452-28691-3

Website:http://elizabethbrundage.com/

The novel starts with the sound of the beeper of Dr.Micheal Knowles pager. He thinks that it’s an error because he is not supposed to be on call at that time but yet like a person married to his job he gets up and rushes to the clinic. The Knowles family has it all one could wish for a picture perfect life…a perfect wife Annie and two beautiful children Henry and Rosie. The life is all hunky-dory in calm upstate Albany, New York.

It’s the time when Michael’s ex-lover,Celina, approaches him for a certain help at her clinic that the danger starts dawning at their life. Though they’re doing a good job at the clinic,there are few people who think they’re being unfair.

While Michael is busy in his own clinic and the help that he is offering at Celina’s,Annie gets entangled with the not so famous painter, Simon Hass, whose wife Lydia is a fascinating character who puts everyone in shades. Four characters, four different opinions and four entangled lives.

Michael goes to the clinic that night after the beeper rings only to never come back home again. Annie feels she is responsible for his absence, the children hold Michael responsible for the hatred in their classmates eyes for them, Lydia thinks she does not want to do this but for Lord Jesus she is doing this  and it is a pay back for her sins and Simon, who really wants to save Annie from all this, is unable to get out of the loop of fear and his marriage to Lydia.

To choose life or to abort is the basic line of the story across. Michael is trying to help out females who get caught in the cycle of sex and pregnancy unwillingly…specially those are who hardly the age of a woman who can even take care of themselves. But the group,which thinks aborting is like rejecting life which Jesus is granting to the mankind,is against Michael and Celina.They want these two to stop aborting and they do all possible stunts to scare them to death.

Does Michael ever come back? Is he dead? And if he is then who is responsible for his death? The group? Simon? Does he leave everything behind and runs away? What happens to Simon and Annie ? Does Lydia forgives them ? Is she able to bring her husband back from Annie ? What’s the truth?

I think the novel turned out to be a good one. I had no expectations from the novel since I’d never heard about this author… I got this book in a book fair. I would like to share how: The seller was ready to sell me 4 books for 100 Rs [only :)] and I had only picked up 3 books. To make it four I was searching for another one which has been on my to-read list…but could not find none…so took this one cause it sounded good amongst the other unknown books 🙂

Surprisingly this is Brundage’s first novel and I must say that it surely doesn’t sound like one..It’s very neatly written and complied.

My rating for this book is 4*

Secrets

Quick Data

Author: Danielle Steel

ISBN: 978-0-7181-2606-3

Price: 295 INR

Website:http://daniellesteel.net/ AND http://www.randomhouse.com/features/steel/index.html

The story is about a TV show and the characters acting in it.

Manhattan is going to be a rocking television series produced my Melvin Wechsler who is tempered by tragedy in his personal life but he is known to have the midas touch to everything that he puts his hands on. He very carefully chooses the cast for his show.

Sabina Quarles: Woman of 45 who has managed to look and keep her body of a 18 year old girl. A fine actress who is self sufficient but has not achieved that mark in Hollywood and is striving for it.

Jane Adams: A 39 year old woman,dominated by her abusive and filthy rich husband.Spent the precious years of her career in looking after her 3 children and the husband. When Manhattan comes to her she is forced to chose between the all settled richie rich family life where she doesn’t have her say AND her bright career which awaits for her at her doorsteps.

Zack Taylor: A paragon of acting,man so much sought after in the film industry and a perfect actor of 43 has something attached to him which no one knows…he is secretive yet friendly.

Gabrielle Thornton- Smith: A rich 25 year old girl on the block who is fed up of her richness and wants to carve her name on her own and chooses the rough path to reach to the heights..acting. She is beautiful,intelligent,talented and is sure that with Manhattan she going to reach places.

Bill Warwick: A 33 year old actor who is struggling to settle down in his personal and professional life and is having a really bad time when Manhattan happens to him. To get hired in the show he has to hide a truth from Mel which he hates himself for but has no other way..he has to get this role any how and he decides to hide the truth of his life from Mel.

The story revolves round these characters and over a period of time you will discover that everyone has a secret hidden in their hearts and how each of it slowly comes out phase by phase. The novel will take you through the making of the show and the lifestyle of  the actors. These secrets when reach Mel,makes him uncomfortable since they can ruin the ratings of the show and he has to take a decision as to replace the cast or continue with the same….

I usually like Danielle’s novels but this one did not appeal too much to me. It has no punch or mystery to it as the title suggests. The secrets of the characters don’t shock you or put you in that thinking mode even once. So no mystery or suspense at all. The flow of writing is as usual good. Easy read .

My rating for this book is 2*