Book review | A House Full of Men by Parinda Joshi
Author: Parinda Joshi
No. of pages: 354
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Published by: Harpercollins India
Published on: 8th September 2021
My rating: ★★★★☆
Twenty-five-year-old Kittu has left Lucknow only on two occasions in her life. The first trip involved the last rites of her grandmother. The second involved a wedding, thankfully, but she returned home to her mother's funeral. She has never forgiven her mother for leaving her alone in a house full of men. Is there anyone at home she can share her deepest thoughts with? Anyone who can lend an ear to her endless relationship issues, manic obsessions and simple aspirations? Who's got the time? Kittu might live in a full house, but sometimes, she feels like she's all alone in the world. A House Full of Men is a novel about false starts and failed attempts, love and the importance of being understood.
Kittu, 25 year old, lives in a house full of men— the politically infused patriarch of the family also known as High BP or her grandfather, the unapologetically opinionated but loving father, a fitness enthusiast brother, another brother but this one's a theatre enthusiast, the man of the house called Bark Twain who's also the family dog, and P. G. Wodehouse who lives inside a portrait.
Kittu has stepped out of Lucknow only on two occasions, but on the second occasion, she came back home to see her mother dead. Since then, Kittu has had to live with only men in her life. She's a travel reporter, but has never travelled, and when her relationship with her boyfriend fizzles out she is at crossroads.
Even though life with 4 living men is difficult and she has to deal with her nitpicky brothers— where one gets bullied by the other, and the father-grandfather duo who loves to nag and exchange verbal jabs at each other, her life gets topsy-turvy when the newly divorced and hot neighbour Anandita and her equally hot NRI nephew Kartik moves in.
Kittu who has always complained about her life, feels suddenly out of place in her own house when her position in the house is being threatened. While Kittu is struggling to step out of her mother's shadow, she is also filled with immense guilt about her mother's death and is unable to let go.
There's a myriad of characters in this book and I wanted character development for all of them. But I got it only in the last 50 pages of the book. The first half of the book got me thinking exactly what this book is about. But slowly everything falls into place. The second half had me invested in the story.
Kittu is one character whom I'll never come to like, she's indecisive, she's not vocal but will rather lie under a heap of misunderstandings, she's quick to misjudge, but I get her. She had been thrown into a world without a mother, and now she was the sole "woman" in the house. Its not easy to keep a bunch of emotionally unaware men living in the same house together. And when a new person gets added to the equation, Kittu is trying hard to let go of her role.
I wanted the author to explore more of Kartik and Kittu's relationship. I wanted to see more of Kittu's father and her relationship with him. But it kept circling around the brothers and Kittu's fears. The book could have been done in 300 pages, but it took a long time to come to the point.
I'm glad I read this book. Because it reminded me that family is not perfect. You learn to live with their imperfections. You make these imperfections your own.
The writing is smart and funny. In a no-nonsense yet very cozy kind of a way, the author puts forward this heartfelt story. Interlaced with witty dialogues and a very levelled mix of descriptive and narrative style of storytelling, reading A House Full of Men is like a warm hug.
Parinda Joshi was born and raised in Ahmedabad and later immigrated to Los Angeles with her new husband where she navigated the challenges of starting life from scratch in an unfamiliar milieu, enriching herself with an MS in computer science, testing her limits and redefining herself. She now resides in Silicon Valley where leads growth analytics for a startup in the fashion industry, is mother to her precocious mini-me, a budding screenwriter, a lover of modern poetry, fitness enthusiast, an avid traveler and photographer and a humor junkie. Her M.O. is best described by Maya Angelou's quote: 'My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.' She is the author of two novels, Live From London and Powerplay. She has also contributed to a short story anthology, The Turning Point: Best Of Young Indian Writers, and several online publications including GQ India and The South Asian Times (New York). Made in China is her third novel. It has been adapted for a motion picture by Maddock Films starring Rajkummar Rao, Boman Irani and Mouni Roy, Sumeet Vyas, and Paresh Rawal among others. Parinda has co-written the screenplay for the movie. Instagram: @parindajoshi Website: www.parindajoshi.com.
I received a copy of the book in exchange of an honest and unbiased review