Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Being Good Enough by Rohini Paranjpe Sathe (Book Review: 4.75*/5) !!!


8th Book of 2023


It has been a while since I have not read many fiction books hence, I thought of picking few of them before getting back to non-fiction and self-help books. The 2nd book that I read in a row is Rohini Paranjpe Sathe’s “Being Good Enough”. This 214-pages book is not just a book but I must say it’s a therapy. Yes! This is one of the most well-written works I have read recently and I am guilty enough to say that it was in my shelf for two years and I don’t know why I didn’t pick it up until now. The story is about a girl named Jyoti who has unintentionally walked on a path which has broken every rule set up by her parents in the name of patriarchy and religion. She is been tortured, harassed and suppressed at home and it results in awkward and horrible actions from others even outside. She goes through a traumatic experience continuously but she still doesn’t lose her strength in the process.


The story is very courageous and there are times when you would want to cry out loud due to the traumas the protagonist is going through. At times, you want to shout at her for making decisions she knows will hurt her later. Her dilemmas when she becomes a mother whether she should share about her past with her son or keep it hidden makes you feel pit in your stomach. I am a boy but I could still empathize with her character completely. Rohini’s writing is very solid and commanding. She knows how to drive her narration to make the reader be with the story. Throughout while I was reading, I felt that I was transferred to another world altogether. Every time I kept the book aside, I would find hard to come back in my own world. I know this sounds exaggerated but that’s the zenith level of writing caliber I am trying to convey.


Author’s command on the language is powerful as this is one of the perfect books to understand how to use great vocabulary and do justice with English grammar. Even the way author starts the book without disclosing past of Jyoti which initially confuses you a bit but eventually things start becoming clearer as you are taken into flashbacks. All of this is executed so seamlessly that even when you are jumping timelines, you don’t feel getting mixed up or disconnected with another timeline at all.


Author has used many philosophical elements while explaining us about her protagonist’s mindset as well as through the conversations between important characters. There are many long paragraphs in the book which might make your reading experience little difficult but when I was thinking where author could have broken the paragraph to make them shorter, I couldn’t find one reason why it should have been shorter. There are questions on life, God, religion, patriarchy, cities, death, spirituality, gender, siblings, same-sex love etc. but none of them sounds preachy or forced. All of them are part of characters’ situation which makes it hard for you to disagree with unconventional thoughts that author wants you to ponder upon.


The story will make you smile and cry. The whole section and chemistry between Jyoti and Aman is such a beautiful part in this book that without it, the book would not have been half as good as it is. The way Jyoti’s father and brother tries to push her down against her will tells us a lot about how our society is formed where females are sometimes, tortured in the name of protection. How some men are too horrific to handle are portrayed through the characters of Rathore and Sameer. Every time, I would read their name and Sooraj (Jyoti’s brother), I would get so angry that I could feel short-breathiness even while knowing that I am reading a fiction story. The role of Jyoti’s mother and mausi are so nicely portrayed that even though they have very less part to play but they tell you a lot about our society and women of previous generation. Kudos to author for justifying a dysfunctional family so perfectly.


The climax of the book finally gives the satisfaction that I was waiting for. I am glad that I had a smile at the end rather than another sprint of tears forming in my eyes. Though, after keeping the book aside, I had tears of happiness. As I said in the starting paragraph, this is not just a book but a therapy. All of us go through enough pain in life but when we read a story of this kind, we understand what real pain is. I could very well relate Jyoti’s character with that of Sushmita Sen’s in the web series- Aarya. It’s almost the same journey where a lady goes through a pain again and again after finding a ray of hope which vanishes immediately after it appears. If you liked that series, this book is even better. I give this book 4.75* out of 5. Please go for it!







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