Life According To Lubka – Laurie Graham
This is a book that I picked up without knowing anything about it at all, without ever having read the author or heard of her before. I wasn’t sure what I would encounter in the pages of the book, but I did know that whatever it was did sound interesting. I read the book over the course of the last week, and I must say I wasn’t entirely disappointed. I didn’t exactly fall in love with the book, either.
Beryl Wexler, born in a middle-class family in Pennsylvania, hates her roots. She hates where she comes from, she hates her name, and she is not particularly fond of her family. She calls herself Buzz, a short and catchy name that suits the industry of music PR that she works in. She is ultra-passionate about her job and takes pride in all that she has achieved at work, which is, clearly, a whole lot. She always looks her best, wants to give the best impression about herself, and wants to have the last word. Sadly, in her mad rush for achievement, the ‘Beryl’ in her has gotten lost…..somewhere in the endless layers of stuff that ‘Buzz’ has covered herself in.
One fine day, Buzz finds herself pushed into a role she is not really interested in – to lead a tour of five elderly women from Bulgaria, who call themselves the Gorni Grannies. Lubka, the self-appointed leader of the Grannies, has a lot to say about everything, including Buzz’s life. How will Buzz take it? You have to read the book to find that out.
I loved the way the book has been written – in short sentences, packed with wit and meaning. It makes for a super fast read, and a highly entertaining one at that. I loved the way the author has brought out the characters of Buzz, her father, her sister, Lubka and the other Gorni Grannies through little anecdotes about their lives. I liked the ending, too. I liked the subtle way in which the author has described the influence Lubka has on Buzz. That said, the book lacked a soul, I felt. I liked the characters, but they didn’t really grip me. I didn’t really feel myself getting involved in the story.
Life According To Lubka is not the most wonderful of reads, but it is not the worst either. Why don’t you give it a try?
Climbing The Mango Trees: A Memoir Of A Childhood In India – Madhur Jaffrey
I didn’t know much about celebrity chef Madhur Jaffrey before I came across her memoir, Climbing The Mango Trees, some time ago, by chance. The book has had great reviews, and it did sound quite interesting, like something I would love to read. That’s why I picked it up, and I wasn’t disappointed at all.
Climbing The Mango Trees chronicles the author’s life, right from her childhood to her adolescence and youth, the anecdotes from her life beautifully intertwined with the food that she grew up eating. The book is well written, and a pleasure to read. It is full of warmth and nostalgia, and many parts of it took me back to memory land myself. The food part of the book is a treasure for foodies like me – I have marked up several delicious passages for later drooling pleasure. The part about the India-Pakistan partition, which the author lived through, is quite disturbing and brought tears to my eyes.
All in all, it is a lovely read. My only grouse with the book is that it seemed to end very abruptly, leaving me with a sense of the characters dangling in the air. I am not sure if there is a sequel to this book, with the rest of the story, but I would definitely love to read it, if at all there is one.
A highly recommended read.
Have you read any or both of these books? What did you think about them?
What are you reading at present?