PLOT: 3/5 CHARACTERS: 3/5 ENTERTAINMENT: 3.5/5 OVERALL: 3.5/5
I love drama, and what better way to serve drama than an entertaining, contemporary, and light-hearted story that revolves around three generations of Indian women? If this doesn’t get you curious enough, then there is also lots of ambition, a sad heartbreak, a heart-warming love story straight from the 1960s, an impromptu relocation to Bombay, and a dangerously sexy young man Zain Rajan. Now that I am sure that I have your attention, let me present to you Riva Razdan’s The Naani Diaries, a book that I thoroughly enjoyed and I am sure you would too.
Plot summary of The Naani Diaries (no spoilers here!)
Radhika Anand is a New York-based consultant riding high on her corporate success. She wants to move ahead in her personal life by taking things further with her boyfriend Siddhant, only when she does take the lead, she gets dumped by him. She suddenly finds herself lonely, and as she is approaching 30, this propels Radhika to take some desperate measures by taking some things, especially her love life into her own hands, all inspired by her grandmother’s (Naani’s) love story from the 1960s, which to her luck has been diligently recorded by her Naani in her old diary.
She flies back to Mumbai, taking command of her company’s Indian clients at her Naani’s house, finally becoming eligible for the Indian arranged marriage market, much to her mother’s disappointment and displeasure.
But here is the catch – In order to be prime in this market she must not have any distractions, which notably includes Zain Rajan – the sexy bad boy cum commitment-phobe neighbour.
Can Radhika find her love match the same way her Naani found all those years ago?
Can one truly know a person and fall in love in a mere few months?
What did Gayatri do all those years ago that affected her daughter and granddaughter’s upbringing?
And will it change their present life when the ugly truth finally unveils itself?
First up, let me tell you that the plot of this book looked super-fun and it made me instantly pick this one up. I am all for entertaining and contemporary books written by Indian authors, and this one was definitely entertaining from page 1.
This book is a long big book with around 550 odd pages, but it didn’t take that long to finish it, as it was full of with witty banter, tender emotions, and some great characters.
Ms. Razdan’s storytelling was on point, and this book sure never had a dull moment per se, yet it could have been edited a bit more to a better-desired book length, which in my opinion, would have been more impactful.
Coming to characters, our main character Radhika is this complex personality who has never gotten the required love in her life, and takes solace in her grandparents’ love story. So, when her current relationship fails, she jumps on a plane and reaches her Naani’s doorstep, all ready for her to be set-up for an arranged marriage.
She is this super smart, highly skilled consultant who kicks ass in her job, getting the desired result in a flourish, but she also seems to be highly stuck on her love life.
I didn’t really understand what became of her when she was engaged. She became a total pushover unable to voice her opinions. She frustrated me so much that I felt like shaking her up so many times and telling her to wake up and look around.
Her professional life, how she went around training her female colleagues, is good, and even when she formulates her business plan her vision and ambition are on point. Smart as she is, I didn’t understand why she has to be so dumb or blind when it came to her love life!
While this is Radhika on one side, on the other hand, I really enjoyed reading about Naani. Mrs. Gayatri Anand, even at such an advanced age, is elegant, inspirational, and has the ability to stand up even in situations Radhika cannot bring herself to.
In The Naani Diaries, the three generations of women are all looking for love, and their actions had repercussions on each other, leading to a jumble of emotional vulnerabilities in their lives.
The big fat Indian wedding scene towards the end of the book is very colourful, maybe a little over the top, but vividly described, which if made as a screen adaptation, would definitely look great on screen.
Summing up, this book is definitely a refreshing and entertaining one-time read.
Cannot wait to read it? Buy your copy of The Naani Diaries using the link below.