Book Review: Becoming Mrs. Kumar
Like many, I am a sucker for happy endings and when I was looking for a light read after a exceptionally heavy dose of an autobiography from my previous read, I came across this book. And it turned out to be exactly that – a light read for a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Becoming Mrs. Kumar is about Julia Robinson who, after leading a somewhat humdrum of a life in London, decides to take up an opportunity in Mumbai, thinking it will be a refreshing change. Apart from a few initial disappointments after seeing the various sides of Mumbai, she decides she loves Mumbai for its vibrant people and way of life. But then, after a few days, she gets lonely and decides to start searching for her true love in India. Will she find it?
Based on her life, the author presents an outsider’s views on India. One thing I liked about the book is the author’s vivid portrayal of an Expat’s thoughts on life in India. Her love for India is clearly evident from her lines that describe the various aspects of the Indian way of life and this makes you to take an instant liking to the author. After all the Slum dog Millionaire versions of India, this one reminds you why India is unique and good the way it is. She praises the good facets of the Indian culture and subtly chides at the bad ones. No one likes a foreigner dissing their motherland, even if it is true and I am no different from that. But the way the author patiently outlines the inconveniences faced by a foreigner in India, you can’t but see our fallacies.
The author’s narrative is very simple and the book makes for a brisk read. But somehow the book misses the mark when it comes to the narrative style. The portrayal of the lead character – Julia, is not very strong and lacks depth. As for the author’s views on Indian men, I feel she has been a bit of a letdown. Portraying them as a jealous, domineering and possessive lot, recurrently throughout the book makes you roll your eyes! Krishna’s character reminds you of that one jerk you knew in college while Hari is the uptight pompous man you meet at your workplace. Vikrant’s character is not very likable and the love story seems very basic with the usual, expected twist at the end. The plot is almost absent and it feels like reading a rather tedious journal on an Expat’s life in India.
On the whole, read this book if you want a foreigner’s outlook on India but if you are looking for a heartwarming love story, this isn’t one!
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