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.