Family Planning, by Karan Mahajan

Family Planning, by Karan Mahajan

Title: Family Planning
Author: Karan Mahajan
Pages: 264
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Copyright: 2008
Format: Paperback
Rating: [rating:3]

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I received this book for free from the publisher. All content and opinions are my own.

Rakesh Ahuja has thirteen children (with one on the way) and a wife whom he is attracted to only when she is pregnant. He is the Minister of Urban Development in the Indian government, but his personal and political clashes are taking their toll. In particular, he’s dealing with his immature and moody oldest son, Arjun, and a political coup started by the (on-screen) death of the country’s most famous soap star.

I have to say that I just didn’t “get” this book. Many of the other reviews characterize it as amusing or farcical. I failed to see the comedy in most of it. I didn’t understand many of the cultural references, which was largely my lack, but it was still frustrating. The writing was fine, but I was often confused. I think, in large part, due to some of the bilingual references and misspellings.  Still, there were some pretty good, memorable lines throughout. Here’s my favorite:

“He was squeezing his butt to hold in the piss. It appeared, strangely, to work.”

A little crude, but funny.  Though I struggled with this book, I must caution that it may have just been me. I may have completely missed the boat or the point. I might have some mental block that is no fault of the author. Many critics really enjoyed this book. Even for me, towards the end, something kind of reminded me of Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut. Mr. Mahajan can take comfort in the fact that I don’t really “get” Mr. Vonnegut either. If you “get” that kind of thing, this may be the book for you.

To decide for yourself, you can read the first few chapters of Family Planning and the “P.S.” materials here.

Family Planning, by Karan Mahajan [rating:3]

GIVEAWAY. I’ve giving away my copy of Family Planning. If you’d like to be entered to win it, please leave a comment below (and an email address). I’ll randomly select a winner on Wednesday.

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