About the author:
Preeti Shenoy is an author and artist. She believes life is the biggest teacher. She is an avid blogger, whose poetry has also been published. This book is her fourth published work.
My thoughts on the book:
There are some books which can be finished very quickly. They’re not heavy to read, and would keep your interest in the storyline because of that lightness. Preeti Shenoy’s fourth book is quite similar to her third book in that respect, for I found both to be easy-reading. In a time when love stories are coming out dime-a-dozen in the market, we find ourselves wishing for something to pull us in with a different outlook, rather than what has been put before. This book read more like the script of a TV serial than a novel.
Diksha, who looks back at what her life was like when she was 16, and an innocent crush (or was it love) turned into something more. She was not once allowed to speak when her parents admonished her. She was pulled out of the school, and then married when she was young. The story returns to the present, where she’s in a much clichéd “housewife” role, with a child and a husband who’s the quite “traditional” or “old-school” man, and has chained her to many rules while he himself is “career-focused” and not having time for her or her son or even his mother when it comes to that. Diksha begins to break out of her “shell” and encouraged by her cousin Vibha, she makes a wishlist and begins to do things she’s always wanted to do. She reconnects with her old friends, begins to break rules and become outgoing.
What I liked in the book is that the language and the narration are simple and hold you, which is what a good novel should do. The protagonist’s character is well explored and to an extent, we are moved by her sorrows. It’s a refreshing change to see the mother-in-law in a supportive role. The best thing about the book however is the cover page, which is very appealing.
What I didn’t like in the story is predictability. It’s very similar in an overall outlook compared to her previous novel. Once again, the husband of the protagonist is put as the career chasing guy and the woman is the helpless “damsel in distress”. Once again, the past returns to save the future. When a certain phrase comes into the picture, you know exactly where it’s going to end, and yes, it ends that way. I think believability matters a lot at times, and you can’t quite believe the person who encourages you to get out of the shell would then say that you shouldn’t have. What I would have liked is to see the protagonist manage the future on her own. After all, if Diksha can “almost singlehandedly raise her child” without the loving support of her husband for nearly fifteen years, you’d think she can continue to do so without depending on the past, especially with a supportive mother-in-law by her side. Also, I could notice grammatical and typo errors quite often, and definitely more than I find to be dismissive.
Closing thoughts: If you want a light-read to keep you company during a travel of 3 or 4 hours, go ahead. The book won’t let you down. Overall, for me, this is a one-time read.
Title: The Secret Wish List
Author: Preeti Shenoy
Price: Rs. 175
(March 27th, 2013)