Wednesday, 6 November 2013

The Weight Loss Club


From the Book Blurb
Set in a middle-class housing colony, this is the story of stay-at-home mum Monalisa, who cannot clean the kitchen counter enough times; Meera, who is bullied constantly by her traditional mother-in-law; college-going Abeer, who isn’t sure how to impress the glamorous Mandy; academic Aparajita, who has no takers on the marriage mart; philosopher Ananda, whom no one takes seriously; and Treeza, a former school secretary now sunk in gloom. Into their midst arrives Oxford-returned Sandhya: half hippie, half saadhvi, full spiritual guru. Under her aegis is formed The Weight Loss Club, throwing the lives of our heroes and heroines into utter and delightful disarray.

But while chemistry brews and equations change, one question remains: who is Brahmacharini Sandhya, and why on earth has she moved into Nancy Housing Cooperative?

Author
Devapriya Roy has degrees in English literature and performance studies from Presidency College, Calcutta, and Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, where she is pursuing a PhD on the Natyashastra (at least, that is what she says when asked what she does). Once upon a time, she was the Keo Karpin girl. Her first novel, The Vague Woman’s Handbook, was published in 2011. She is currently working on The Heat and Dust Project, the story of a quirky journey through India on an extreme budget, along with her husband, Saurav Jha.

Characters
Monalisa is an obsessed mother... Her husband is someone who is understanding and lets the wife to do the raising-up-the-kids job.

Treeza carries few shallow secrets and her husband, John, prays everyday that good old days come back soon.

Ananda Bose is well-educated and well-read. Yet nobody takes him seriously and his life is entirely devoted to his work and his ailed mother

Mrs. Mukherjee seems to have only one mission in life – To marry her soon-ageing and a little too fat daughter at the earliest. Her daughter, Aparijitha is doing PhD and is highly embarrassed about the melodrama with which her mother looks out for a groom for her. And Mrs. Mukherjee also has a son Abeer who is stupid and is madly in love with Ananda Bose’s niece, Mandy.

Meera is a young mother always busy nursing her newborn or pleasing her mother-in-law. Her husband Suresh Sahai is a workaholic and knows more about Meera’s contours that her soul!

Sandhya is mystifying. She carries an aura of serenity and a secret story with her! Long of meditation has rendered her with wisdom and she carries bundles of positive energy.

There are many other memorable characters too. Dr Sheila, Rocky, Molly, AJ and many-many more!


What I think
To begin with, the cover page is designed very well. It is vibrant and has the flair to attract reader’s attention.

The author’s style of writing carries in depth philosophy and it is intricately woven into the simple lives of the neighbors in Nancy Housing Cooperatives!

There is no story as such. This book can be called as a compilation of few events that unravels during some days prior to and a few months after the arrival of Sandhya.

The beauty of the book lies in the fact that the characters are so real. They are like you and me. There is neither exaggeration nor drama. The author has essayed the characters with heaps of reality and hence, we get to connect with them easily.

Though the book is titled “The Weight Loss Club”, it is essentially much more than that. The book celebrated human mind and body which needs to be looked beyond physical appearance. This concept is brilliantly dealt by the author and we will enjoy the journey.


The book hits the right chord and at the end, we pine for a mentor like Sandhya in our lives.


But...
Out of 297 pages, the first 140 odd pages is a little too dragging. It gives too much of details of too many lives. As a reader, we may lose track of what was said earlier.

Synopsis says:
“A warm, witty, gloriously realistic novel about living, loving and losing weight”

In reality:
“A warm, witty, gloriously realistic novel about living, loving and losing weight

Should you read it?
Very much because it is a feel-good book oozing with positive energy! Though not entirely focused on losing weight, but on losing that burden of emotional burden we carry, the book will indeed motivate us to start focusing on our health and body... (To confess, I am feeling so motivated that I feel like restarting my yoga sessions and resume my evening walks!)

And because this book is so relatable and so real!

Rating
3/5



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