Book Review: Just Married, Please Excuse
When I was offered this book for review, I almost grabbed it – for two reasons. The first reason obviously was the quirky title and the ‘V versus Y’ on the cover page, which I thought was a really funny way to denote a marriage. The second was the warning sign, Caution: Marriage Ahead in the summary.
I had not really expected this book to be something that vaguely gave me a feeling of an autobiography/ memoir. But that is what it did. Yashodhara is a young city bred woman, someone who likes to be herself amidst all the chaos. Vijay is a slightly older man from a conservative family. This is the story of their marriage and parenthood, according to the summary. But the actual book is this and much more. Any couple, no matter how besotted they are with each other, are bound to fight and no marriage is ever a bed of roses. But when an author manages to pen this honest statement mixed with humour and a really casual style, the book itself becomes interesting.
The courtship of Y and V (not really explained in detail) was just the few chapters in the beginning. They have their differences even before marriage but end up getting married despite all that in a deluded love trumps all belief and little compromises from both ends. All through the book (which, incidentally, is narrated in first person) the reader almost gets the feeling of reading the broken pages of a diary/ journal.
The author has managed to bring out the other side of marriage in a humorous tone and if her intention was to make the reader get involved with the characters and the story, she succeeded at least in certain chapters. The post partum depression (PPD) of a new mother and the hopeless cluelessness of a cornered husband are portrayed in a very relatable life like manner and somehow somewhere, the reader realises that both Yashodhara and Vijay (and even mummy ji and papa ji) might be characters from their own lives. There is the quarrelling young couple, the all knowing but seemingly oblivious parents, and the domestic help who often does more than just help and many such familiar characters.
While the overall tone of the book has to be categorised as light-hearted (or at least that is what the author seems to have tried) it does have moments that make the reader emotional and nostalgic. You cannot help but sympathise with every character at some point in the book. My personal favourites are when Kajal experiences bhoomkump and when Yashodhara realises her shortcomings and swallows her pride even when she is not the one completely at fault.
However, my complete and full enjoyment of the book was seriously marred by the abundant use of Hindi phrases with no translation or explanation. It ruins some obviously very important parts of the book for me. And at times it left me with the feeling of a late bloomer who did not understand a good joke. Agreed that Hindi is the most popular language but for someone who doesn’t understand the slang, it was really frustrating. The author must realise that her reader base might also have people who may not know the language and craft her writing accordingly. After all, we are not ‘mummy ji and papa ji’ who insist on Hindi being spoken. That said, I would pick up other works from the same author, mostly for her style and language either with a hope that there wouldn’t be too many Hindi phrases, or with a translator beside me.
The best part about the book is how the book explains the sad reality that the differences of opinion that initially seem endearing between couples are the main reasons for fights later on. Kudos to the author for telling this in a non preachy light hearted tone. That said the put off was that Yashodhara as a character does not make the impact I expected her to. And it really was a frustrating assumption that all readers would understand, without explanation, what the characters mean when they speak Hindi. While it is generally understood that some jokes are best understood in their native languages and translation would, at best, ruin the punch line, the author could have either tried to give a gist or reduced the frequency of those terms that are intended to give the book the nativity it doesn’t really require.
Title : Just Married, Please Excuse
Authors: Yashodhara Lal
Publisher/ Imprint: Harper Collins India
Genre/ Sub Genre: Fiction/ Humor
Rating: 4.00 of 5.00
Reviewed for: The Tales Pensieve Kindle Pick of the month – December 2015
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