One chapter a day would be the ideal pace for reading the book Goodnight and God Bless by Anita Nair, I reasoned as I ordered the book from Amazon and awaited it’s arrival. The reviews said it was a collection of bedside ruminations by Anita Nair and would be a good bed time read. But as soon as the book arrived, I gulped down the first four chapters😌.
She talks about the weft and wrap of her everyday life at her home in Bangalore, her family and friends, other writers and writing📝. You cannot ignore the interesting footnotes she has included in the pages. They are entertainingly informative.
The book is a collection of her writings published in various newspapers; it’s is part an autobiography part a journal but reads like a series of short stories. As the author clarifies on the distinction “Often the writer of a memoir or an autobiography overlooks the details and tends to concentrate on the greater meanings of existence, while a journal provides a peek-a-boo images of a person..”
The author recalls her stint in advertising which she says proved most valuable when she became a full time writer.
“On my last day in advertising, I exhaled. The relief was immense and on numerous counts; I would never have to attend a meeting where clients, even if their chances of being knighted was one in a million, have to be addressed as ‘Sir’.”
I love her writing. In the second sitting, I finish till chapter 13😀. There is no contents page, so I check the last pages, there are 42 chapters in all. At this pace the novelty a new book will last for a couple of days. But this is totally okay, because I want to go back to select chapters and read them again.
She talks about the way she selects books for reading; for this she quotes a line from Sue Townsend’s book The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾
“I am reading The Black Prince by Iris Murdoch. I can understand only one word in ten. It is now my ambition to actually enjoy one of her books. Then I will know I am above the common herd.“🙃
I have The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ lurking somewhere in the cupboard at my parents home in Kerala and in good condition after all these years. I have read this book over and over again when in school, it never lets you down.
The author and magically makes memorable the ordinary of everyday, that’s what makes the book so charming. As she says “The writer acquires substance here in the backroom of her life. Food had to be roasted, clothes washed and ironed and visits made. Without the everyday, there is no novel or characters who eat and talk, love and cry, despair and dream, hope and live…”
Afternoon of day 2 and I stop at chapter 22, 20 more to go.
Among the latter chapters, I liked the one where she talks about the mother-daughter relationship.
“…But after the first twenty-four hours, we are at each other’s throats.” Why?
“Boundaries, that is what a mother is responsible for.” Mothers are blamed for the failures that arise in her daughter’s life, esp. with respect to her appearance, attitude and conduct in society and later family life “You didn’t teach her the role in her life. You let her stray. And hence you are a bad mother.” These words by the author sums up every mother’s innate fear.
She takes us on her book readings, tours, shares inspiration for her novels; a window into her world, the book is funny, acerbic, informative, soothing, calming and filling. A brilliant book; her novels are a treat and this book on herself tops all of them so far.
Happy Valentine’s Day 💖
Till next post, take care !!