What’s it all about?:
When Ravi Kapoor, an over-worked London doctor, is driven beyond endurance by his obnoxious father-in-law, he asks his wife: ‘Can’t we just send him away somewhere? Somewhere far, far away.’ His prayer seems to have been answered when his entrepreneurial cousin, Sonny, sets up a retirement home, recreating a lost corner of England in a converted guesthouse in Bangalore. Travel and set-up are inexpensive, staff willing and plentiful – and the British pensioners can enjoy the hot weather and take mango juice with their gin.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a brilliant comedy of manners, mixing acute observation with a deeper message about how different cultures cope in the modern world.
What did WE think?:
CHRISSI: What surprised you most about the book?
BETH: I’m afraid it had to be the pornography-loving old gentleman, Norman! He was one of the more “icky” characters I have ever come across although it was highly amusing.
BETH: What did you think were the main themes of the book?
CHRISSI: I think the main theme is the elderly generation looking back on their lives, reflecting on what they’ve done with their lives.
CHRISSI: Did the author do a good job of making the characters believable? e.g. do they speak in the right voice for their age group or the time period of the novel?
BETH: I do think all of the characters were believable, the author seemed to find an individual voice for each of them which must be a mammoth task but I think she pulled it off marvellously.
BETH: Which character did you identify with or enjoy reading about the most and why?
CHRISSI: I can’t say I really identified with any of the characters. I thought all of the characters were interesting in some way. They were very quirky.
CHRISSI: Did you think the ending was appropriate?
BETH: I thought it was an appropriate ending considering the themes of the book. It was almost bitter sweet in a way, and warmed the cockles of my heart even more towards the elderly.
BETH: If you were sent to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, how would you react and what would you do?
CHRISSI: I’m not sure how I’d react. I found the book depressing at times. It wasn’t an easy, light read. I think I’d find it quite depressing that I was a ‘burden’ to society.
CHRISSI: Did your opinion of the book change as you read it?
BETH: It did slightly. I feel like it was a bit up and down in places, and I felt myself gravitating between emotions of happiness and sadness depending on the situation.
BETH: Did the book affect you in a personal way, such as offending you or making you uncomfortable? Did you reassess your views on certain topics because of the novel? Do you have a better or new understanding of certain aspects or a new awareness of something you’d never thought of before?
CHRISSI: It didn’t really affect me, but it did make me consider how we treat our elderly in Britain. I also found the older gentlemen’s love of pornography highly amusing. I’m not sure that was the intention.
CHRISSI: Who would you recommend this book to?
BETH: I think most people would enjoy this novel (perhaps not younger adults), it’s not one I loved, but I thought it was quite a sweet and interesting story and I loved the back drop of India as something a bit different and original.
BETH: Would you read something else by this author?
CHRISSI: I’d give it a go! The writing style was good.
Would I recommend it?:
BETH : Probably!
CHRISSI: I think so.
BETH’s Star rating (out of 5):
CHRISSI’S Star rating (out of 5):