Title: What Mina Did
Author: Geeta Menon
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Publication Date: 2019
Purchase Link: Amazon
It’s been a while since I reviewed a book on my blog. Head over to my Instagram profile to keep up with mini-reviews of books, which I post regularly. Today on my reviewing table is Rupa Publications’ “What Mina Did” by Geeta Menon.
Mina and Neelu are best friends since childhood. Neelu is a steadfast rock for Mina when she goes through a traumatic incident in Bangalore. Soon after, Mina moves to the US, and when Neelu needs her friend the most, Mina is too busy with her own problems to offer support.
The book is the story of two women coming to terms with adult life, and the toll it takes on their friendship.
The blurb at the back of this book is radically different from the plot I have outlined here. The title, the cover page design and the synopsis, portray “What Mina Did” as a murder mystery and thriller. However, the actual storyline cannot be classified as a thriller or mystery. For this reason, I was sorely disappointed while reading the book. Had I known I was reading a book about friendship instead of the juicy mystery I was expecting, I might have enjoyed it more. This kind of obvious marketing ploy can put off the discerning reader of today.
“What Mina Did” is a good first attempt at novel-writing. There is a credible plot, it moves at an elegant pace, and the characters are given time to develop and become engaging. The denouement, however, lacks impact.
Further, I felt a strong disconnect in the first and second halves of the book. Mina’s traumatic incident in India, is at complete variance with the romantic struggles that Neelu faces. Perhaps, the two tales could have been written as short stories in an anthology. That medium might have done them justice.
There are far better books that have been written on Indian women abroad (The Namesake); Indian women as mothers and daughters (Difficult Daughters); and even on women as friends (Elena Ferrante’s series). I am aware that it is unfair to compare a first-time author to established writers, but offering benchmarks is my attempt at constructive criticism.
“What Mina Did” is a decent pass-the-time novel. It is not groundbreaking in terms of plot or writing, and it definitely isn’t a mystery novel, as it is portrayed. As a simple treatise on female friendships, I would recommend it as an airport or vacation read- nothing more.
Buy your copy of “What Mina Did” from here
*I’d like to thank Rupa Publications for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. The post is not sponsored, but it contains affiliate links. When you purchase a copy of the book through my link, I earn a small fee at no extra cost to you. Please support my blog by purchasing through my link!
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