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05 August, 2017

#BookReview :: Encounters of a Fat Bride by Samah Visaria

Madhurima Pandey is twenty-five, single, and gradually coming to terms with the annoying 'you're next' nudges from family and friends. But soon they realize that chances of finding a groom for her are slim-mainly because she's not. At 93 kilos, she knows she isn't the ideal weight for marriage, even if her family believes she's the ideal age.
Despite her reservations, the hunt begins, and so does a spree of rejections until Harsh comes along. Madhu cannot believe that a boy with no obvious flaws has agreed to marry her. Low self-esteem makes her suspect he's either impotent or a homosexual, but she doesn't turn down the proposal immediately.
A negligible period of courtship and a hurried engagement follow. But does Madhurima really find her happily-ever-after? Or are there more surprises in store?
Jovial, witty and unapologetically honest, Madhurima Pandey's story of struggle and survival in the run-up to her D-Day gives you a refreshingly new take on the big fat Indian wedding.

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I picked up this book solely on the expectation that the book would be able to highlight certain issues related to the ‘Big Fat Indian Weddings’ and body image. Both the topics are things that I really care about and hoped that the book would be able to bring them out in guise of commercial fiction which has wide reach.

Madhurima ‘Madhu’ Pandey is our protagonist who is twenty-five years old and on the wrong side of the weighing scale. As is typical in our society, everyone is anxious to see her getting married but all she has been getting are a string of rejections from prospective grooms and their families. Then Harsh comes along and says ‘yes’ to her, something that she has trouble accepting because of her low self-esteem. What ensues is a series of doubts & questions that need to be answered before the ‘D-day’.

The plot had potential and the book could have been so much but it failed to deliver at quite a few levels. 

First, the protagonist Madhurima – she is supposed to be this modern, smart and spunky girl with low self-esteem. She has her moments in the book though where you laugh out with her and kind of understand what she is feeling. But overall, she failed to make an impact on me and so I really could not connect with her. Secondly, the author has resorted to colloquial language to narrate her story which again failed to make a positive impact on me. In fact, the use of hindi terms in the book was quite off-putting. I know that using catchy words/phrases in regional language in IWE is all in rage these days. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it. It is a personal quirk of mine – ignore if you do not mind it.

The author has succeeded in bringing forth quite a few evils of the society. Though once again, I am not sure how much impact the book will have on its readers, I’d like to acknowledge the effort that the author has put in.

Overall, a light breezy read.


Review Copy received from Penguin Random House


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