Thursday, 8 February 2018

Book Review: Mrs. C Remembers by Himanjali Sankar.

Book: Mrs. C Remembers

Author: Himanjali Sankar

Pages: 200

Publisher: Pan Macmillan India 

Read On: Paperback

How Long it Took Me To Read: 2 days

Plot Summary: Mrs Anita Chatterjee, wife to one of Kolkata's most successful men, has lived a bustling life managing her husband’s large household and mingling regularly with the rich and powerful. Now, after forty years of a life of unquestioned compliance, the only thing she can do is try to forget.
Her daughter, Sohini, is an artist living in Delhi with an unconventional partner. As Mrs C begins to engage with their ideas, she finds she can no longer ignore the tumultuous world outside. Soon she is diagnosed with a formidable medical condition, one that will allow her to let down her guard and come into her own.

  General Thoughts: This book was on my radar and on my wish list for absolute ages. I finally bought it in January and it went straight to my January TBR and OMG I am so glad I finally had the good sense to pick this book up. I don't know why I waited for so long to get to it. But better late than never!

Things I Liked: 

1. The writing was wonderful. The writer has done a fantastic job fleshing out this woman- Mrs. C, and her life and her thoughts and the inner workings of her very being while also skilfully telling us and showing us the life of two women and snippets of world events. Brilliant!

2. The book is told over a period of roughly 16 years. It starts in 2002 with the death of Mrs. C's formidable and often cruel mother in law and ends in present day. For a book that is fairly slim- in size- to have these years represented so well was truly amazing. The lives of these characters and seeing important domestic and international events within these pages was remarkable.

3. This book is told in two voices. One of Mrs. Anita Chatterjee and the other her daughter Sohini. The chapters alternate and we get to know both these women very well. The author has done justice to both of our leading ladies and both the voices are distinct and engaging.

4. I am a Bengali, in case you didn't know, and so much of this book felt like I was reading about people I know and in some cases people I love. If you come from a certain kind of Bengali family this book will really resonate to you and get to you. I identified with so much in this book!

5. The thing I perhaps loved best about this book was how brutally and unflinchingly honest it was. All of Mrs. C's musings on the world and geopolitics and even about the people in her life was so honest, cruel and definitely non-PC in some cases but honest all the way through. I really, really appreciated and enjoyed this aspect of the book.

6. Parts of this book broke my heart. So much of this book deals with submission and suppression. Women of the certain time...hell even now, have to lose so much of themselves in a marriage. Moving  to a new home, new people and a whole new world and somewhere in the middle of all this you seem to diminish over time. Mrs. C reminded me of so many women I know. Women who put up bad behaviour, taunts, emotional abuse, belittling and so much worse all in the name of adjusting in their marital home. It makes me blood boil! And to see her make excuses for her husband's behaviour and his benign emotional abuse over the years just really broke my heart. Even her issues with her mother-in-law was infuriatingly real and I am sure relatable to so many women.

7. I loved Mrs. C! Like I've said before she seemed really familiar to me. Like a person I know. Incredibly real and genuine. I especially love how she evolves by the end of the book. I don't want to give away any spoilers but man I was cheering for her by the end of the book. (If you've read the book you know what I mean!) Plus, I loved her honesty and candour.

8. I loved this book. I loved the time I spend with it and I found it engaging and searing and heartfelt and sincere. So good! I cannot recommend it enough! You have got to read it!

Things I Didn't Like:

Overall, this was a book I thoroughly enjoyed but there was one thing I didn't enjoy much. I just wasn't a big fan of Sohini. I much preferred spending time with Mrs. C and being her world no matter now muddled things got. Sohini paled in comparison. I found her quite brattish and largely unlikable. Even her marriage and subsequent forays into motherhood weren't very engaging.

Rating: 4/5

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