The book cannot be called a family law book. It is basically the musings of the author.. her experiences. It's more of a autobiographical account of her different cases than any new insight into the law of marriage, divorce or any other aspect of family law. Good for a layman read not for law students.
Excellent book, but it really should have been titled: Intimacy Undone - A Mostly Sane Feminist Perspective
Books covers the issues related to divorce in India - history, social system, divorce law in theory and as it is actually implemented, two of the major issues in any divorce - property/maintenance & children. The coverage is very comprehensive and pretty much to the mark, except... where this book falter is that author's feminist views causing her to look at things from coloured lenses.
pp 33, "the misogynistic treatment of Shurpanakha for sending her to Laxman even though Laxman was married - implying an absent wife is license for sexual liaison outside marriage". It is as if Ram really meant her to be with Laxman. Both, Ram and Laxman saw through Shurpanakha and were playing with her. Just in case if jesting with a Shurpanakha is still misogynistic, then remember that she was actually a shape-shifting demon who was using low cheap tactics to woo attractive human male(s). pp 105, "interestingly, men now complain of cruelty by women more than they used to. This cannot indicate that women have only now started to become cruel, but only that men no longer have the easy option of discarding inconvenient or cruel wives. They have to take recourse to the law instead". I think, it is simply because now it is socially and legally more acceptable that men can be at receiving end of cruelty from women. And, wife filing false case is one key cruelty allegation, so maybe more wives are now filing false cases. pp 154, author tried to justify away no presumption of innocence in 498A by vague arguments, and simply that there exists a deterrent in the law of malicious prosecution. Then, just few paragraphs later author justified the filing of false 498A/406 cases by wives as they are "most powerful weapon she has" which can be used in "bona fide manner". Ho ho "bona fide??". It is absolutely wrong position. On top of it at one place author advocates that law and system can still be more women friendly, and at another place states that their misuse by wives is justified. pp 279 again author claimed that there is misuse of enabling laws by women, but it is minuscule. This is absolutely contrary the facts on the ground, just 4% conviction rate for 498a cases compared to close to 40% conviction in average criminal cases. Use of CrPC 482 by higher court to "forgive & forget" criminal proceeding cannot explain such large discrepancy, especially since such settled cases almost always include lower degree of cruelty. Speaking of degree of cruelty, if phrase "husband or relative of husband" is removed from 498a, then going by current standard of alleged cruelty, 95% of the girls will be able to file 498a on their parents by the time they turn 15.
Baring few examples like the ones highlighted above in 400 odd pages, the issue of divorce in India is excellently treated in the book. As author stated two of the forward looking changes that we need are: 1) marital assets rights of wife in longer marriages especially lasting decade or more, 2) taking perjury as serious offense especially that subverted the justice. A recommended reading for multifaceted analysis of the topic.