Monday, September 9, 2013

Wise Enough to be Foolish - a Review

A little over 200 pages, this book from Jaico Publications came my way on a rainy day, wrapped in promises of a good read. And it suffices to say that this book by Gauri Jayaram  did not disappoint. It deals with topics that most women have lived through - some more than others. It deals with topics that one is not comfortable discussing, even with one's own conscience.

A special thanks to Marina from Jaico, who is instrumental in me reading this book.

A little more detail in the review:

The first impression : The cover shows a girl with a packed bag (or 'baggage' maybe), not letting too much out in one go. Travel does play an important part of the protagonist's life, but that is not all there is. There is quite a lot of 'baggage' that the protagonist carries, which may have been symbolized here, but then, that's not all there is, either. Interesting cover.

Plot : Much of the plot is autobiographical (in the author's own words); the narrative beginning with the protagonist waiting for her husband to get back home. It then traces her growing up years in a Fauji family, where subtle biases to the male child brings in rebellion in her. The book then covers her travails at attempting to make peace with her parents, while also finding love herself. Through mentors in her life, she discovers two passions - travel and sports. The book would certainly strike a chord with most women, having faced atleast a few of the situations faced by the rebellious Gauri. But the risk here is that most readers may end up reading through the pages thinking, "Been there, done that, what next?"

Writing style : Jayaram is honest; sometimes wanting to make you flinch. Whether it s virginity she is discussing, or the unfairness of being a girl child in India, or live in relationships, or even child abuse, Jayaram manages a fine job of being sincere, yet not get defensive - a difficult task when you are talking about intimate relations such as parents, siblings and lovers. It is like being able to read a good friends diary (without the guilt ofcourse!).

Jayaram also manages to weave in some magical lines that make you want to sigh out aloud, and then read the lines aloud again, savoring the way that sounds. Examples:
  • "When no one knows what to say, and there is a moment of silence, the angels are passing and everyone should stay quiet."
  • "Life is an individual event, and only you count….Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose."
  • "When you are gambling on the table of Vegas, the way you behave when you have little at stake is very different from how you behave when you have a lot at stake."
The narrative is filled with such gems, stemming from the introspective style that Gauri has used in the book.

Final Verdict : This is a book that makes you smile sometimes, shift uneasily in your seat sometimes, and gasp yet other times. An emotional roller coaster, but one that makes you feel warm inside at the end.


  1. These really seems like a great book...I think I am going to give it a read :)

  2. Guess your review has prompted me to give this one a chance...

  3. Nice review. I've liked the writing style.

    My review is on my book blog:

    1. thank you Anupama.... will head over to read yours

  4. I haven't read this book but your review says it is worth a pick.

  5. Ah, a good book review after a lot of days! All I see on blogs these days is negative, disappointed reviews. Haven't read this one yet, but now will definitely pick it up.

    1. Thank you so much Adi.... been a while that I haven't really been too creative!