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Perfectly Untraditional Hardcover – 29 Mar 2011
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
All of us bring our childhood traumas and disappointments with us into our adult relationships. As we mature, we have varying degrees of success in outgrowing the ‘blame game,’ accepting ourselves, and developing compassion for others. For Shaili, the journey is an especially difficult one, because it demands that she face her true sexual orientation.
Sweta Vikram writes with great sensitivity, laced with a wonderful sense of humor that puts Shaili's drama into perspective. The characters are all beautifully drawn, especially Shaili's long-time best friend Supriya who is there for her through thick and thin. These are real, flesh and blood people who readers will remember long after reading the novel.
In this powerful, intimate portrait of self-discovery, the author enables us to see that Shaili’s disastrous missteps and misapprehensions are necessary steps in her growth as a human being. The storylines in Perfectly Untraditional are largely related through dialog between friends and family, much of it witty, all of it meaningful. Shaili’s friends and relatives –and her new husband—are challenged to widen their minds and open their hearts as Shaili reveals her true self to them. The widest abyss – between Shali and her father Suresh Kapoor – takes the longest to bridge and when resolved, brings us an ending that is as surprising as it is healing.
Perfectly Untraditional is a story about a woman Shaili who finds her true self only after being married off by her family in an arranged marriage. The story is certainly not about arrange marriages and its trepidations or even about immigration and its after effects. Its a journey of inner soul into self realization. There are some genuine sparks within the narrative and readers become curious to know more and more about the happenings in Shaili's life.
The story explores the relationship between a father and a daughter and in the process reveals various nuances of feelings and some buried secrets.
"Do you recall the last time you called me Shaili? Frankly, I don't. I was always a pronoun or a bad adjective to you."
"Don't argue! I won't tolerate it! Your mother has taught you nothing. You are just like her! ... I must stop this nonsense or else you will become like your mother and ..."
As the daughter and father gradually clear their misunderstandings, the readers are taken in into their inner space to reveal the true mysteries behind these character's actions.
The male characters in this stories are a breath of fresh air as they bring the positive energy into display in spite of their very complex life. Mr Suresh Kapoor and Shadil are both likable characters even though they have their flaws. Shadil is almost too good to be true. Shaili's best friend Su or Supriya is the most lively character and her vivaciousness helps anchor the seriousness of the main characters.
The characters are very well drawn by the author but there are no villains in the story. The drama is played up or down by the emotional upheavals within the individual characters. The author has cleverly interwoven the complexities of personalities with the simplicity of human nature creating a very interesting mix for all to enjoy. All in all a very good read that will keep the readers glued to the pages.
A book review by Smita Singh