Shuchi Singh Kalra starts off I am Big. So What? with a bang. The book is her spunky answer to body -shamers. There are quotes and then there are easily put sentences that you just cannot stop marvelling the truth about.
“It’s funny how every mundane thing has a story to tell.”
The book is highly dramatic, but if it helps, can the drama be separated from the book and pointed to as something that does not help? No! The drama is a beautiful part of the book, even if the help it renders is not instant. This drama plays an important part in brilliantly putting across the fact about how mean unsolicited advice from the ever-nagging ‘neighbor aunties’ can be! Shuchi Singh Kalra brings this feeling to everybody – body size doesn’t matter a cinch!
The book, in its first few pages manages to make you doubt why anyone or someone ever loved you. The book does this so easily that it brings a sad smile to your face. And you don’t even have to look through Roli’s eyes. It cracks down upon your own life like a whip!
And the description of Roli’s list of suitors – each one having their own reason to be thrown out the window – is hilarious. But then, there is also a sort of resentment that washes over you at their behavior and attitude.
The random sentences and quotes that Shuchi Kalra belts out makes you laugh and enjoy the book even more.
“My awe lasted less than three seconds after which I could only see him as a walking designer hoarding with a distinct Haryanvi accent.”
“It is due to people like me that India is not further down in WHO’s malnutrition scale. Skinny twits like you have really kept the scale way down over numerous other countries.” [Literally felt the burn!]
How can a sentence like “He was so regular-looking that he almost looked familiar.” make you do a double take and re-read it to think approvingly of how it was possible? BRILLIANT!
Roli teaches a person how to overcome body-shaming. She gives you survival tactics that will most likely help you rush forward through situations that people put up intentionally or unintentionally. She shows what the psyche can do to make your life easier. “I didn’t want the weighing machine to tell me when I should start living my life. ‘Now’ was as good a time as any.”
I had to take charge of myself and my destiny, because no one else was about to do that for me. This is so true and inspiring in its enormity that your eyes light up.
The book also explores that innermost area of a girl’s heart – irrespective of the girl’s size – that tells of her not wanting to get married. Why ‘should’ a girl get married as society wants? Why ‘should’ she not take her own time to get hitched to a guy she gets comfortable with easily rather than with one she is forced to get comfortable with?
The book is strangely a little heavy on the chest, making you think of how painful it must be to go through everything that Roli went through during the course of the book. It explores how doubt is sown in relationships – be it in that of friendship or that of lovers can destroy your trust in someone. But can you really discount someone their rage because they don’t want to believe that their life is falling apart?
I am Big. So What? reiterates how cruel body-shaming is – destroying self-esteem, self-worth, and leaving you with nothing you can hold on to at the end of the day.
The book, at places, made me cringe and cry. How can someone be so cruel? It is so filmy at places that it tweaks your senses, makes you curious and wary at the same time, making you raise your eyebrows in alarm. It turns into such a slushball of romantic cheese that fills you with anticipation that it becomes difficult for you to hold back the grin on your face or the eagerness to know what happens next.
And then suddenly, you have the feeling that maybe things aren’t going to end up as well: Maybe it’s dangerous. But who knows? That ill-fated question of “Log kya kahenge!” rears its head – of course it does, it’s an Indian family! And within this multitude of feelings and emotions, the typical best friend behaviour is described easily, making you think and reminisce all the things that you do with your best friend.
I am Big. So What? slowly converges into the chick-lit romance genre – by the author’s own admission. It is exciting and fills you with pride – a pride that pushes you towards accepting yourself in whatever form you are in. And like all love stories that keep you on the edge, I am Big. So What? keeps you teetering on the brink of hope for Roli to get her happily-ever-after.
For everything that Roli has had to go through in her life – the snide comments, the body shaming and the ensuing hurt, the book is a huge encouragement and helps bring back humanity and love to a large extent!
About the Author:
Shuchi Singh Kalra is a writer, editor, and blogger based in India. She writes for publications and businesses, and also runs a writing firm called the Pixie Dust Writing Studio. Her first book, Done With Men, featured on the Amazon bestseller lists for two consecutive years. Find out more at her website.
Author: Shuchi Singh Kalra
Release: February 2016
Genre: Fiction / Women
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