Wake up, girl!, by Niharika Jindal, 2019

Title: Wake up, girl!

Author: Niharika Jindal

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Genre: Chick-lit/Contemporary 

Format: Paperback

Language: English

No. of pages: 220

Recommended for: New adult

Synopsis:

Naina is back from America, after four years of living on her own. A natural rebel, she has had some fairly life-altering experiences which Mum and Dad would not approve of at all if they get to know. But will her spirit and her stand be enough to fight the forces of parental pressure and heckling aunties baying for her nuptials?

Back in the bosom of her conservative family, Naina cannot even begin to imagine the turn her life is going to take. It’s wedding season, and she must now be married. Because every self-respecting upper-middle-class family in India do that, right? Marriage at the ‘right age’ to the ‘right family’…whether she likes it or not.

Naina’s worst nightmares are about to come true. What hits her within a week of being at home completely changes her world and her life as she embarks on a journey that will define her and provide her an education that only life can. 

Ayaan, Rohan, Akshay, Shiven. Who will it be? Will she even have a shot at romance, being with someone she loves, irrespective of his caste, respectability or bank balance? She will have to summon all the chutzpah within to fight for herself. For her notions of love and living. 

Will she succeed? Like a chrysalis unfolding, will Naina, too, emerge with her wings unscathed?

My review:

A light and humourous read, Wake Up, Girl! was a refreshing read and I finished it in a day.

The author has made the story quite realistic with the use of stereotypes (so warning: if you do not like stereotypes, then this might not be the book for you. Through the use of these characters, the author has been able to portray a general peak into the lives of mainstream Indian people. Of course there are always exceptions, so please take no offense).

Naina seems to be a pretty mild kind of person in the beginning – one might even say, a pushover. However, as the story progresses we see her grow into her own person. As such, it might not be wrong to call it a bildungsroman novel, albeit not a traditional one. The changes that she goes through are nice to read about and we see her evolve into her own being. She finally stands up to her elders – to tell them about what she wants, rather than always blindly following them despite her contrasting views.

A portrayal of the Indian society is given in this story and it so relatable to so many of us belonging to the “marriageable age”. The entire idea of societal expectation is such a burden and despite that, many elders are still not acknowledging it and instead, are themselves implementing it on others.

The issue of homosexuality also comes up here. Despite the 377 issue, elders are still not accepting it. However, the fact that a majority of us youngsters do, shows great promise for the future of India.

Wake up, girl! is also full of themes of friendship, family (or family drama, if you like), love, lust, societal expectations and so on. The title of the book seems just like what Naina would say to herself when she has had enough of these. The cover is pretty cool as well.

Verdict:

I really enjoyed this book and I rate it a 4/5 stars.

About the author:

Niharika Jindal is a 26-year-old writer from Ahmedabad. After spending four years studying Psychology in Claremont McKenna College, California, she returned to India clueless about what to do next. She started out with a few stints in HR, during which time she met her husband on a coffee date, and it was love at first sight. 
After many drives and dinner dates, Niharika is happily married. However, her fairy tale was cut short when she developed a chronic back condition-which she has been battling ever since. Constantly pestered by family and friends to do something in order to take her mind off the pain, Niharika’s saving grace came in the form of reading, her favourite childhood pastime. She decided to give writing a shot. Penning Wake Up, girl! has been the most pleasurable experience, and made her realize her true passion in life. 
In her free time, Niharika can be found reading, listening to romantic songs, having cold coffee, shopping online, catching up with old friends, doing physiotherapy, and watching TV shows on repeat with her husband.

About the reviewer:

Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc.  She can be contacted at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com .

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