Ever since I read Sophie Kinsella’s I’ve Got Your Number, I’ve developed a new-found love for “chick lit”. I thought it was all sugary sweet teeny-bopper love stories, and I really have outgrown those. But it isn’t! It’s romance all right, but pretty darn believable, told from a woman’s perspective with issues that modern women can totally relate to. But I’m still skeptical about Indian chick-lit, largely because I’m skeptical about most Indian authors. So when I got an opportunity to review Judy Balan’s Sophie Says, I took it – mainly because the story sounded interesting.
Sophia Tilgum has dated all kinds of men in thirty years. Men who’ve stalked and pleaded, men who’ve lied and cheated, men who’ve written songs and wanted to play house after three dates. And equally scary, men who’ve sported hot-pink bow ties and called her Sweet Cheeks.
So after a decade-long attempt at sustaining long-term relationships, Sophie has finally thrown in the towel and has found her calling as The Breakup Coach via her super-popular blog: Sophie Says – in which she makes a case for Single-Singles or people who are wired to remain single (because according to Sophie, commitment phobia is not a real thing) and shares her many theories on breakups.
Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Each chapter is followed by a breakup theory, and they’re really hilarious! The book starts with Sophie quitting her job as an editor at a consulting firm because she’s fed-up of being told to “stick to the template”. (Something that I am oh so familiar with!) She figures she has enough saved up to stay home for a while and figure out what to do next.
But her peace and quiet is broken by the Blah-Blah Auntyhood – three aunties who are out to coerce Sophie into finding a ‘respectable’ boyfriend so that her cousin’s arranged marriage may proceed smoothly. Not knowing how to deal with their nosiness, Sophie blurts out that she’s in a relationship. As soon as the words leave her mouth, she realizes just what she’s done, as the Blah-Blah Auntyhood immediately goes over to her parents house to share the “wonderful news”.
So Sophie does what needs to be done, speaks to a close friend to ask him to arrange for a “fake boyfriend”. She thinks she’ll be able to handle him until her cousin’s wedding, but he’s oh-so-irresistible. And he has a condition of his own – that she agree to follow his relationship advice, because he’s convinced that she’s just commitment phobic and needs to get over it. Add to this mix a very complicated If-Someday Guy, Yatan. Once he realizes that Sophie may be falling for Rahul, he promptly comes back to India to beg her not to leave him. To top it all off, her two best friends are suffering from completely different boy troubles, all of which ensures that Sophie’s life is about to turn into one of those hilarious sitcoms that is fun for everyone but her.
This is a wonderfully written book, which is hilarious and thought provoking in parts. Even though I am not commitment phobic and quite like my men to pay me sweet little compliments sometimes, I found myself nodding along to a lot of the sage advice offered by the Breakup Coach. Although I don’t think men like Rahul exist – or if they do, they’re a very well-hidden lot that I’ve never come across – Sophie Says is a perfect summer afternoon read – light-hearted, well written and laugh out loud funny.