Book Review: One and a Half Wife -by Meghna Pant

It is a story of a young Indian girl cursed to be the ‘One and a half wife’. Sheltered by the institution of marriage and expected to ripen within that calyx; this story has been told with much audacity. Her journey from being a ‘Baby Buddha’ to an Indian immigrant then a de-horsey and finally a strong headed woman with a sense of self reliance keeps the readers busy.

 Amara Malhotra, a girl instilled with thoughts and hopes of marriage and it supposedly being the prime and only goal in her life; having extremely conservative parents even after living in the West, gives a diverse view of the growing hypocrisy. The rejection of a sister, restriction towards making ‘white friends’ and the fear of failure in the US of A depresses her everyday until one day she finds herself married. As the story progresses, we find Amara’s abandoned dreams and unfulfilled desires fully consuming her self. Shattered Amara leaves everything behind to have a new start, with parents on her side, who least acknowledge her presence. This book is about finding answers within and questioning everything around. It also talks about the new India with high rises and people wearing western clothes yet, carrying the same old conservative notions.

A quest of knowing herself in new friends who inspire her to fight back and old parents who demand obedience. This book reveals the conflict between the old and new beliefs. It is a fight within to accept and move on.

 Meghna Pant has effectively summarised all the characters and their behaviour towards everything happening around them. One line that will make every reader take a pause is

“Women sided with men+Men sided with men=No one sided with women”,

has been efficiently incorporated in the book. Overall, an interesting story-line that will connect in different manners to its readers.


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