If Today Be Sweet by Thrity Umrigar

Cross-posted at BookReviews at Bookrack

I started this book with high expectations after reading and loving  ‘The Weight of Heaven’ by the same author.

The book is set in America, where Tehmina Sethna, still raw after losing her husband, Rustom, has come for a vacation at her son Sorab and American daughter-in-law, Suzanne’s house. Sorab has asked her to relocate to America and live with them. Tehmina is in a qaundry. She is unsure of the path that she ought to take. Bombay has been her home since her wedding and she is not sure if she is willing to give it up and move to a new place. She also has some tussles with Sorab’s son Cookie(Cavas) who claims that he is an ‘all American boy’, when she reminds him that he is ‘half-Indian’.  Sorab and his wife, while they want her to live with them , have their own sources of worries. At a time when she needs to make one of her life’s important decision, on her own, her husband’s absence hits home, for her. She was so used to his being around, taking care of things, helping every body mingle.  Rustom was as comfortable in America as he was in Bombay. She felt she needed him to make everything bearable, and not having him around was taking a toll on her.

Finally a series of events help her make up her mind.

This book, for me, was quite a disappointment. I felt that the story had a lot of potential, but in a lot of ways, failed to deliver. A lot of clichéd views, how India was great and everything in America is the pits, came across, which I felt was rather judgemental. It almost felt as if Tehmina was the only conscientious person in the place they lived and almost every body else was obsessed with material comforts than with emotions or feelings..  Tehmina reminisces of how people in India are ‘fearless’, in crossing roads, not wearing seat belts while the life in America was  sterile and antiseptic. While it could be Tehmina’s views, I felt it reduced the impact of the story for me.  There were a lot of stereotyped characters which were either too good to be true or totally black.

I felt ‘The Weight of Heaven’ had much better, much more balanced characters.  I did like the way the book explored the emotions that Tehmina, Sorab and Suzanne felt in the various situations in the book. Sorab’s frustrations, Suzanne’s understanding and frustrations with her mother-in-law. Tehmina’s reaction to things, the way she felt that she was unable to mourn her husband properly, her longing for the things that she considers familiar and homely. It was still an interesting read, but I would not give it more than a 2 out of five.

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20 thoughts on “If Today Be Sweet by Thrity Umrigar

    • May be I wil keep this reserved for a rainy day when I hv nothing else then 😉

      I did not enjoy it all that much because I felt it was too cliched and sterotypical.. But it is still not a bad read, to be honest. My expectations might have been too high 🙂

      • I think thatz what happens with a few of Chitra’s books too 🙂 Her POI is so gud that we expect a lot from the others 🙂

        Two ppl who dnt disappoint are Judi and Joanna no?

        • Oh yes! Both of them are really good. Have you read Marian Keyes? She is good too – but she is more of a fun read – chicklits 🙂 But I love the way she writes. Will do a review on one of hers – I have so many piled up, that I am scared I will forget the story if I take this long to write them up 🙂

    • This comment I left before I read the review, to mark my position .. this one and my other comment dnt gel together na 😉

      LOL! I did not reply to it, because I thought I replied together to the second one – lazy me 🙂

  1. me second! 😀
    I’m quite sure I won’t be buying it or reading it! 😀

    Do read it if you get in a lib, but I wouldn’t be buying it either 🙂

  2. Ok, this is about a ghost (pic in the cover) who was used to sucking sour blood and the title is her request “if today be sweet” !! See, I keep myself updated on books ! 😀

  3. I feel talk like Indians are brave to cross roads fearlessly and drive without seat belts indicate an inferiority complex one need not feel. Disappointing,,,

    I agree, IHM! It is just a reflection of our inferiority complex, which we really don’t need. Every country/culture has things that are good and bad and there is really nothing wrong in adopting the good stuff while trying to get rid of what is wrong, is there?

  4. I came across this one but let it pass and after reading your review, I am glad I did. But don’t let this stop you from reading The Space Between Us!! Have you already?

    Nahi re, my lib has not managed to procure it for me 😦 The books that come from other libs in the network takes longer 😦

  5. But you know, Smitha, this review of yours would get a 4.5 out of 5 from me 🙂 I just started reading ‘space between us’ and am loving it. Just haven’t found enough time to get through with the book.. but really waiting to read all of it soon!!

    • You are too sweet, Pals 🙂 I am still waiting for The Space between us! I have heard that it is really good! I loved her ‘The weight of heaven though 🙂

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