The prompt for the month of May for #ReadingWithMuffy is to read a book that focuses on mental health. There are many books that speak on this topic and my pick was ‘Mrs. C Remembers.’
“Empathy is not very easy to come by. For a lot of people, it only hurts when it gets personal. It must be nice for them – insensitive people are definitely more self-satisfied than others. Unfortunate for the rest of the world.”
Here’s the blurb as on Goodreads:
Mrs Anita Chatterjee, wife to one of Kolkata’s most successful men, has lived a bustling life managing her husband’s large household and mingling regularly with the rich and powerful. Now, after forty years of a life of unquestioned compliance, the only thing she can do is try to forget.
Her daughter, Sohini, is an artist living in Delhi with an unconventional partner. As Mrs C begins to engage with their ideas, she finds she can no longer ignore the tumultuous world outside. Soon she is diagnosed with a formidable medical condition, one that will allow her to let down her guard and come into her own.
Unflinching and darkly funny, Mrs C Remembers is a piercing exploration of the limits of submission, of illness and upheaval and the unfathomable powers of the human mind.
Mrs C Remembers by Himanjali Sankar: Book Review
Mrs C Remembers is a deep, thought-provoking read and it hits you hard. A poignant tale of a woman who was, since her childhood, been told that compromising is the way of life. That men are superior and it is okay to “adjust”.
Mrs C talks about her marriage and the kind of things she had to put up with, thanks to her bitchy mother-in-law. As the story moves forward you get to see her daughter Sohini’s PoV about life, spirited and carefree that she is.
Mrs. C is okay with her daughter’s rebellious nature, is fiercely protective of her but is also careful about what others think of them. She is someone who was raised in a patriarchal society and accepted it without question, all through her life.
However, she firmly believed that appearances must be maintained and social relations preserved. She does all the housework impeccably, attends kitty parties, takes care of her husband and children, and maintains their wealthy social status to the T. You couldn’t find fault with her- she never forgets things and is that so-called perfect housewife.
‘Wealthy women are nicely oblivious to how they are oppressed, because it does not involve any deprivation except in conditioning, which is rather clever. The word feminism is anathema to them.’
Mrs.C Remembers is a story that’s beautifully crafted with intricate layers. It talks about patriarchy, male chauvinism, nationalism, inequality, women empowerment, conservatism, and family dynamics without making it preachy.
You’d find yourself nod and sigh and the hard truths are like a slap on your face (in a good way, but I don’t think there is a good way about it).
Many questions pop in your head as you read the story.
Can you love a man who keeps mum when his mother showers abusive words and curses on you, day and night? Is it possible to love your mother who says your brother is superior to you just because he is a boy?
A short read, when you take a peek into the book, there isn’t anything phenomenal about it other than the same old Indian family drama- jealous mother-in-law, workaholic husband, obedient wife who worships the ground the husband walks on, a rebellious daughter, and an uninterested emotionless son.
But this book is also mostly about suppressed thoughts and emotions and how one feels when your dear one slowly succumb to mental illness. The pain of seeing them lose their identity is heartwrenching.
‘Dementia is the ultimate revenge of the Alzheimer’s patient.’
Written in a simple language, this book is masterfully crafted with a brutally honest portrayal of Dementia. It was also heartbreaking to know that the book was inspired by her mother’s struggle with dementia.
Do I Recommend?
Yes! A power-packed book that covers mental health, privilege, patriarchy, and family dynamics. It feels real and I’m glad I found a book on mental health without any stigma associated with it.
That said, here’s how my May went.
I read just this book, was feeling uninspired to do anything- be it reading, posting on bookstagram, cooking, food blogging- nothing!
Blame it on the scorching heat.
But what I did was show up every single day for an online dance fitness workshop and I have never done anything 23 days at a stretch. So, I’m glad and a huge pat on my back 🙂
Let me deal with the burn out but here’s the linky for your May reviews!
I can’t wait to find out your book choices.
So, here it is!
Let the reviews pour in.
P.S: The April Winner will be announced on my Instagram stories tomorrow. This blog post will be updated when I do.
P.P.S: I hope you are staying home, staying safe.
Lots of love and good vibes.