Anuja Chauhan and her previous works -‘The Zoya Factor’ & ‘Those Pricey Thakur Girls’ have been chart-busters for quite some time. However, my bad, that I never managed to finish any of those books, barring ‘The House That BJ Built’ and here is the book review for the same:
Book Review: The House That BJ Built
‘I’ll make my sisters squirm like well-salted earthworms. I won’t sell. Even my jutti won’t sell. And if I die na, then even my gosht won’t sell!’
The late Binodini Thakur had been very clear that she would never agree to sell her hissa in her Bauji’s big old house on Hailey Road. And her daughter Bonu is determined to honour her mother’s wishes. But what to do about her four pushy aunts who are insisting she sell?
One is bald and stingy, one is jobless and manless, one needs the money to ‘save the nation’ and one is stepmother to Bonu’s childhood crush — brilliant young Bollywood director Samar Vir Singh, who promised BJ upon his deathbed that he would get the house sold, divvy the money equally and end all the bickering within the family…
The first word baby Bonu ever spoke was ‘Balls’ and indeed, she is ballsy, bullshit-intolerant, brave and beautiful.
But is she strong enough to weather emotional blackmail by the spadeful? Not to mention shady builders, wily
politicians, spies, lies and the knee-buckling hotness of Samar’s intense eyes?
Sharply observed and pulse-quickeningly romantic, this is Anuja Chauhan writing at her sparkling best!
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. She oozes out 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 ‘The House That BJ Built’ starts with the equation that 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 on 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 storyline.
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, the humorous conversations 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 characterization of the spiritual aunt whose talks and comments are a sheer humbug. All this and more has been touched upon in a lucid and an affable manner in the story.
Language and Style
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 the use of expletives be it in Hindi or English goes hand in hand with the story.
The writer makes sure that the plot unfolds slowly.This slow pace helps to keep the reader intrigued, relish the romance of Bonita-Samir and makes him/her savour the different flavours of being part of a joint family.
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……
Why should you read this book?
The House That BJ Built 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.Also, 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!
You may like to read my other book reviews here
The book The House That BJ Built was sent by the publishers in exchange for my honest review.
Title: The House That BJ Built
Author: Anuja Chauhan
Total Pages: 410 pages( Paperback Uncorrected Proof Copy)
Genre : Fiction/Contemporary-RomCom
Publishers: Westland Ltd