Happily Never After is a witty, coming-of-age, story describing the plight of a lonely, internet addicted , mother of five ( three humans, one dog and one cat) ; who lives in Bangalore managing home front while her husband is in Singapore looking after his plumbing business.
Contemporary themes like loneliness, bonding with friends and family, parenting, suspicions in marriages relationship and internet dating are humorously dealt with in the book. What is way more interesting is that the entire narrative of the book is written in the form of a blog entry and a diary entry of a ten years old kid.
Today, many married couples live in distant lands- one earning for the family while the other brings up the children. At times, this arrangement becomes almost mechanical with each one having no “me-time” or “quality –time together”. An unavoidable side -effect to such a lifestyle is also doubting the partner- “Did he go back to continue his hilarious conversation with the other woman . . . . “
Parenting is yet another difficult task in hand- whether both parents are bringing up the child or a single parent is working double shifts. With the attention span of a fly and the influencing cosmopolitan magazines, it is difficult to understand the mind of a growing child, or his/her growing adrenaline punch. Further still, it is difficult to understand their adulterated terminologies with quite unwanted equivocal meanings.
“ -‘We was playing Bloody Coop’
-‘WHO taught you to say Bloody? . . . . .’
-‘No, a bloody coop to kill all dictators’
-‘ Ah a Bloody Coup!’ I said realizing what had reduced the house to its current status.”
Loneliness and its side-effects, though wittily dealt with in this book, has become a part and parcel of life and contributes a lot in making marriages an estranged relationship. It gives rise to doubts regarding the fidelity of the partner as well as self-doubts. It restricts pent-up thoughts to your minds, builds anger and emotionally strains a person. Thus, to find solace from this emotional vacuum, the protagonist ends up taking to a blog and cyber dating. While the blog is a great way of expressing one’s feelings; the sentinel of consciousness would always keep on asking how much exposure of your private life on cyberspace is too much exposure of your life?
Happily Never After also subtly deals with the psychology of men. Unlike women, men need their own time and space to express their feelings. They try to help in their own little ways which are usually often over-looked or misunderstood by their better halves.
To end this discussion, I would highlight that the points and situations put forward by the author are very practical and true; but does the constant nagging, self-doubt and emotional exhaustion portrayed by the protagonist paint her in a weak light instead of a strong woman? With this, I leave you to draw your own conclusions about the book and wish that you can survive the kind world and live Happily Ever After.