Book Review: The Spectacular Miss by Sonia Bahl


ISBN: 978-8175-9934-19

Genre: Fiction / Contemporary

Publishers: Fingerprint

Price: Rs. 250/-  ( I got the book for review from the author)
Behind the Book

I learned that I am, despite my early years spent as a swaggering boy, at heart just a middle-class, hard-working, risk-averse, un-creative, strait-laced, routine-obsessed conformist. In case I forgot to mention it, I’m also prudish to the point of being puritanical.

But at eight, Nira had only one over-powering wish—to pee standing up like a boy. In fact, to be a boy.Join Nira as she steps into her brother’s clothes and becomes the self-appointed Al Caponesque gang leader of the neighbourhood boys. Her oddball yet madly loving family shapes her personality, and a poignant relationship with her brother’s best friend shapes her life. She uses uninhibited candour to detail her coming-of-age journey from Calcutta to London, from tomboy to reluctant woman-in-progress . . . always trying to fit in, but always failing. She’s a laugh a minute, and yet she breaks your heart with her subconscious, percussive yearning for the one person who is always too old, too far, too married to be hers.

About the Author

Born and raised in Calcutta, Sonia has lived and worked in Jakarta, Miami, Johannesburg, Brussels and Singapore, making ads for everything from candy to condoms, while dreaming of changing them from 30-second spots to full length feature films. She threw caution and her full time job as Executive Creative Director, McCann-Erickson (Indonesia) to the winds and embarked on her riveting, rejection-filled screenwriting journey in the US. Finally her day job entails writing movies!

Sonia lives, writes and rewrites in Singapore and the three loves of her life remain her daughter’s scorching tennis backhand, her dog’s hunky good looks and her husband’s incredible friendship.

She can be reached through her website:

"OMG! Where was this book all these years! It should have been out when I was growing up so that my mom could breathe a sigh of relief knowing I will turn out to be fine." - My immediate reaction once I finished reading the book.

I loved the book. But if you ask me what, it is difficult to tell you. Was it Nira, or Bir perhaps... or was it her quirkiness? Must be the author's lucid style of writing that speaks a lot more than her words itself. Nah, I am sure it is because I saw my teenage days come alive in those pages.

Well, to cut a long story short there are many reasons to love this wonderful book and I cannot pick justify my love for it. I laughed, giggled and shed a tear or two while reading this book. Nira felt more like an extension of myself. Having grown up around an elder and a younger brother, I was always dressed in their hand-me-downs which happened to be shorts and t-shirts more than often. My mother was more than happy with it because I was yet to learn the subtle art of sitting demurely like a woman. Oh Nira! I wish I could hug her through those pages for making it all seem so cool and obvious. The awkwardness that I harbored all these years melted away with this read. This book almost made me feel like an awkward teenager all over again.

Witty, funny , pacy and quirky this book is an amazing read. One that is entertaining and enjoyable because of one strong reason - it is straight from the heart. There is a certain honesty in the writing, with no forced portions or jargons. And the author wins hearts with that honesty. Not to forget Bir. I am sure we all have a 'Bir' in our life, someone who cannot fit into one criteria of relationship, call it friend, guide, teacher, mentor, philosopher, best friend, crush, hero etc. and yet means the world to us. His mention invariably brought a smile to my face every single time. Maybe I have developed a huge crush on him. (*Winks*)

I cannot thank the author enough for not only sending this book across but also for penning down such a heart warming tale of coming of age. The narrative has such tenderness that even the foul mouthed words don't seem glaring. Everything fits perfectly and goes with the flow with nothing out of the place. It is an amalgamation of humor, romance and drama in the right dose. It is one thing to start on a humorous note and another to keep it intact throughout the book. The author has done this effortlessly. She is definitely one author to look out for.

The over all presentation of the book deserves a huge thumbs up. From the teasing blurb to the inviting cover. From the innovative chapter names to the layout of the pages inside. This is all about perfection.

Dear Ms. Bahl - Thank you for showing me the 'normal' in "abnormal"!

Strongly recommended to one and all. This is one book that I am surely going back to again and again, especially at times when I need a little pep me up. Because it promises to be exactly that in huge doses.

Foodie Verdict

This book is like Tokri Chaat - crispy, crunchy, juicy and full of surprises in every bite!

Source: The Brunette Diaries


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