Book review: The Perils of Being Moderately Famous

In her debut novel, Soha talks about how her family was distinguished and accomplished from both sides. She wasn't as famous as them, but moderately famous.

In her debut novel, Soha talks about how her family was distinguished and accomplished from both sides. She wasn’t as famous as them, but moderately famous.

In her debut novel, Soha talks about how her family was distinguished and accomplished from both sides. She admits having basked in the glory of her parents, brother, and SIL Kareena. She wasn’t as famous as them, but moderately famous. While talking about her mother, she credits our foremothers (a new word!) for breaking stereotypes around women. Apparently, inter-community marriages and working moms are scorned even today.

She sketches the media and public obsession about Taimur in a hilarious way. If you are expecting the book to have any buzz about Taimur, let me save your time, it doesn’t.

She narrates her experiences of studying in London and living abroad. Later, she joined a private job in Mumbai. I specify this to emphasize the importance of financial independence for women, which she says, means you can make your own decisions. Also, Mumbai is the city of dreams, so why not?

Soha was doing commercials while working investment portfolios, but had to end her stint when she was offered her first movie.

Reveals the sexism in the stories of Bollywood movies.

Soha discreetly reveals the sexism in the stories of Bollywood movies back then. She mentions how the reviews (read trolls) affected her initially. But her family, having enough experience, told her how opinions could change within a day. There isn’t much that can be done about internet trolls. Today, when social media is and has everything, we all can relate to being trolled. Feel sad – get angry – ignore and move on.

Soha then talks about how travel has been both adventure and learning for her. Before her leaving abroad, she did travel, but under supervision. She amply details her several experiences traveling Paris, Spain, Sahara, etc., meeting new people, learning their culture and being independent too. All of this may not be learned while traveling with family, that too is an affluent one.

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The pressures to have a baby!

After talking about her marriage to Kunal Khemmu, she comes to the inevitable part of married life – the pressure to have a baby! While her family never prodded her or Kunal about it, there were so-called well-wishers who would drop hints. She emphasizes how pregnancy and the whole process of becoming parents are for the partners to plan and decide.

It doesn’t cease after conception – almost everyone around becomes an expert after you announce a pregnancy. Anything you choose for your future kid will be disdained and the adversary will be suggested. To put it simply, you’ll get contradictory advice. Follow the same process you’ve done for trolls – listen and ignore.

Addresses the next crucial topic – working mom.

She addresses the next crucial topic – working mom or SAHM. Again, both are at the receiving end of flak. SAHMs are told they chose the easy way while raising children is miles away from the word “easy”. Working moms are told that they are selfish, especially if they continue to work when it isn’t needed (read, when there’s enough money at home). Ultimately, a mom can do anything after being a mom – continue to work, become a homemaker, work from home or find a totally new interest altogether. She points how nobody would ask her father who is taking care of the kids while he’s at work, but her mother and Kareena are.

The book is cheerful and high in spirits!

The book is cheerful and high in spirits. It carries a feel-good vibe throughout. Soha’s experiences are relatable in many instances, except those of having superstar parents. The language is very simple. You might expect it to be the diary of a pampered princess, which it isn’t.

 Soha tries to be her own person rather than Sharmila Tagore’s daughter, Saif’s sister, and Kareena’s SIL while agreeing she isn’t as famous as them. If you are looking for some life-changing inspiration, or Bollywood information like which actress, fought with whom at whose party, you are at the wrong place. If you want to read a funny, breezy, and interesting story, go ahead.

I felt that the first few chapters, the ones before she left abroad for studies, were voluminous. Instead, there could be more about her Bollywood experiences. I won’t deny that I expected it to be 3/5 and my rating (which nobody cares about) is 3.5/5.


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