Monday, September 11, 2006

Review of Goddess for Hire by Sonia Singh

Book Review: One of the things that happens since I have no TV, is that I get desperate for reading material. I'll read anything, and unfortunately, I can be pretty lazy about seeking my reading material. Often this means chit lit from my wife's book club lingering on a night stand. Sometimes friends visit and leave books lying about. The latter is how I stumbled across this Beverly Hills 90210 like book called Goddess for Hire by Sonia Singh. Its kind of cute though, in an after school special sort of way (I wasn't always TV-less). On the whole, I'll say I was mildly entertained during my first exposure to the world of rich spoiled Indian girls in southern California. I think the plot's almost clever. Re: the book, here's a little factual blurb from the author's site:

"A hip chick from Newport Beach, California, who's just turned thirty, discovered she's the incarnation of the Hindu goddess Kali, and happens to be unemployed and still living with her parents. Saving the world, though, may prove to be a curry-scented breeze compared to dealing with her extended Indian family. In their eyes she isn't just the black sheep -- she's low-grade mutton.

To make matters worse, despite frequent and therapeutic bouts of shopping and Starbucks, and the mentoring of a Taco Bell-loving, Coca Cola-guzzling swami, Maya has trouble just surviving, thanks to the attentions of a Kali-hating fanatic and a matchmaking aunt hell-bent on finding her a nice Indian boy. Maya has no interest in boys. She wants a man and she may have found one.

On the whole, I'd give Goddess for Hire 2 1/2 stars out of 4. I grew tired of the formulaic writing, the contrived metaphors, and all the vacuous details, but alas, not enough to put it down. For those with alternate entertainment opportunities, perhaps you should drop a star, and read this much harsher critique. Here's a snippet:

Perhaps this is the stuff teens and 20-somethings love to read or maybe it’s the kind of book the Sex in the City crowd seeks out, full of ‘intelligent’ dialogue (usually taking place in the heroine’s head) and bed-hopping, alcohol-guzzling females who want it all (but only if the rich guy pays for it). For them, Singh has come up with a 300-page caricature of NRI and ABCD life - the sit-com version. The novel is even full of commercials for practically every commodity available on the market. This may have made sense if Goddess for Hire actually were a television show in which characters conspicuously work in sponsors’ products, a Coke here, a BMW there or a bag of Doritos lying on the table. But, why is this necessary in a book? Take the publisher’s blurb on the back cover - Starbucks, Taco Bell and Coca-Cola mentioned in just one sentence alone. Read the book and it’s hard to find a page that doesn’t sound like a commercial - Carl’s Jr., Budweiser, Tommy Bahama, IKEA, California Pizza Kitchen, Manolo, Pashmina, Dolce Gabbana, TiVo and Pepsi. To name just a few. It doesn’t stop with products- if an item has a earned a spot in the American popular culture hall of fame, it’s mentioned, from movie stars (of course, Julia Roberts) and famous LA streets to Hollywood blockbusters and syndicated TV shows. One can only guess at the purpose of this name-dropping or why it’s essential to the plot.

1 comment:

Hiren said...

Well, Maya seems to have a different maya but the world at large has the same maya- for money which is why the name dropping.

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