Thursday, July 18, 2013

Book Review- The Secret Wish List by Preeti Shenoy

Title: The Secret Wish List

Author: Preeti Shenoy

About the story: Diksha is a 35 year old woman stuck in a bad marriage for almost 2 decades just because she committed a silly mistake when she was 16 years old. She kissed a boy, Ankit, with whom she had fallen in love during her teen years. When her parents discover her “scandalous” behavior they pack her off to her aunt’s place and emotionally blackmails her to get married at 19.

Diksha’s husband, Sandeep, is an insensitive, impervious idiot who believes in old and archaic principles and traditions. Diksha though mentally battered and bruised, sticks to him because she doesn’t have the courage to live alone and also because of her nine year old son, Abhay.

But a sudden twist of fate in her cousin’s life makes Diksha realize that life is too short to waste and she needs to enjoy the things that gives her happiness. She makes a secret wish list of things that she wants to do in her life and eventually makes it all come true. When an opportunity presents itself in front of Diksha to reconnect with her old love, Ankit, will she succumb and have an extra-marital affair or will she be the good housewife who falsely consoles herself that she is happy looking after her hearth and satisfying her husband’s every whim and desire?

Read the book to find out the decisions that Diksha makes in her life that will overturn turn her and her family’s life.

My Review: After reading Preeti Shenoy’s previous two books (Read the reviews here- Life is What You Make it, Tea for two and a piece of cake), I had great expectations from this book. I know she is an excellent storyteller and she has the potential to create a magical story from a mediocre plot. And she has achieved that to some extent with this book. The plot itself is not much to talk about; it’s just another story of an emotionally abused housewife who tries to break free from her stifling marriage. The first half of the book felt repetitive with the story flowing similar to her previous books.

But it’s the second half that picks up the broken pieces of the plot and delivers a smashing hit. Preeti’s simple narration and her attention to little details create a graphic depiction. However in some places I felt that she tries to over justify the main protagonist’s decision which was unnecessary. The characters are well-etched out and again, minute details about the character’s behavior are carefully thought of. For example in the beginning of the story when Diksha joins a Bharatanatyam class even though she wants to learn Bollywood dancing but just yields to her mother’s decision, we know that Diksh’a character is submissive and docile. It’s such attention to detail that wins over the readers in Preeti’s books.

Being a Preeti Shenoy’s novel, the grammar and the language is good except for a few editing glitches that does mar an otherwise wonderful book.

Verdict:  A warm, heart-touching tale of a woman who tries to break free from her abusive husband and find her own calling. It would have been better if the first half of the book was a bit fast-paced.

Rating: 4/5


  1. Have heard a lot about Preeti Shenoy. Never read her though, as I find her blog extremely irritating. Too much of self praise there and usually ticks me off. Somehow I had formed an opinion that her books might be just like that.

    Are her books good enough? For a first time reader of hers which book would you suggest? I seriously want to read it and know what the hype is all about.

  2. Yeah, even I have been to her blog and almost all of her posts have links to her books which IS irritating. But her books are good, I'd suggest you pick her book 'Life is what you make it'. It's an inspiring book, I finished it in a few hours(I had to skip office).

  3. a 10/10 review Prasanna... these were exactly my thoughts after reading the book...

  4. This was the first book I read by Preeti Shenoy after hearing all the hype about her.. But I have been thoroughly disappointed with the book.. No storyline and a mediocre writing style.. To be very frank after all the hype that I had heard about her, I was slightly miffed after I finished the book.

    And I cant agree more with Soumya about her being all over the top about her own praise.. Its just irks me more.. And yes, how can I forget those links to her books.. Urghhh..

    You know, what I had ordered another book of hers as well.. But I cancelled the order after reading this one..

  5. I had read 'Tea for Two and a piece of cake' and then I read 'Life is What you make it'. And this was my third book of Preeti Shenoy. I feel that she has found this comfortable niche of emotional stories and she's finding hard to break it and come out of her comfort zone. Her third book felt awfully repetitive of her previous books. And I agree, this book was the worst of all her works. But you should try reading Life is What You Make it, I'd say that was her best.

  6. I've read one book of hers..
    plot sounds nice but I've seen all this in so many movies n documentaries... I think the subject n theme is not enticing enough for me..