Hmmm so I am the Hungry Reader. The one who reads. The one who is constantly reading or wanting to read constantly. This blog is all about the books I have read, the ones that I am reading and gems that I plan to read in the future or whenever it arrives.
Title: My Daughters’ Mum: Essays
Author: Natasha Badhwar
Publisher: Simon & Schuster India
Rating: 5 Stars
Natasha Badhwar’s writing is comfort food. It is the hug you have been waiting for but just don’t know it yet. It is the reassurance of a loved on that takes its own time to come but when it does, your heart is filled with warmth like none other. It is the hobby that becomes a passion and you cannot wait to get back to it at the end of the day. I hadn’t known of Natasha’s column (very famous by the way – appears in Mint Lounge every week) or of her before I started following her on Twitter (Thank God I did) and I couldn’t have been happier knowing she exists. She is there somewhere on the Internet, spreading kindness, wisdom and sometimes nothing but just telling us stories of her life and that’s what this book is about.
“My Daughters’ Mum” is a collection of her essays which have previously appeared in Mint (some of them I think) and again since I hadn’t read any, it was a unique experience for me and my heart. I’ve always believed that books and reading can connect you with people like no other and this is what happened to me as I turned the pages of Natasha’s book. I wept. I laughed. I nodded knowingly. I wanted to reach out to her and hug her tight. I wanted to tell her children that they are loved so much (I am sure they know it as well) and all I ended up doing was healing myself through her words.
We all carry burdens, of various kinds. They come in different shapes and are full of different things – some recognizable and some don’t. Natasha’s writing is raw and makes us see what we cannot see through her struggles – big or small and that is where the connect lies I suppose. She writes nonchalantly about her kids, her husband, her in-laws, her parents, about how she feels and what she thinks and how she also connects with the world at large. This sense of putting your heart out there and knowing that it is okay to do so filled me with awe. I am in awe of her because she shows her deepest scars, her fears and knows that that is the only way she can connect and know people better. For instance, when Sahar (her oldest) doesn’t know how to express her anger – its all there or for that matter when Naseem (her youngest) knows some things too well for a child her age – Natasha bares it all and that’s why I could feel the emotions I did.
My review is not doing justice to the book as it should. I haven’t even scratched the surface of the book to give you an idea of how brilliant it is and why you should read it. All I can say is that you should read it. It is the kind of book that deserves to be read by everyone. You will find your own comfort in its pages, just like I did. Thank you Natasha, for this.
Title: An Uncommon Education
Author: Elizabeth Percer
Genre: Literary Fiction
I love coming-of-age novels. They somehow manage to comfort me and make me believe in the goodness of the world. Yes they tend to do that. It has may be got to do with the fact that the protagonists are more human than the adults and have a perspective like no other. So it could be Holden Caulfield struggling with trying to make sense of the world or it could be Scout Finch who is trying very hard to hang on to the old life, as her world is falling apart.
And with this I begin the review of yet another beautifully told coming-of-age novel, “An Uncommon Education” by Elizabeth Percer. Naomi Feinstein is a young woman troubled by life. She is surrounded by a father with a weak heart (and so she decides to become a doctor), a mother who is depressed and is not interested in her and her best friend Teddy (and also her first love so to speak) suddenly departs from her life, making it more so miserable.
She tries dealing with the loneliness by running away from it. She is admitted to the college of her dreams – Wellesley College and hopes that life will change. But things do not. Naomi realizes that it will take some time for things to fall into place, but she is determined not to let others define her or her choices. She learns to save herself first through various means (the Shakespeare Club) and some of them actually work. Naomi’s happiness is soon compromised as she gets involved in a scandal and that is when she realizes the true meaning of life.
An Uncommon Education started off as a slow read for me, however once it grew on me I could let go of it. Percer is great at setting the style, the context and the elements of the story. We follow Naomi’s life from childhood through college and experience all her ups and downs with her and that is what sticks with you at the end of the novel. The fact that Elizabeth Percer can make you feel for Naomi through her words is a marvellous feat.
Elizabeth Percer writes with a striking clarity that may be at some point allows us to relate to the book at some level. You want to sit up and reach out to Naomi and let her know that things will be fine. At the same time, Naomi is the one who finds this out by living. By going through the proverbial rite-of-passage and by growing up to the realities that surround her life. This book is one of a kind. I highly recommend this novel. I would definitely re-read it later at some point.