The Candid Life of Meena Dave was a cuter book than I typically like, but this one was a pretty good pick for me. Read on for more of my review!
Meena Dave is a photojournalist and a nomad. She has no family, no permanent address, and no long-term attachments, preferring to observe the world at a distance through the lens of her camera. But Meena’s solitary life is turned upside down when she unexpectedly inherits an apartment in a Victorian brownstone in historic Back Bay, Boston.
Though Meena’s impulse is to sell it and keep moving, she decides to use her journalistic instinct to follow the story that landed her in the home of a stranger. It’s a mystery that comes with a series of hidden clues, a trio of meddling Indian aunties, and a handsome next-door neighbor. For Meena it’s a chance for newfound friendships, community, and culture she never thought possible. And a window into her past she never expected.
Now as everything unknown to Meena comes into focus, she must reconcile who she wants to be with who she really is.
I don’t typically pick up cute, romance-y books like this, but the summary of this one pulled me in and I decided to give it a try. I do like lighter reads sometimes, and this one looked like it had some real substance to it.
There were several aspects of this story that I really enjoyed, like the little notes Meera finds all over the apartment after she moves in, the boy next door who’s kinda cute, and the aunties that start giving Meera a glimpse into her heritage. That was the best part of this book for me – Meera feeling like she might really belong somewhere, after she hasn’t really felt at home since her home was violently destroyed in an explosion. She feels like she needs to keep going and moving after that, to stay busy and never have a real home base. With her history and trauma, I’m not surprised she feels like she can’t really settle somewhere. I can’t imagine feeling like you have no real home to go to!
The other part that I enjoyed the most was the aunties. I loved the food they make, the way they sort of take Meera under their wing, and how supportive they are of the “boy next door”, Sam. They bring so much culture into the story and it was fun to read.
There were a few bits of this book that were a little too dramatic and too cute for me, such as the exaggerated fight between Meera and one of the aunties, and all of the reconciliation that happens at the end. Overall, though, I enjoyed it and I’m happy I picked it up.