In brief: Mrs Sharma is trying to do it all without complaining. With her husband working abroad, she has to work, look after her son and parents in law and hold everything together. But when she meets a man on the Metro, that all changes…
The good: Mrs Sharma is very observant and witty.
The not-so-good: The ending – what will happen next?
Why I chose it: Received an eARC from Bloomsbury, bought the audiobook.
Duration: 5 hours 40 minutes (book is 192 pages)
Narrator: Tania Rodrigues
Rating: 8 out of 10
The Private Life of Mrs Sharma is a unique story that I think was made more pleasurable by listening to as an audiobook. It was like I was driving Mrs Sharma around for a week or two, listening to her thoughts on everything and anything. Initially it starts off as quite pedestrian in content (I don’t mean that in a bad way, just that Mrs Sharma is talking about day to day things) but the ending is like a crack of thunder on a day you thought was going to be sunny. It comes out of nowhere and I wasn’t too sure what to make of it.
Mrs Sharma introduces herself to the reader just after she meets a man on the Metro. Mrs Sharma is a good woman, she has an important job in a medical clinic and one day hopes to run a school for potential office managers. She lives with her son, and father and mother in law in a small apartment. Her husband is away in Dubai, working as a physiotherapist to save money for his parents’ care in old age and good education for their son, Bobby. Mrs Sharma has Plans with a capital P for Bobby. He needs to do an MBA and work for a multinational company. She even buys him a smart suit to try and direct him towards that pathway.
Unfortunately nothing is quite as straightforward for Mrs Sharma. Let’s start with Bobby. He doesn’t want to be a businessman, he wants to be a chef. Initially Mrs Sharma will have none of that. But after Bobby gets alcohol poisoning (which she refuses to tell anyone about, not even her husband), she might be persuaded to bend a little. Just a tad.
But things get more complicated with the man she met on the Metro. Mrs Sharma hasn’t seen her husband for over a year. Plus, it is just talking, just a meal. She’s in control of the entire situation and she’ll do it her way, okay?
Mrs Sharma’s voice is brilliantly portrayed by Ratika Kapur and Tania Rodrigues brings it to life even more. It’s a book where she chit chats about anything and Mrs Sharma has quite a few liberal views and wise sayings for the reader. I would have said that it’s quite light, mainly about the domestic but as the final chapter began everything turned on its head. I could tell that something had changed in a big way as she started speaking – the rhythm and language was completely different to the Mrs Sharma I knew. The ending is shocking, yet not without warning signs. I would have loved to know what Mrs Sharma did next, but from what I know of her character she will be strong and calculate things to protect her family. It’s a solid story, and I’d be happy to read what Ratika Kapur writes next because I know there will be something unexpected.