Book: Spouse-The truth about marriage
Author: Shobhaa De
Summary:‘Spouse’ is De’s anecdote on marriage. Spiced up with various incidents from De’s conjugal life, this book gives us the author’s point of view on the institution of marriage, on the ideal code of conduct for both spouses in their day-to-day dealings, on a couple’s moral obligations to each other, and much more. The book defines a set of conventions that a couple could follow in their dealings with their partner, children, in-laws and friends.
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Social/Historical context:This book analyses the institution of an Indian marriage through a span of about 40 odd years. De describes and gives her thoughts on marital conventions followed in De’s generation, as well as the previous and next generations. “Today’s more liberal generation (which) takes it for granted that partners will stray” vis-à-vis 'our traditional joint family' with all its so-called ‘virtues’ and ‘values’ show how this institution has changed over the years.
Writing Style: A very interesting feature in this book is a list of suggestions, presented point wise, at the end of each chapter. These suggestions provide an effective summary to the chapter. The suggestions also give De’s precise message, in a nut shell, behind the various personal incidents narrated in the book.
Another interesting feature of the book is the highlighted quote from De in each chapter. They come as a series of pedantic do’s and don’ts. And frankly these quotes are the kinds that you would get in any woman’s magazine article on ‘how to lead a better love-life’.
But what the heck, at one level, I believe this book is meant to be just that- a series of do’s and don’ts from De on leading a good married life- a manual of sorts. Some examples of these quotes would be “Not all love-marriages pan out the way they do in Bollywood films. Keep your rose-tinted shades on if you must, but watch out for those clouds” Or “A healthy marriage needs the assurance that a partner will come through in an emergency, no matter what”.
My Thoughts:To be honest, I picked up this book about a year before my marriage. I knew who I was going to marry about 5 years before I actually got married- yes it was a love marriage. At that point in time, nervous that I was about my prospective marital status, I found this book to be an interesting read. To this day, I feel a degree of poignancy while I gloss over this book because of its realistic portrayal of the innumerous facets of marriage and of society in the context of marriage.
Book Reviewed By Ashmita Saha
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