Book Review– The House that BJ Built

THIS IS NOT A SPOILER FREE REVIEW

As you guys may have deduced from my pointed silence, I am suffering from abject writer’s block. It may be time for that to end now, however. As you know, there no better inspiration that irritation and I’ve read a book today that’s irritated me for many reasons. 

The book is The House that BJ Built by Anuja Chauhan. 

First, a bit of background: After downloading the Kindle app on my phone, I’ve taken to randomly buying inexpensive (and sometimes slightly expensive) books that catch my fancy when I’m bored on my commutes. These are books that are usually easy to read page-turners.Potboilers, so to speak. (Although I did read The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood recently, which is a dystopic novel. I liked it at the time, although, on second thought, some of it irritated me as well. But that’s a topic for another day) The reason I do this despite having a long suffering, neglected and marvellously well-written Wolf Hall in my bag is that it’s usually 8pm by the time I leave office, by which time it’s too dark to read a regular book. 

A friend of mine told me Anuja Chauhan’s books are quite fun, so I decided to go for it. Needless to say, I may never talk to her again. (Kidding. Mostly)

Anyway, back to The House that BJ Built: 

This book started decently enough. I went into it expecting a light-hearted romantic comedy, nothing too heavy and it seemed to deliver. As I read on, though, it mostly only irritated me. 

I’ve decided to make bullet points on the most facepalm moments in the book.

SPOILER ALERT

  • The author uses the word “pugnacious” too often
  • The book treats issues of domestic violence too lightly and seriously trivialises it. What else do you expect from lower-class Muslims, right? Completely normal. And fixable by a vasectomy without the consent of the abusive husband
  • The male protagonist thinks it’s ok to kiss one woman while in a relationship with another so long as you don’t have sex with the woman you’re in a relationship with after having kissed the new woman.
  • The female protagonist not only agrees with the above, but also is touched that he didn’t have sex after having kissed her
  • Why the fuck are step-cousins romancing each other?! I get that y’all aren’t related by blood, but eesh. 
  • The Thakur girls repeatedly mock their sister for shaving her head and not having her upper lip waxed. Sure, she turns out to be “evil” at the end of the book but maybe she wouldn’t have hated your guts if you hadn’t mocked her appearance or her bodily autonomy. Just a thought.
  • Why the fuck are north-easterners referred to as chinks and other derogatory terms so often?! Is it supposed to be a wry social commentary or something, because it doesn’t seem that way at all. 
  • There’s a money hungry Muslim who’s supposedly standing up for the rights of two north-easterners (who are actually from Bhutan!) and it so happens that he was actually being an opportunistic asshole. Therefore, as the characters conclude, these Muslims are all like this only. Extreme facepalm
  • The representation of the judicial system made me want to weep. They discovered that a will was fake and they didn’t even have to tell the judge. The case, along with the interim order not to alienate, authomatically ceased to exist and they could sell the property. 
  • SELLING IMMOVABLE PROPERTY IS NOT THAT SIMPLE
  • Trademark infringement is fine so long as you have big eyes, curly black hair, and a big butt and big boobs while infringing the trademarks. 
  • The female protagonist is referred to as “brat” and does not mind it despite being a 26 year old entrepreneur. Other characters are also referred to as “brat”, mostly girls and women of various ages. They all accept it as a matter of course.
  • When a character calls out the male protagonist for making a sexist item song, he says that he has 4 aunts who would ostracize him if he made a sexist song and therefore it isn’t sexist.
  • The mother of a seemingly talented female actor yells at her daughter for not stealing the male protagonist from his girlfriend in the way that the female protagonist was able to. 
  • Everyone and his neighbour is concerned that the youngest Thakur girl is unmarried even though she seems successful and fulfilled
  • One of the characters talks about “the cheerleader effect”, which is from the sitcom How I Met your Mother, without any attribution whatsoever. But eh. We already know how the author feels about intellectual property. 
  • The only likable character, BJ, the grandfather, dies early on in the book. 
  • Seriously, what kind of name is BJ? You know about “cheerleader effect” but you don’t know what BJ is??!

    So… That was a painful book to read. I wouldn’t recommend it. But at least it made me blog again. So yay… I think. 

    If you’ve read this book, tell me what you thought of it? Feel free to tell me if you disagree. Have you read other books by the same author? How did you like them? Let me know in the comments

    Hoot.

    –Sin

    Advertisements

    Non – fiction Month Failures

    I read fiction, guys.

    I lost my grandfather, my only living grandparent, to a losing battle with Parkinson’s on the 21st of this month.

    On the 22nd, I gave in and picked up a novel and read a chunk of it. I never ended up finishing it though. I never picked up any non-fiction books either, after.

    On the 28th, I had a job interview that could have gone either way. They haven’t told gotten back to me yet. I got home, feeling drained, and Career of Evil finally arrived very, very late even though I’d pre-ordered it. (Thanks for that, Amazon!) 

    Regardless, I was a tiny bit happy to see it.

    12145401_434409476742683_492853654_n

    Yup. Just a tad.

    I finally gave in on 29th, which was yesterday, and decided that non-fiction was a bust. It had drained me mentally to read Being Mortal, enlightening though it was, because it had made me realise all the ways in which we’d failed my grandfather, who was already beyond help by then.

    I picked up Career of Evil and sped through it, as one always does with Cormoran Strike novels. I finished it today. Robert Galbraith continues, as always, to amaze and awe and this installment may be my favourite one yet. I am working on a review for this book, so you can look forward to that in the next few days. 🙂

    I did learn something about myself during this month though. I not only stress-eat, but also stress-read. And I only stress-read fiction. Non-fiction is an enjoyable learning experience, but fiction is my second home.

    Nonetheless, I read some amazing non-fiction this month, books I may never have gotten to otherwise, in my rush of reading all the good novels I can get my hands on. I’ll continue to read non-fiction,at least a book each month or every two months. And I’ll try to do non-fiction month again next year.

    Until then, I would love to hear some non-fiction recommendations from you guys. I would also like to know if you guys prefer fiction or non-fiction, and which genres. Let me know in the comments, guys. 🙂

    If you guys want to stalk me, you’re welcome to. I do have a glamorous and fascinating life. Here are the links:

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/owlishwriter
    Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8681585-sindhu
    Twitter: @sindrao22
    Email: owlishreader@gmail.com
    Instagram: owlishphotographer

    Cheers,

    Hoot.

    Sin

    Banned Books Week (September 27th– October 3rd)

    As a lot of you may know, Banned Books Week starts tomorrow!

    Here’s there website: http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/

    And here’s their Twitter: @BannedBooksWeek

    Banned Books week is intended to encourage reading, literacy and critical thought, which are all important and laudable goals. I can’t help feel that we’re moving farther away from these goals every day, especially over matters of religion. Let’s try to read books that may shock and confuse us, this week, because it’s ok to be shocked, confused and unhappy, as long as it makes us think. Right?

    I’ll be reading and reviewing banned and controversial books throughout the week. What are your plans? Do you have any must-read recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments. 🙂

    Hoot

    Sin