Here is another book sent by the publishers in exchange for my honest review: Anuja Chauhan’s ‘The House That BJ Built’. Though familiar with Anuja Chauhan and her previous works(The Zoya Factor&Those Pricey Thakur Girls) I never managed to finish any of the books,barring ‘The House That BJ Built’ and here is the book review:
Let me start with the book cover. As I understand from the ‘Acknowledgements’ cited by the writer,it is one of her daughters who has posed for the cover and the girl rightly airs an ‘I give a damn’ attitude oozing with the required confidence,grit and determination. The design aptly conveys what is expected of the book- A determined girl (Bonita) guarding the gates of a mansion against all odds!
This book is a sequel to Anuja’s book ‘ Those Pricey Thakur Girls’. Still, the story has been woven so well that the reader will not be left clueless even if he/she is not familiar with the prequel. Also,the blurb helps the reader by giving a short recap of the ‘prequel’.
This sequel starts with the equation which Samar and Zeeshan share : being a part of the film fraternity,their follies,their challenges and the subsequent landing of Samar at BJ’s house. Here, Samar gets to meet Bonita again after a gap of three years and there is a war of words between the two. An ailing BJ (grandfather) requests Samar to make sure he sells the house and divides the money equally among Bonita and her four aunts. However, during this process of settling the property issue,Samar is faced with a hoard of obstacles in the form of the Trings, a political honcho-Mushtaq and a very old issue which resurfaces through Ashok Thakur-the brother of BJ, who claims BJ to be an illegitimate child of the Pushkars. This revelation by Ashok Thakur puts Samar in a jeopardy as he is in the process of making a movie based on the life of ‘BJ’. Now,how Samar solves the issues in hand, how he releases his movie,how do the daughters of BJ react to the news of their father being called ‘illegitimate’ and where does all this leave ‘Bonita’ and her love-hate feelings for Samar -forms the story line.
For me the highlights of the story are the conversations between Samar and Bonita and the laughter-riot created by the four sisters.The sarcastic comments,the wit and humour and the war of words between Bonita and Samar, reminded me of ‘Beatrice and Benedick’ of Shakespeare’s play ‘Much Ado About Nothing’. The characterization of each one in this story is impressive,well defined and interesting especially the character of ‘Bonita’ which is ’rounded’ as the complexity surrounding her isn’t solved till the very end!
We get an insight into the working of the film industry, the politics of power and exploitation, the ups and downs of the judiciary and real estate, the influence of ‘money’ and its effects on human relationships and also ‘racism’ which is slowly becoming a social-evil , unfortunately! There is irony when a fake person like Susan Adams talks about ‘being real’ and a real person like Bonita gets associated with manufacturing ‘fake products’! Also ironical is the spiritual aunt whose talks and comments are sheer humbug. All this and more has been touched upon in a lucid and an affable manner in the story.
The language used is very simple, colloquial with rampant use of urban slang and Hinglish. I would have loved the story more,if only the conversations were less imprecate and lacked some of the expletives used! But then, as a work of contemporary times, I guess these go hand in hand with the story.
The writer makes sure that the plot unfolds slowly which helps to keep the reader intrigued,relish the romance of Bonita-Samir and makes him/her savour the flavours of fun that a joint family offers.
A reader is bound to fall in love with the character of ‘Bonita’ who is determined yet susceptible,tough yet caring, matured yet childish! Are you wondering how? Grab a copyyyyyy……This book is a perfect family drama with loads of humour, romance, family sentiments and of course one should not forget the villainy of some characters.Go for it for some ‘not-so -intense’ reading and laughter and end your quest for ‘the book of the season’, if you haven’t done it yet!
I give this book a rating of 4 / 5 !
Title : The House That BJ Built
Author : Anuja Chauhan
Total Pages : 410 pages( Paperback Uncorrected Proof Copy)
Genre : Fiction/Contemporary-RomCom
Publishers : Westland Ltd