Book Review: Wise Enough to be Foolish

Book: Wise Enough to be Foolish
Author: Gauri Jayaram
Number of pages: 205
Price: Rs. 225

Wise Enough to be FoolishThere are books that one reads for a brief respite from life. And then there are those, which tug at your heartstrings. Wise Enough to be Foolish by Gauri Jayaram falls into the latter category. Jayaram weaves an intriguing tale of her life and she does it eloquently. Some pages are brimming with euphoria, while some others are a bit mellowed.

Wise Enough to be Foolish is a fictionalized memoir of Gauri’s life, of her childhood in an army cantonment in Bangalore and as an independent young woman in Bombay. It is as intimate as reading the pages of someone’s personal diary.

The book’s cover symbolizes her life, literally and otherwise. The Acknowledgements section is a pleasant introduction to the book and sets the tone of things to come. The language, her choice of words and the warmth they exude. The book is a first-person fictionalized narrative of Gauri’s life, her choices, her heartbreaks and her triumphs.

Gauri does not mince her words. She is a headstrong, determined and vocal individual, continually pushing the envelope in whatever sets out to achieve. She is exceedingly honest about her weak familial ties, the men in her life and the friends she’s made along the way. There is the all-too familiar teenage angst, the trials of being a girl child, tackling the messy web of adult relationships, being best friends with the sister and the continual efforts to attain financial independence.

Gauri introduces you to the various individuals in her life, some of whom turned into life-long friends, some acquaintances. It’s like perusing through a friend’s collage of memories. I particularly liked how Gauri included most of the characters mentioned in the book, in her Epilogue. It emphasized that she finally felt “sorted” in life; like she had been running all her life to achieve this very state of contentment.

I found the writing a bit sloppy in a few instances, mostly in the chapters talking about her relationship with her parents. I sense it stems out of the despair and the subsequent discomfort of talking about it, a feeling most of us can empathize with. But I loved the rest of the book. Honest, humorous and engaging.

I could endlessly quote Gauri from the book – she has some wonderful lines there on relationships, marriages and families. But I’ll leave you with one of my favorites. On page 196, she writes, “I wondered if it would be disrespectful to drink in front of them as I had been brought up believing. And then I figured that respect did not come from drinking or not drinking in front of elders. It was reflected in how I behaved after I had downed that drink.”

“Them” refers to her new in-laws.

Wise Enough to be Foolish will make you laugh, smile and cry. Curl up with it one weekend afternoon and get enveloped in Gauri’s world. You’ll find a bit of yourself there, I promise.

Thank you, Jaico Publications for the autographed copy.

Learn more about Wise Enough to be Foolish.

Part of sales proceeds from the price of Wise Enough to be Foolish support Pinakthon’s Charity – Women’s Cancer Initiative.

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