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Book: The Whole Shebang: Sticky Bits of Being a Woman
Author: Lalita Iyer
Publication: Bloomsbury India
Price: Rs 350
The sub title of the book reads Sticky Bits of Being a Woman. Indeed, Lalita Iyer has not spared any of the sticky bits, and some more, in this anthology of essays written in a chatty, breezy style. Part memoir, part self help and all funny, it’s something that most women will relate to. Iyer’s book was born out of the columns that she wrote for a various publications and magazines. The book begins with Iyer sharing all the troubles she had to face to find the right underwear. With brutal honesty she talks about navigating thongs and how she wishes grandma underwear to be back in vogue. With similar poignancy sex, career, fashion, body image, motherhood and love are discussed. Financial independence has a whole chapter.
Iyer resorts to personal experiences, comparing and contrasting them to comment on the society at large — and that is what lifts this book up from others in the genre. She talks about her childhood, growing up in Mumbai in a south Indian household; and her experiments with dating, men, various jobs and even her hair — which has transitioned from thick curls to a pixie cut now: liberal reminders of that one friend we all have had.
The book has a generous dose of pop culture: Tinder, Facebook, Manolo Blahniks make appearences. References to kitchen ingredients, your wardrobe and even your bathroom are used to define relationships. While talking of men, Iyer writes, “Every man wants to be a conditioner, but whether they like it or not, quite a few men have to do the dirty work of a shampoo.”
There is some philosophy as well. About love, the malady that has ailed one and all, she says, “Maybe love is one of those vestigial organs, like the appendix, or the male nipple, that evolution is teaching us to live without.”
The book is an important read for all young women today, as they struggle to strike the right balance between career and family, and how — if at all — they can have their cake and it too. All you need is planning and a good gaggle of friends. And whatever you are up against — a slump in the career, divorce, body image issues, or the lack of a love life — The Whole Shebang tells you that you aren’t alone in it. Do read, especially if you want someone to tell you as it is. But with a smile.