Girls and the City – Book Review

Girls and the City Cover Page Book Review

Girls and the City | Book Review

Book: Girls and the City

Author: Manreet Sodhi Someshwar

Reviewed By: Manas Mukul

Publisher: HarperCollins India(15 Sep 2020)

Pages: 360 (Paperback)

Price: 399 INR

ISBN-10: 9353579430

ISBN-13: 978 9353579432

Language: English

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

My rating: 3.5/5

Girls and The City by Manreet Sodhi Someshwar is an urban story about three females in a chaotic city with all its perils intact and how they go about leading their lives while working for the same client. It is a work of fiction but it so much feels like authentic non-fiction.

I would like to express my gratitude to Blogchatter’s Book Review Program for considering me for this book review. Exciting news for all the bibliophiles – Blogchatter has launched a New Book Review section on their revamped site. Don’t forget to check that out and grab a review copy.

About the Author

Manreet Sodhi Someshwar is an award-winning and bestselling writer of five books, including the Mehrunisa series and the critically-acclaimed The Long Walk Home and The Radiance of a Thousand Suns. Hailed as ‘a star on the literary horizon’ by Khushwant Singh and garnering endorsements from Gulzar for two of her books, Manreet and her work have featured at literary festivals in Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong, India and NYC. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, the South China Morning Post and several Indian publications. Manreet lives in New York, New York, with her husband, daughter and cat.

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My Review

The cover of the page is attention-grabbing with the title standing out along with the cartoonish figure of three women symbolising the characterisation of the three main female characters. The title is apt and to the point, in fact, the use of the city, in this case, Bangalore, is no less than that of a lead character and hence gets the desired space in the title as well as the storyline. 

The back cover has a small blurb with an unnamed testimonial that says, ‘Girls and the City by Manreet Sodhi Someshwar is an unputdownable read about the big little lies we deploy to hide our dirty little secrets.’ I think if you are an urbanite this will definitely get you in a thinking mode and you will be tempted to take the book home rather than putting it back on the shelf. 

The story takes place in Bangalore and the time frame is set to Day Zero. Here, the timeframe has been used with reference to the day Bangalore gets flooded, although used here in a fictitious sense but draws several parallels from the non-fiction event of the recent past. 

The story revolves around the lives of three main female characters – Juhi Jha, Leela Lakshmi and Reshma Talwar. Juhi is a small-town girl who is ambitious and naive at the same time trying to make it big in an alien world. Leela is a talented, tenacious single mother to a four-year-old daughter, Naynika. She tries her best at the juggling act of managing her daughter, finding an apartment to stay in, trying to work out her work-life balance along with finding a good school for Naynika. 

Reshma is a hotshot young executive along with her being a fierce Punjabi girl. She lives right across from her boss and how she stumbles upon this fact will give you chuckles. There are other minor yet important characters in the story too. Virat Mehta is the managing director of their company and is a womaniser. Leela has to continuously tackle her landlady, Mrs. Rao. Kieren is Reshma’s boss. 

After the first chapter which is more like a prologue, the story goes back six months in the timeframe. Each section from hereon progresses a month forward in the storyline. This is all converging to the flooding of Bangalore. Simultaneously, we see these three women bond over work discussing the miseries of their lives while at the same time washing their dirty linen. 

Interestingly, at the end of each chapter, there is a small snippet from a police interrogation. This interrogation is about the murder of one of these characters and how the rest of them become suspects. 

Hits

The author through her narration in the third person masterfully brushes on some pertinent topics like woman harassment at the workplace, how society judges every action of a single mother, even how women cope with day-to-day filth of despicable acts like a guy masturbating in full public view. 

Although it is a bit longer compared to most of the recent fiction work coming out that usually hovers around 200 pages but I liked it. More number of nicely written pages means scope to add more meat to the characters and give the plot a proper arc.

Minor characters are also done justice. The characterisation has been done with sincerity and hence the length of the book never becomes an issue. The lucid writing style along with a great yet simple vocabulary definitely aids the pace. 

Misses

The shock and awe element could have been better as per my liking. Most of the issues that the writer brings up although relevant are a bit cliched, whether a boss being a womaniser or the nosy landlady. Although with extra pages, the ending seems a little bit rushed. 

Verdict

The story is a breezy cocktail of dirty secrets, murder, mystery, dark humor, wittiness judging society, fighting women and nice storytelling. If you liked Sex and the City or Big Little Lies, my guess is you will like this too. I am going with three and a half stars for Manreet Sodhi Someshwar’s Girls and the City. It is a good and a light one time read. I won’t be surprised if a screen adaption takes place soon.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

If you love what I write I have recently published my first Poetry book – ‘You, Me & The Universe’ – Poems on the Conspiracies of the Universe. You can order the book and find more details HERE

Drop your views about the review in the comments. If you want me to review any book for you do reach out at [email protected]

You can find previous book reviews here.

Drop your views about the review in the comments. If you want me to review any book for you do reach out at [email protected]

This review was done as part of the Blogchatter’s Book Review Program. Please sign up if you are a bibliophile.

My side of the bargain – an honest review – Find the Book here on Amazon and Goodreads.

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