Book Review :: ‘The House That BJ Built’ by Anuja Chauhan

Book Review: 
Author: Anuja Chauhan
Publisher: Westland
Pages: 432

Blurb:(Courtesy: Goodreads)
I’ll make my sisters squirm like well-salted earthworms. I won’t sell. Even my jutti wont sell. And if I die na, then even my gosht won’t sell! The late Binodini Thakur had been very clear that she would never agree to sell her hissa in her Bauji’s big old house on Hailey Road. And her daughter Bonu, is determined to honor her mothers wishes.

But what to do about her four pushy aunts who are insisting she sell? One is bald and stingy, one is jobless and manless, one needs the money to ‘save the nation’ and one is stepmother to Bonus childhood crush-brilliant young Bollywood director Samar Vir Singh, who promised BJ upon his deathbed that he would get the house sold, divvy the money equally and end all the bickering within the family.

The first word baby Bonu ever spoke was ‘Balls’ and indeed, she is ballsy, bullshit-intolerant, brave and beautiful. But is she strong enough to weather emotional blackmail by the spadefull? Not to mention shady builders, wily politicians, spies, lies and the knee-buckling hotness of Samars intense eyes? Sharply observed and pulse-quickeningly romantic, this is Anuja Chauhan writing at her sparkling best!
My Review
After immensely enjoying Those Pricey Thakur Girls and that tantalizing paragraph about the sequel featuring Samar and Bonu, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the ‘The House That BJ Built’. In this much-awaited book, Anuja Chauhan focusses her imagination on society’s obsession with property, heirs and hissa(s).

The plot has three threads running, Samar’s quest for making a film which is authentic and true to life and his pledge to BJ, his grandfather; Bonita aka Bonu’s self-oath on honoring her late mother’s wishes; and external forces like chachaji, Tringjis, Mushtaq Bhai, which were working against the Thakur girls. Amongst this chaos the romance blooming between Samar and Bonu, and… surprise, surprise between Eshwari and Satish or shall I say Steesh.

The story is written in typical Anuja Chauhan’s style which brings on smiles and at times invokes laughter. Bonita is today’s girl who can recite poems with BJ, run a business and take a stand. Samar is the hot big-shot film director, who puts even the nation’s heart-throb Zeeshan to sidelines with his charm and affinity towards his priorities and values.

The story started very well with focus on the lead pair Samar Vir Singh and Bonita Singh Rajawat, but mid-way somewhere I realized I was reading more about Chachi, Anjini, Chandu and all. In the main plot of selling the house and the lawsuit only original Thakur girls and Chacha’s family were involved, Bonu and Samar were nowhere into picture!

Bonu’s resentment and confusion is understandable in the light of years of neglect by her mausis and the passionate rant fed to her by her mother, in her formative years. But why did the mausis never paid attention to the orphaned child, it is surprising because it goes against the characters’ of Anjini, Debjani and Eshwari.

I also couldn’t understand why Samar, who seemed to be a levelheaded guy, turned into a mob-pacifying stuntman. He kept appearing and disappearing in between scenes either in Mumbai or in Delhi that it was difficult keeping track.

In a Rom-Com the expectation is an equal dosage of romance and comedy, but for me THTBB is more com-com with a random sprinkling of ‘rom’, which also, it seemed, was on budget. It was as if the author is shying away the moment the rom-pairs came together in the scenes.

All in all an interesting read but not upto Zoya Factor or Those Pricey Thakur Girls.

About the Author:
Anuja Chauhan is an Indian author and advertiser. She worked in the advertising agency, JWT India, for over 17 years. She has written 3 novels, The Zoya Factor (2008), Battle For Bittora (October 2010) and Those Pricey Thakur Girls (January 2013). All three books are romances.

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