What is a clingy girlfriend?
A clingy girlfriend will go through your phone.
She will destroy the contact numbers of every other girl on your phone. She will delete your Facebook profile.
And will give you forty-five missed calls in the sixty minutes you put your phone on silent for an office presentation.
A clingy girlfriend will say: Carry two sets of fully charged mobile batteries so you can be in touch with me. Always. In my dream, you were flirting with some other girl and then ended up in bed. Dreams are a manifestation of some act that is carried out in daily life. Are you cheating on me? You have issues. You need to get therapy. Are you cheating on me? And the worst one: Why aren t we married yet?
Obrokranti Banerjee’s girlfriend ticks all of these, and more. Caught between wanting to break up, and the fear that he ll never find another girlfriend if he does, Obrokranti finds himself doing things he never imagined: watching Shah Rukh Khan movies, having to fast with her on karva chauth, and perhaps worst of all, having his girlfriend join him on a boys night out!
~ Synopsis from Amazon
This is one of those books that evoked strong mixed feelings in me. On one hand, I loved the humor. I think the author Madhuri Banerjee had a very deft touch with language and I found myself laughing at quite a few of the insights that she shares.
The woman in a man’s life always wants to change him. A mother will always say the finished product that she hands over to the daughter-in-law is perfect since she made him! It’s quite embarrassing for a man who thinks he’s his own man. He never is.
On the other hand, I objected to so much of the book. This is what would typically be called lad-lit, what makes it stand out is that it is written by a woman. So, while I don’t object to lad-lit written by women, I do think that a little more character development of the women in the book would have been nice.
Throughout the book, I was cringing at Radha – the clingy girlfriend. She’s written so awfully that she is nothing more than a caricature. This is a woman who spends all day tracking her boyfriend’s movements, calling him numerous times a day, and basically just sits around in his house doing nothing all day.
Obrokranti meanwhile is a hard-working guy desperately trying to make a good life for himself and his girlfriend. He’s unbelievably patient with her demands, while all the time secretly plotting how to get out of the relationship, and how to snag another girlfriend for himself. The only reason he’s with her is for the sex.
See now, why I find this book problematic?
The gender roles are on the clichéd side to start with. Add to the fact that there is no point of view or back-story to Radha at all, makes the book very one-sided.
Again, I wouldn’t have as much of a problem with this if I hadn’t seen the author’s tweets (or rather retweets)
— HerStory (@herstoryYS) April 24, 2015
I mean, really? Sure, Radha is bossy and always trying to get her own way. But I would not define her as strong, not by any definition.
I also found the various tips scattered throughout the book (Obrokranti’s pearls of wisdom) to other bachelors obnoxious in the extreme. Lists of tips on how to avoid the topic of marriage, how to buy gifts for your girlfriend, and so on unnecessarily slowed the pace of the book, and added an even more sexist tone to an already sexist book.
Another aspect of the book I disliked is its depiction of Punjabis and Bengalis. I ended up coming out of this book with a very dim opinion of Bengali men. It seems all Obrokranti wants to do is sit in front of the TV all weekend, eating mutton or fish, watching Sourav Ganguly cricket matches, and farting all day long. Not only is this his favorite activity, but he claims this is so for all Bengali men. Heaven help their spouses! And don’t get me started on Obrokranti’s remarks on Punjabi women. Urgh!
Overall, I would say this book is funny in a politically incorrect way, and if you are in the mood for such a book, it’s a very good read. I do like her sense of humor, and I will probably try another book by her which is hopefully not as sexist.
Huge thanks to the publishers for sending me this book for review consideration.
You can also purchase a copy of this book from Amazon