WRITING STYLE: 3/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 3/5
I am always on the lookout for books that talk about women-centric issues and that have strong women protagonists. Some of my recent women-centric reads include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Zikora, Silvia Moreno Garcia’s Mexican Gothic, and Cho Nam-Joo’s Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982. A few days ago, an opportunity to read another such book presented itself in the form of author Sathya Sam’s debut work Gauri. Read on to know what I think of the book and how was my experience of reading it.
What to expect?
Expect a book that tells us a simple yet entertaining story. Expect a book that would mostly appeal to beginner-level readers. Expect a book that has a strong and devoted woman as the central character. Expect a book that deals with some difficult yet socially relevant and relatable issues – like infertility, love marriages, parental pressure, dysfunctional families, and opportunistic social climbers. Also, expect a book that is fast-paced and easy to read.
About the author
Author Sathya Sam is a blogger and an avid reader. He is an animal lover who loves to watch and photograph beautiful creatures in his leisure time. As a motivational speaker, he speaks at many institutions, inspiring the younger generation with his charismatic words.
Who can read the book?
The combination of a simple language and a fast-paced narration makes this book an ideal read for beginners.
Let’s talk about the storyline
Gauri is the story of a woman who battles the world and society for what she thinks is right. Her love for her husband Shiva is unconditional and selfless, almost bordering on devotion. Gauri is the story of one woman and at the same time many women who often sacrifice their dreams and aspirations for the sake of their loved ones.
Gauri and Shiva find love in each other and decide to tie the knot. However, this decision is especially not welcomed in Shiva’s family which becomes estranged following an emotional confrontation. As Shiva and Gauri get on with their regular life, there enters a third character who threatens to upset the delicate balance of their sacred matrimony.
What about the writing style?
The writing is a tad amateurish but shows promise. Parts of the story seem disconnected and sometimes even incongruous, but since the story manages to come together in the end, I would not deem it a big issue. Some sections are confusing too, and I think that lack of clarity and attention to detail is to be blamed in such cases.
Further, the Shalini-Shiva equation keeps the reader second-guessing all the time. It is confusing and not in a good way. The actions don’t agree with the words and vice versa, and this disparity sometimes becomes frustrating. I am sure, though, that with time and experience, the author’s skills will only get better. I, for one, would certainly be looking forward to reading his next work of fiction.
The book deals with some difficult yet important themes. There is the question of parental acceptance of love marriages, career choices, and lifestyle choices. The book showcases just how disastrous unfair parental pressure can be – not just for the children but for everyone in the family. The book also touches upon the delicate topic of infertility and how disdainfully society shuns those who don’t stick to their prescribed family ideals. It also deals with the very relevant theme of personal space in a marriage. Should spouses keep secrets from each other? If yes, to what extent? Where should one draw the line between personal space and fair disclosure?
Gauri is the story of a strong and independent woman who, despite the many challenges that life throws her way, manages to make the best out of her situation. She is career-driven and smart, but also deeply caring towards those who mean the world to her. She is courageous and intelligent, patient, and emotional; her endurance knows no bounds especially when it is her loved ones who are in danger. While she as a character inspires many, it is the other characters in the novel that leave you unimpressed.
Shiva is an intelligent, well-settled man who loves his wife, and yet he does the most irrational of things. Despite proclaiming his love for Gauri, he doesn’t heed her advice and continues to court danger. His actions and life choices make the reader question his rationality as well as his love for Gauri.
Other characters are a forgetful bunch, none of them striking enough to keep your attention. Shalini is confusing, to say the least. Her actions and thoughts also have no logic and rationale. Even though she takes up a lot of space, the reader doesn’t get invested in her story. The visible lack of character backstories leaves the reader wanting.
What did I like?
The biggest selling point of the book is its ease of readability, and that’s a major plus. The reader flies through the book because 1) the pace is very good, 2) the story is mostly narrated through conversations, 3) the language is simple and mostly conversational and, 4) good font size and wide margins greatly enhance the reading comfort.
What did I not like?
Even though Gauri is a strong character, I believe that the burden she piles on herself is unjust and inequitable. She keeps blaming herself for everything that happens to their marriage. As Shiva commits blunders after blunders, it is Gauri who is seen as the self-sacrificing crusader. “I will handle things better than before” is her statement after discovering the misdoings of her husband.
I understand the idea of a woman correcting the transgressions of the man, but this is something that I don’t agree with personally. Why can’t the men take charge of their own life? Why does it have to be a woman who, in addition to her work and home, also takes the additional duty of reforming a man?
What could have been better?
I believe the book could have done with a more complex plot. What is linear and quite easy to maneuver through would have done much better with a few more twists and some non-linear narratives. A dash of mystery with some captivating backstories would be better still.
There are some editing issues as well which the book could have done without.
Is the climax good?
The climax brings a surprising twist to the entire storyline. This makes the book conclude on a much more interesting note than what I had initially expected.
It all comes down to the entertainment
The book offers a decent dose of entertainment.
In the end
In the end, Gauri is an interesting and easy-to-read tale of a smart, intelligent, devoted, and confident woman who decides to give her everything to the person she most loves. It is a story that shows us just how fierce a woman can be to save the one she loves. It is a humble dedication to that soft and giving power of a woman; a power that she yields proudly and unapologetically.
The final verdict
Can be read.
Pick the book if
- You are looking for a simple read written in an easy language.
- You love books about strong women characters.
- You like to explore books by debut Indian authors.
- You are a beginner level reader looking for easy to read Indian books.
Skip the book if
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of Gauri using the link below.