Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Book Review: A Murderous Family by Manish Dubey

Book: A Murderous Family

Author: Manish Dubey 

Pages: 61 

Read on: ARC kindly sent by Juggernaut

Read in: An hour 

Plot Summary: Things aren’t going well in Ranjana Agarwal’s household. Husband Kamal has sunk further into the cult of Isvari Mata, and refuses to warm up to Gurgaon, the new dog and the Cool Parents' Group from son Prateek’s new school.

Things I Liked:
  • I love reading about dysfunctional families and stories set in our current urban milieu. These are so relatable and I am sure each of us knows of a family like the Agarwals- where each person is unhappy but keeps trying their best to adjust with the demands of urban, showing-off-on-social-media type of life. So, I was quite excited when Juggernaut approached me to review this book. 
  • The Agarwals are your typical urban family. An upper-middle class couple with one son, who live with their in-laws. They are trying to provide the best opportunities for their only son, which includes uprooting him from a "bania school" in Delhi to a new fangled International school in Gurugram, even though the poor kid is so lonely and is almost-bullied in that school!
  • The gradual dissolution of this family unit is really well done in this book. Ranjana keeps pushing Kamal and Prateek to do things they don't want to do. She keeps trying to suck up to the pretentious parents in Prateek's school. She blames everyone else for her plight but takes no responsibility for her unhappiness and that of her husband and son. She is self-absorbed and obsessed with curating a certain image. I really enjoyed reading about this family falling apart. 
  • Ranjana is a typical over-involved, helicopter mom. She is also a really bitter and smug woman. Her husband is not good enough for her, his parents are not good enough, his sister is not up to her standards (whatever they are!). She is constantly trying to appease and befriend the, apparently, 'Cool Parents Group' in her son's school. She is kinda pathetic but relatable, I guess. She had imagined a certain kind of life for herself and whatever life she is leading is not good enough. 
  • Kamal, Ranjana's husband, feels lost and over-looked and trapped in his own house. He has to walk a dog he didn't want. He has to throw a lavish party for people he can't stand. He just doesn't understand why his wife is so deeply unhappy and why she constantly tries to get him to do things he doesn't want to do. Kamal is a deeply unhappy man and, again, a relatable character. 
  • Prateek, Ranjana's son, is the one I felt the worse for. He is over-weight, made fun of in his school, over-looked by teachers and has to live up to his mom's ever-increasing expectations. All of this gets to him and pushes him to do something terrible. 
Rating: 4/5 
This is a great little book, especially, if you enjoy reading about families and of families set in our current context. 

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