Book Review: Life isn’t all ha ha hee hee by Meera Syal

In my one week off from school, I read around four books from my massive winter book haul. It was honestly so relaxing, to spend entire days lying in bed under the sunshine with the air conditioner switched on, reading and sleeping and then reading again. These four books were:

  • Life isn’t all ha ha hee hee by Meera Syal
  • Lord of The Flies by William Golding
  • The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (I read this for the 12th time so won’t be writing a review for it)


Okay,  so the first book I read was: Life isn’t all ha ha hee hee by Meera Syal. I’ve already read a novel by Meera before, and she has a poignant writing style filled with hilarity here and there.


In the aforementioned book of hers, Meera writes about 3 Indian women who are trying to manage their housework and jobs. She mentions the daily compromises these ladies have to make, the cultural restrictions and how hollow it eventually makes them.

Last but not the least, these women, Sunita, Tania and Chila are also living in fear from their spouses or men around them. There has been an incident where a desi wife demanded divorce and got custody of her children but the husband in a fit of passion locks himself and their kids inside the car and sets fire to it. Sunita and Chila constantly are reminded of this in order to not overstep the set boundaries; while Tania battles with her past, remembering her father’s moods and how her mother tip-toed around them, fiercely promising to herself that she won’t end up like such desi wives.

And this is exactly why I don’t understand how people could term it, ‘spicy, hilarious and sad,’ or ‘page-turning comedy’ when there was an overall theme of horror looming around the heads of these three women, reminding us that if they make one fatal move, something really bad would happen. And it does happen, in the very end, but these three make through it by standing up for each other; establishing an even larger theme of love, friendship and betrayal.


My exact thoughts about this book are penned down by a Goodread’s user:

‘I didn’t write a review before, but reading others’ I felt I had to respond. I thought it was a bit offensive that people labeled this light–just because it’s about women’s lives doesn’t mean it’s light at all. Do you call death, infidelity, social injustice, etc. light? In fact, I think this contains quite a meaningful examination of a lot of important issues (diaspora, women’s roles, the intersection of cultures and generations) and is really complex and beautifully written. Don’t even get me started on those who called it “chick lit.” While I find that term problematic enough, I can appreciate the type of book generally named in that category; yet this is definitely not part of that group. This is literature, pure and simple.’

Favourite quote from the book: 
‘After all, any man who can’t meet you without bringing his parents along is hardly the type to make your heart sprout wings and dance the tango.’

Favourite paragraph from the book:
‘Ask most of my girlfriends, ranging in hue from tinted copper to Dravidian blue-black; between them they run business empires, save lives on operating tables, mould and develop young minds, trade in non-existent commodities with shouting barrow boys, kick ass across courtrooms and computer screens. In the outside world, they fly on home-grown wings. Then they reach their front doors and forget it all. The step over the threshold, the Armani suit shrinks and crumples away, the pencil skirt feels blowsy and tight, the head bows, the shoulders sag, within a minute they are basting and baking and burning fingers over a hot griddle, they are soothing children and saying sorry, bathing in-laws and burning with guilt, packing lunch-boxes and pouring oil over choppy waters, telling everyone who will listen they don’t mind, wondering why they left their minds next to muddy wellies and pile of junk mail in the front porch.’

Book Rating:
4/5 stars


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