Imagine a family where there is a single mom and a daughter, living happily with the support of grandparents and friends. What-if the Dad makes an appearance out of nowhere? What-if the daughter doesn’t want this “Dad the Bad” to intrude into her life, but this Dad decides to become their neighbour? And the mom also appears to be (re-) smitten by the charm of this Dad?
These “what-ifs” set the premise for Rupa Gulab’s Daddy Come Lately. Priya believes that she is a posthumous child and does not miss her dad, happily living with her mom. Pinkymasi, her mother’s friend, gives them the occasional support they need, and Priya’s maternal grandparents in Dehradun welcome her during holidays.
In this peaceful life of a teenager enters the erstwhile non-existent Dad, Jeet, with his non-photogenic face full of zits, a beaky nose and a captivating sense of humour. Though Priya wills not to succumb to his efforts to befriend her, she falls for her writer Dad in no time. After the initial resentment towards him on his becoming their neighbour, Priya accepts his presence and even starts enjoying it, despite her fear about her mother getting attracted to her father.
The events that happen in this setting – the inputs/advice she gets from her classmate Aruna and her favourite teacher, Ms. Basu, her confusion regarding Aruna’s brother Sanju’s behaviour towards her, which is different depending on whether Aruna is present or absent – all add up to this interesting storyline. With so many things happening around her, what if the teenager decides to run away from home?
The story, presented from the point of view of Priya, is an insightful journey into the mind of a teenager who is thrown into abnormal circumstances, and about how she copes with it.
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- I loved the storyline. Though it is not an everyday occurrence in many families, this premise certainly brings up lots of questions and possibilities. Kudos to the author for exploring one such possibility.
- The narrative’s flow is impeccable. I read it in a single sitting.
- The sense of humour that laces the work throughout does produce occasional smiles and had me stifling my giggles a couple of times. When Aruna suggests to Ms. Basu about turning their story into a musical, Ms. Basu’s reaction had me giggling well into the next few pages.
- There is a certain positivity running through the story. In spite of the really trying circumstances, every character in the story seems to have a positive outlook. Is this, by any chance the author’s outlook towards life that is reflected?
- Amalya and Chaitali are cool, oh so cool! What a pair of extraordinary grandparents! Who would not love to have a grandparent, who is delighted at the grandchild’s rudeness?
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- I have been turning it over in my mind in several ways, but I haven’t figured out the title, yet. I do understand the significance of each word in the title. But why have a grammatically wrong phrase for a title? Or is it really grammatically wrong, perhaps some punctuation is missing (Daddy! Come lately!)? Or is it just an attempt to capture the casual browser’s attention towards the book? If it is the last, then it surely achieved its purpose. (Edit: The author Rupa clarifies that the title is a take on an old song by the Eagles: Johnny Come Lately)
- The last book I reviewed was Ananya, where the protagonist falls for the charm of the friend’s brother and that is the start of her nemesis. Here again, there are hints of Priya’s friend’s brother Sanju getting interested in her. When I started expecting the story to go along similar lines, I realized that I was not able to shake off the previous story yet. I am just wondering if I need to take some breaks between books. Otherwise, I might end up with one complex story in mind with Priya, Moh, Rohit and talk about Priya’s pregnancy and Ananya’s Dad Jeet… Yes the various worlds are slowly merging together …
Late, but best!
A copy of this book was given me by the publishers, Duckbill in return for an honest review. Thanks Duckbill.