book review: “the unlikely adventures of the shergill sisters” by balli kaur jaswal

I did it, guys! I read my pick from my episode on Anne Bogel’s podcast, What Should I Read Next, Episode 179 and I am popping in to share my thoughts.

But first, let me remind you what Anne said about the book when she recommended it to me.

“This is a story of three sisters. They’re on a mission. They’re on almost a pilgrimage their dying mother has sent them on…They’ve gotten older, they don’t get along…. But they’ve come together. They have adventures. It does not go as planned.

And I think this book has the right amount of fun and zany while still having concerns that are grounded in [the] reality that you and I can relate to as people that makes it not just empty or ridiculous.

They are dealing with serious things, but this is not as a serious book. This is fast and fun and keeps you moving. You’ll get to experience new places and new things and I think you’ll really enjoy the journey.” 

So, here’s what I thought.

First, if, as a reader, you are not reading books by people that are different than you (religion, cultures, race, etc.) you are doing it wrong.  That being said, until you are familiar with a culture, etc. you may struggle with some of the references like words, foods, and settings. I think my unfamiliarity hindered my capacity to fully enjoy Shergill Sisters.

Second, this book was serious but fun and zany, exactly what Anne promised.

Jaswal’s website describes the book as a “dark comedy” and I agree with that moniker. Rajni, the oldest sister, is the mom who’s 18 year-old son has impregnated his 36-year-old girlfriend. Jezmeen is the YouTube sensation, not in a good way, and this is where most of the hilarity lies. Shirina has the perfect marriage, or does she? And her situation is what brings the “serious” issues to the fore.  A concept that I was unfamiliar with but that Balli Kaur Jaswal is due to her roots in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent. That’s were the darkness lies.

Third, it is a page-turner and I read it in a day. Anne pointed out that around 300 pages is around my magic number in terms of fun fiction and she is right.  I recently picked up a copy of another novel that was about 400 pages and it took so long for it to really get going that I put it down. Pacing really is everything.

Ultimately, I enjoyed Shergill Sisters but didn’t like it as much as I did Joshilyn Jackson’s The Almost Sisters (my full review is here),  which was Anne’s reference point and the reason she selected this book. But I do think that was due, in part, to my unfamiliarity with Indian culture and not any thing else like pacing, writing style, quality of writing, etc.

So, there’s my thought on The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters. Now, onward to Anne’s other two suggestions: The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth and Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler.

3 ½ of out 5 Stars

Have you read this one? Did you enjoy it?

enjoy life…

P.S. I saw Balli Jaswal (@balli_jaswal) posted this recently on Twitter: Today in My Family Does Not Understand My Career: Both parents called in a great panic to notify me that my books were available in the library. “How are you supposed to make money? What kind of business model is this?”

book review: “never have i ever” by joshilyn jackson

Pic. Never Have I Ever

I adored “The Almost Sisters”, my best book read of 2018, so I was thrilled to get an Advanced Readers’ Copy (ARC) of Joshilyn Jackson’s Never Have I Ever (NHIE), releasing July 30. This book is also a Modern Mrs. Darcy Summer Reading Guide pick which only increased my desire to get my hand on a copy. In NHIE, Jackson ups the ante, stepping fully into the psychological territory first explored in “gods in Alabama”. It read like a departure for Jackson, yet hauntingly familiar.

The Snail on the Wall Books was kind of enough to provide me with an ARC in exchange for my thoughts and so I wanted to finish it quickly. I set aside an entire day to read it. Like most psychological thrillers, NHIE began with a slow burn but by page 100, I became interested and happily kept turning the pages to find out what happened next until I reached a satisfying conclusion (and after GoT, I needed a satisfying conclusion. LOL)

I missed the humor in The Almost Sisters that balanced out all that dark and twisty.  And it is dark, ladies and gentleman.  Individuals may find some triggers within its pages, so readers beware.  And while “The Almost Sisters” held subtle but profound social commentary, NHIE is more personal.  Jackson describes what happens when the secrets that we bury deep within us are threatened to be exposed and the lengths that we are willing to go when we’re pushed to the brink. It would make a good book club pick.

If you tend to be very conservative in your reading preferences, this may not be the pick for you.  But if you are looking for a page-turner (my personal benchmark) for the late summer read in the same vein of The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine and a darker Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, give this one a go.

3 ½ stars

Read my reviews of Mrs. Parrish here and Lies here both for the Rocket City Mom Virtual Book Club.

What are your thoughts? Have you read this or will you be reading it? Do you agree or disagree with me? And if you are looking for as noncommital a book club as you can get, check out the RCM Virtual Book Club.

enjoy life…

 

quick lit – next page, please {march 2019}

 

During these monthly posts, I like to look at what I am currently reading, have read, and have abandoned because it just wasn’t for me.

Currently Reading

  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I have stayed up half the night three nights in a row to read “just one more page”.
  • The Next Right Thing: A Simple, Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions by Emily P. Freeman and This Messy Magnificent Life: A Field Guide by Geneen Roth. I loved The Next Right Thing and wrote a full review here. Like I said in that review, this book and Messy Magnificent Life are meant to be read again and again.  And I’m doing just that.
  • The Life-Changing Habit of Tidying Up and Spark Joy by Marie Kondo. Due to two trips out of town, my tidying has been delayed. I still hope to finish by the end of May. I’m rereading these two according to the categories I’m dealing with at the time. Komono is next.

Read

  • Where We Belong by Emily Giffin. Finished reading this one for our Rocket City Mom Virtual Book Club. My full review will be up on their site shortly. I will say this, if you’re curious about what could possibly happen when an adoptive teen finds her birth mom, you might like this one.
  • Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia McLachlan. I read this one because I am helping my sister with my nephew’s English (go figure, LOL). He had to write a report on the book and I had never read it before. Very nice. Very sweet.
  • The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance – What Women Should Know by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. This one was full of research and facts about some of the difference between men and women and how women sometimes sabotage their own confidence. It wasn’t necessarily as story-driven as Quiet (thanks for the language, Modern Mrs. Darcy) but a good informative read. I learned a lot about improving my own confidence.
  • The Confidence Code for Girls: Taking Risks, Messing Up, and Becoming Your Amazingly Imperfect, Totally Powerful Self by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. I had to pick this up to see how different it was for the one for women. It wasn’t full of as much research and was full of scenarios for your preteen or teen to work through. I think it would be a good read for any girl with an older family member or a mentor.
  • Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process by John McPhee. I was happy to finally finish this one and fulfil my commitment to read at least one book on writing craft per quarter. I had been struggling.
  • The Next Right Thing: A Simple, Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions by Emily P. Freeman. Read it. That’s all I’m going to say.

On Hold/Abandoned Reading

  • The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Felt like a slog. I had to let it go.

What have you been reading?

enjoy life…

Per usual, I am linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy. I am amazed by that community. You should check it out.