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Updated: October 5, 2013 20:22 IST

Sugary romance

Ameeta Agnihotri
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Sophie Says by Judy Balan.
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Sophie Says by Judy Balan.

A vivid picture of the modern woman’s dilemma: to marry or not.

Sophie Thilagam, the heroine of Judy Balan’s Sophie Says, has quit her well-paying job and now has to deal with well-meaning aunts who are aghast at her single status, more so since she is almost 30. That’s over the hill on the marriage mart. Even more so because her cousin is getting married and Sophie doesn’t even have the “wedded-to-my-career” excuse any more. Thus far, Judy Balan’s latest book, Sophie Says, gives a vivid picture of the modern career woman’s dilemma: To marry or not to marry.

This book makes me wonder why turning 30 gets today’s woman into marriage mode. Is it the woman herself or society’s intrusiveness that makes her want to get hitched? Perhaps it is the fact that her biological clock is ticking, relentlessly. In Sophie’s case, however, it’s a mix of all three.

To deal with sundry aunties and her mum, Sophie conjures up a boyfriend and then panics when they want to meet him. Her friend ropes in the devastatingly handsome Ryan to be her “fake boyfriend.”

And in the midst of all this havoc in her love life, what does Sophie do? She blogs on relationships and breaking-up offering interesting advice on ending a relationship, complete with reader feedback and comments. People actually follow her advice. Sometimes they bungle badly, and tell her so. Good Samaritan that Sophie is, she replies, justifying her advice and explaining where they went wrong.

Sophie wavers between ex-boyfriend Yatan and Ryan, whose last name she doesn’t know. In fact, she does not even know what he does for a living or where he lives, because all this information is out of bounds for her. Ryan calls the shots and chooses to stroll in and out of her life. He’s also managed to charm Sophie’s mum and the aunty brigade. The bit when they ask for Ryan’s last name and Sophie conjures up “Isaac-Jacob” is hilarious. The twists and turns are quite predictable.

During all the confusion in her life, Sophie also sees her two friends through break-ups. Dee is obsessed with her boyfriend, to the extent that she stalks him online, breaking into his e-mail and Facebook accounts, till the poor chap runs away to the US. He calls from there to confess that he is gay, setting Dee free. Bonnie, an airhostess, is in a relationship with a much-older and married man. The affair lasts till his wife finds out and he leaves Bonnie in pieces.

The book, of course, hinges on Sophie’s choice of the man to share her life.

Judy Balan’s Sophie Says is an entertaining read for those who like their romance sugary sweet.

Sophie Says; Judy Balan, Westland, Rs.350.

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