I’m a sucker for an attractive cover and I liked ‘Wise Enough To Be Foolish’ by Gauri Jayaram on sight. Another soft spot of mine is a well-written acknowledgement section since I get a glimpse into an author’s world by the people she thanks and the words she uses. Gauri Jayaram kept me happy in this area too and I was in a mellow mood when I started reading this book. (My book gods are smiling on me and rewarding me for having to read a couple of dismal works in the past month.) ‘Wise Enough To Be Foolish’ is a lovely book and as with ‘The Storyteller’, I finished it within two days.
The blurb on the back cover describes this as a ‘fictionalized memoir’ and the author has said that the story reflects her life with just a few names and events which have been changed. I would say that this is the first coming of age book from an Indian woman’s perspective. The story resonates a lot with me because Gauri and I grew up in the same time period. A time when the mobile phone was seen only as a trendy accessory in action movies, when the computer had not established itself as a family member, when divorce was seen as worse than murder.
WIse Enough To Be Foolish traces the journey of the protagonist Gauri, from her childhood spent in army cantonments, through her college days in Bombay and right upto the time in her twenties when she finds her soulmate.Being the middle child is never easy and Gauri is no exception to this rule. Her unfulfilled expectations for unconditional love from her parents, shapes Gauris character. We see her frittering away her school life until timely intervention by a well meaning teacher and a friend shows her a new facet of herself, a desire to face challenges and excel. School girl crushes, foes turned friends and teenage angst is showcased brilliantly by the author.
A turning point in her life occurs when she moves to Bombay to attend college. Life in the hostel without the safety net of her parents presence is a roller coaster ride of emotions .Gauri explores her independence and gets to know her strengths and vulnerabilities. Friends accept Gauri as she is, and this is a tremendous boost for her confidence. Opting to work rather than continue her studies, she enters the next phase of her life, a working woman’s, with all the responsibilities which comes with becoming an earning member. We get swept along with Gauri as she goes through all the uncertainties and agonies of a newbie in the career world. The highs and lows of love and betrayal and a host of other events mark her adult life.
Gauri is unconventional, strong and very vocal in all that she does. This makes the book an engrossing read. We’ve had countless stories of the growing –up years and the quest for adulthood. This book stands out with its fast pace and beautiful narration. I felt like I’d just listened to a good friend telling me the story of her very colourful, eventful life. Gauri is a spirited, vivacious girl and her pursuit of her goals is an engrossing read.
My heartfelt thanks to Marina of Jaico Publications for sending me this incredible book for review.