Book Review: The Eminently Forgettable Life of Mrs Pankajam

Book Review: The Eminently Forgettable Life of Mrs Pankajam

Share this with your loved one

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
WhatsApp
Email
Print
Telegram

Meera Rajagopalan’s The Eminently Forgettable Life of Mrs. Pankajam is an epistolary novel written in the form of diary entries. Mrs. Pankajam, a 63-year old lady from Chennai is advised by her doctor to keep a diary when she starts losing her memory.

Through her several diary entries, we learn about her present and past. The best thing about the book is that it is an absolute page-turner. I have always been a person who has loved epistolary novels. There is a unique charm in getting to know the protagonist through diary entries or letters.

As the novel begins, Mrs. Pankajam welcomes us to her diary. She states that she is perhaps going to write about family gossip and the menu of the day in the diary as her life is quite uneventful. However, as we start leafing through the pages, we are enchanted by her story. Her sharp observations and unique story-telling skills laced with a generous dollop of humor make it a fast-paced read.

We are introduced to her family which comprises her husband, Srini, her two daughters, Pari and Viswa. Pari is married and settled in the USA with two kids. Mrs. Pankajam is close to her brother-in-law, Sekar and his family.

Amid Srini’s cardiac arrest, Sekar’s sickness, and an unbelievable revelation about Pari, this seemingly perfect family goes through a roller-coaster ride. The diary entries are witty and interesting, even when a lot is going on with the family. The thought-provoking questions and statements now and then compel you to contemplate.

“Don’t they say that ‘adversity does not build character; it reveals it?”

“Nothing that’s artificial can touch your soul – be it mangoes or relationships.”

“Why does spinster sound evil? Is it all the fairy tales? It sort of sounds like ‘sinister’ too, so I never use it.”

Within the present, we can spot the past of Mrs.Pankajam shining in the diary entries. She talks about her childhood best friend, Ammini whom she has not seen since she was seven. Yet, her mind keeps going back to Ammini. And at certain places, Ammini seems as much a part of her present as Pari or Viswa.

The first half of the novel is witty and humorous, whereas the second half of the novel is hauntingly moving.

An old woman, who is forgetting her daily memories, cannot forget some key memories and moments of our life. She cannot forget her childhood best friend and an incident after her marriage. Inside her mind, they merge with her present.

Our most important memories define who we are and the ones we have loved unconditionally.

I loved the way how the novel ends. It made Mrs. Pankajam’s story unforgettable. The author has skillfully narrated the story by making the protagonist an unreliable narrator as she is losing her memory. However, at the same time, she gives her readers ample opportunity to connect the dots.

This witty and touching tale will make you pause, think, and reconsider your life choices. And Mrs. Pankajam will dwell in your heart as the adorable, witty old lady who tells interesting stories. 

Do check out a feature of this book on The News Minute by Anjana Shekhar

Leave a Reply

Share this with your loved one

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
WhatsApp
Telegram
Email
Print

Should I pay for publishing my book?

Ultimately, the best choice for you will depend on your goals, resources, and personal preferences. It’s important to carefully research and consider all your options before making a decision.

Read More »
editing-and-publishing workshop

Editing and Publishing Workshop

In this workshop we will share with you our decade long experience of navigating the world of publishing in India (and abroad) . Suitable for authors looking to edit their manuscripts, publish their books and understand how to market their books effectively.

Read More »

Join our Mailing list!

Get all latest news, exclusive deals and Books updates.

Register