Friday, 1 June 2012

Book Review - Chicken Soup for the Indian Couple's Soul

So I recently read this book called Chicken Soup for the Indian Couple's Soul.

It's one of these feel good inspirational books for people who need them. As the book by-line reads - inspirational stories about love and relationships.

Firstly, this book is huge. I wasn't able to get through it in my usual time, in spite of the fact that I usually skim through books comprising short stories. I suppose this had something to do with the subject matter. I'm not much for literature aimed at inspiring, and this is the first Chicken Soup book I've read, so I wasn't even sure what to expect.

Right, so the book contains around 100 short stories (by a staggering 75+ contributing writers) split up into a bunch of interesting relationship related categories.

The book begins on a bittersweet note with 'The Odd Couple' by Tanya Mendonsa, and continues on with other stories dealing with people who met online or met each other through other means, people who seemed like they weren't right for each other, people who lost and found each other again, etc.

The second set of stories, on starting a family, is somewhat less romantic and covers a diverse range of situations in which people have found themselves in, from struggling with a new born and the consequences that inevitably follow, to not being able to have a child.

The section on love and support is less somber, and also includes a couple of stories I really like. One is travel related, and I wish it were longer. Written by Bunny Gupta, it tells of a Nepali couple and their setting up a life together.

The other, a poem by Roma Kapadia about invisible walls we build, is probably one of the most beautiful and relevant poems I've ever read.

A matter of perspective has some weird stories that don't really seem like they're going anywhere as far as a common theme is concerned, but they're decent reading anyhow even if their classification is haphazard.

The next section, In Sickness and in Health, is predictable, dealing with people sticking with each other even though one party is sick.

This theme is carried forward in Overcoming Obstacles, another set of assorted short stories, a good one being 'The Fragrance of Rice' by Nonda Chatterjee.

Coping with Death sounds like a collection of macabre stories, but a lot of them have cheerful endings, ending with new hope. Ba Bapujee and A Touch of Love are especially good examples.

The last section The Fire Never Dies is an assortment of stories that showcase stories of relationships over time, some sad, some happy. A mixed bag, like life itself.

Given the range of personalities and situations, this is the kind of book that offers enough situations or emotional settings that everyone can identify with at some point. This, and the simple prose, make it a good read for people looking for light inspirational reading.


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