A big thank you to the publisher, Rupa Publications, for the review copy. 🙂
I had seen this book doing the rounds of Bookstagram a while ago and going by the reviews and the blurb, it looked like an intriguing read. And I’m glad I finally got to read it. Here’s my review of a book that encompasses different emotions, relationships, and the intricacies that exist within them.
Geeta Menon’s ‘What Mina Did’ is the story of Mina (obviously), who battles with the consequences of her actions and the depression that is a consequence of those consequences. She returns to India with her husband and daughter to sell off her family home, and this triggers memories that take a lot of her energy to keep up with. Her best friend, Neelu, who stood by her in the worst of her times, is asking something of her. But things happen that strain their friendship.
Mina goes back to the U.S., hoping for life to go back to normal, but the ghosts and people of the past, and Mina’s own perceptions of certain situations don’t allow her to be as stress-free as she would have liked. Health, relationships, and careers are affected as, in this game of life, events take a turn for the worse. Will Mina be able to pick herself off the floor and face the struggle while accepting certain harsh truths forms the rest of the story.
The first thing that catches your attention as you begin reading this book is the writing. It is fluid yet crisp and keeps you turning the pages. There are a few faux pas here and there but the difficulty in pinpointing them means that they are trifling enough that they can be ignored.
The biggest reason why I enjoyed reading this book is because of how amazingly well it portrays anxiety and depression. The differences or similarities in arranged and love marriages, the backward thinking of certain families, affairs, marital understanding – there are so many instances where you just nod your head and say, yep, that should be, or nope, that shouldn’t. It takes different points of view and proves that just because one thing worked for you, doesn’t mean it will work for another as well.
The only downside for me in this book was that it felt like the plot went haywire after the halfway mark and didn’t adhere to the overall tone of the book. It became a book not about what Mina did, but about what Neelu was experiencing. Some characters are too pure, and some too cruel. Some incidents seem too fantastical to happen even in fiction.
But when you look at it in hindsight, such people exist within our own lives and such incidents do occur – proof of which we see in the news every day. In the end, everything fits well in this light, breezy read. But I must say that though the language is easy and light, the story itself is not breezy for the heart. Be prepared for it to be bruised!
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Until next time, keep reading and add melodrama to your life. 🙂