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March 17, 2011

Book review - 14 : The Diary of a Social Butterfly



Author: Moni Mohsin
Publisher: Random House India



Let me start with the basics, the book is inspired from the collection of author's own columns written for Pakistan's national weekly, The Friday Times. It is in the form of a journal written during a crucial period in Pakistan history from 2001-2008 as the country faces tribulations - from 9/11 to the tsunami to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Here we meet Butterfly, Pakistan's most lovable but silly socialite. An avid party goer, inspired misspeller and unwittingly acute observer of Pakistani high society...she is unfazed as the world around her glides through in turmoil. Each of her diary entry begins with two contrasting headings, a political heading, for her husband Janoo as she fondly calls him, and another one to her own self.

To be entirely honest, The diary of a social butterfly doesn't actually feel like a book at all because there is no cohesion. At 228 pages, it is just a selection of columns slapped back-to-back in a chronological order. Books like these are small miracles of life, no one from the author to the editor to the publisher knew what actually they are trying to do with the written material. You look at them, and wonder how, at any stage of its publishing, anyone could have thought a little about the lack of a plot in the script. The characters go in and out of the narrative at their own whims and fancies and have nothing to show in terms of character sketches or growth.

The humour is derived from the constant misspellings and incorrect pronunciations, which keeps you a little engaged at the start of the book. So, angina attack becomes vagina attack, botox become buttocks and Bangkok becomes bangcock. All this makes you howl with laughter, but it gets boring after a point. After all, how much humour you can extract by being dumb. The jokes starts drying up, the one-liners become corny and you start to get fidgety while reading it. It's a book that compels you to ask many, many questions but offer very few answers in return.

On the other hand, reading about the brand orgy in this book...it silently reminded me the reason why i have always disliked Sophie Kinsella's Shopholic series. After all, how much fun you can extract from the mad "excitement" of owning designer wears and shopping for them. I can safely say after 28 years of my existence on this planet, i really don't understand this facet of women. I mean, what is such a BIG deal about owning a brand new Louis Vuitton bag or a Gucci matching belt.

I am going with a generous 1.5/5 for Moni Mohsin's 'The life of a social butterfly'. There are some genuine LOL moments, hilarious one liners and kept me in spirits. But after that, i was seriously bored. Try it, you may feel different about it. Just filling up the pages with blonde dumb talks is definitely not my way of spending good 3 hours with a book. I am definitely not chasing this butterfly again in the future. (Yes, there are talks of a sequel, #&&!#****$**$*!!!)

3 comments:

Smita said...

A sequel of this book has come up :)

But this one still lies in my rack unfinished!!! I didn't find the book gripping enough!

Smita said...

And u know this book came out of the columns of the author!

Vinnie said...

The shopaholic series was at least a bit gripping, though chicklit.
have gone thru this butterfly book a little, didnt find anything for me:)

i guess columns should be left as columns...they cant become diaries.