Octobers book was the hundred foot journey by Richard C. Morais. Let’s continue with my little tradition first, all right? :
Aiieee,” screamed my furious grandmother. “Threaten me? I make you what you are today and you tell me you go work for that man? I throw everyone of you family to the street-” “Calm down, Ammi,” Papa yelled. “And Bappu. Stop. Don’t talk crazy. No one fault here. Just wan’ to ‘prove the dish. Could be better. You agree?” Bappu straightened his chef’s hat, as if repositioning his dignity, and took a sip of tea. “Yaar,” he said. “Haar,” added Grandmother. They all stared at the offending dish and its failings.
What’s the story about? The main character is Hassan Haij, he’s the second of six children and was born above the restaurant of his grandfather on the Napean Sea Road in, what was then, West Bombay. His first memories are of food, Indian food, the smells, texture and taste of it. He spends his childhood in India but the family is more or less forced to move. They move to Southall, London, probably one of the most contrary places in the world. The days are dreary and long over there. Not really a place for an indian family that just moved. Not surprisingly, it doesn’t take much to send them off on a wild rumpus through Europe. They taste food, swim in the Tuscan warmth and finally end up, by a literal accident, in Lumière. A small calm french village, with the emphasis on calm. From there on the village becomes the playing ground of a little bit of a war and of a great cook.
What did I think of the book? Well, it wasn’t really what I expected but I had fun reading it nontheless. I was a bit confused in the beginning, it took me a while to figure out the family relations but when I got it, the reading became easier too. I still don’t know what I think of Hassan himself, I guess I like him but didn’t feel as much affinity for him as I usually do for the main characters of the books I like. I loved his father and madame Mallory, they are opposite influences in Hassan’s life but love him just as much. Madame Mallory really broke my heart and Papa Haij warmed it up again. Both are evenly stubborn though.
After I read the book I watched the movie based upon it. What a commercial bullshit adaption. I must admit it’s a feelgood one, if you didn’t read the book. I was annoyed that they scrambled it up so much. A lot of the things that were in the book were not included in the script. I was really disappointed. The one bright spot in the movie was Helen Mirren, a truely phenomenal actress. I loved her already as Hobson in the movie Arthur and I love her still as madame Mallory. I’m exaggerating a bit, the other actors were good as well and the movie isn’t that bad but just not according to the book.
Final verdict: It wasn’t a book I loved right away but when I finished it I held it for a while and stared dreamingly at it. That’s always a good sign, it means the book touched me in a way a lot of books don’t. I still think that’s mainly because of madame Mallory and Papa Haij.
( What are these things? Find out here)
& read don’t forget to read Sam’s review over HERE!