Book Name: Secret Diary of an Incurable Romantic (Um… and a closet alcoholic)
Author: Chitrangada Mukherjee
Book Blurb: Quirky, honest, and always relatable, Secret Diary… chronicles a year in the life of a recently widowed thirty-year-old woman, Madhubala Ray, who copes with what life has thrown at her in her own distinctive way. Men, wine and vodka are never too far from her lips as she nurses a wound whose best medication seems to be time. Or is it? Madhu is one of the most achingly and frustratingly real characters you’d have read in a long time!
Review: Secret Diary of an Incurable Romantic is a sort of hybrid book. It is part hilarious and also a morbid tale. It alternates between humour and sadness. But that is alright, since that is how life is- grey but it also has adequate amount of optimism and over the top moments that sort of balances this book.
The story is about Madhubala (or Madhu), a modern woman who lives with her mother in law. She has a job and has lost her husband in an accident. She is not your typical widow character and loves life under the watchful eye of her mother in law. So she occasionally manages to sneak out for dalliances with some male partners and lives a goody-goody life at home.
“Sleeping with someone isn’t that big a deal as it’s made out to be. But what happens later, certainly is.”
Chitrangda has painted the character of Madhu with finesse and style. She plays with the character and places her in unique situations that bring out the emotional side of Madhu. Her language skills are extraordinary and she holds the plot very well. Madhu does not come across as a bad girl but simply a woman who hasn’t given up on life. You can only end up sympathising with her in the end and hope for a happy ending for she truly deserves it.
Balancing her character is her orthodox mother in law or Lalitaji who comes across as a grumpy old woman. While Madhu wants to enjoy, Lalita acts as a restrictive guardian. The two women manage to run their household and have some semblance of a normal life but there are skeletons in the cupboard.
Madhu manages to make her vodka from the lemons life has offered her and isn’t apologetic about enjoying her drinks. But will she find some stability in her life? Will she find love in the end?