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Life Isn't All Ha Ha Hee Hee Hardcover – 1 Oct 1999

4.2 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 331 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1st edition (1 Oct. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385410727
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385410724
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13.8 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 794,757 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Tania, Sunita and Chila have been close and somewhat unlikely friends since their schooldays. Sunita, a former law student and activist, married her university sweetheart Akash, and is settled, unsatisfied, into a life of overweight, underappreciated motherhood. Tania, top girl fighter at school, is a raven-maned beauty, who's rejected marriage and anything traditionally Asian, for a high-flying TV career and a compliant Indophile boyfriend called Martin. And then there's Chila. Innocent, kind, funny qualificationless Chila, with her glass animal collection, considered backward by her family, has just, to everyone's amazement, snared Deepak--the richest, most eligible bachelor within a 50-mile radius.

Writer, comedienne and actress Meera Syal, author of the prize-winning Anita and Me navigates her characters through the emotional rollercoaster of the coming-of-middle-youth--the time when the real growing up is done--with her trademark wit and sensitivity. From the bitching at the celebration--"Now the sister is howling. I'd howl if I had a moustache like hers ..." to the heavy embroidery and tears of a traditional Indian wedding, via the "artistic" wedding photos and " 'about seventeen hours of video," Chila sighed, "all with Hindi love songs on them and those fancy Top of the Pops effects.' ", through infidelity, TV documentaries and betrayal, Syal regales the reader with the strengths and limits of female friendship.

By the way, if you're pregnant and have set your heart on natural childbirth, avoid pages 72-3. Or else book that elective casaerian and cocktail of drugs. Now. --Lisa Gee

Review

"Alternately hilarious and scathing, occasionally poignant, Syal's tale sheds much light on growing up in British Indian society . . . [Syal] manages to hold her reader's interest through her energetic prose and biting commentary about people and places."--Bharti Kirchner, "The Seattle Times"
"A compassionate, resonate tale of culture clash, Indian identity, and friendship . . . Spot-on cinematic sensibility and laugh-out-loud dialogue."--"Publishers Weekly"
"The great strength of her second novel is a rich, glorious prose that never ceased to delight me."--Patrick Anderson, "The Washington Post"
"Syal deftly captures the growing pains of second-generation Indian woman . . . As they struggle to liberate themselves without disowning their culture--or each other--the women, by turns maddening and endearing, become vibrantly alive."--Paula Chin, "People"
"Gossipy, funny, and thoroughly entertaining."--Jennifer Reese, "The New York Times Book Review"


Alternately hilarious and scathing, occasionally poignant, Syal's tale sheds much light on growing up in British Indian society . . . [Syal] manages to hold her reader's interest through her energetic prose and biting commentary about people and places. "Bharti Kirchner, The Seattle Times"

A compassionate, resonate tale of culture clash, Indian identity, and friendship . . . Spot-on cinematic sensibility and laugh-out-loud dialogue. "Publishers Weekly"

The great strength of her second novel is a rich, glorious prose that never ceased to delight me. "Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post"

Syal deftly captures the growing pains of second-generation Indian woman . . . As they struggle to liberate themselves without disowning their culture--or each other--the women, by turns maddening and endearing, become vibrantly alive. "Paula Chin, People"

Gossipy, funny, and thoroughly entertaining. "Jennifer Reese, The New York Times Book Review"" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 14 Nov. 2001
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this novel. I liked the fact that it's characters were my age (30 something) and seemed to face similar problems to my contemporaries (even though I may not be Asian). I found it hard to always believe that these women could necessarily be friends but the character observation and humour carried the novel through. This book has its very serious tragic side too but this adds to its power and success as a superb read.
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Chila, Anita and Tania are three Asian women who are different from each other but have been friends for many years. TV producer Tania is under pressure from her boss to make a cutting edge documentary, and she asks Chila and Anita to take part in a film about their marriages. Will their friendship survive the ensuing fallout? The writing style is wonderfully descriptive with plenty of warts-and-all realism. The Asian flavour and humour make this an excellent read, but I got a bit lost in some of the Hindi/Punjabi expressions. The attached product link shows how another author found a solution to the problem: a Polish newcomer to a Welsh village asks for explanations of Welsh and Welsh-English.New Voices in the Valley
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This book was so good I couldn't put it down. Meera syal is fantastic a brilliant comic and author. The book was hilariously funny and depicts reality really well but also makes women feel better about their lives. the authors insight into womens thoughts and feelings is amazing and brilliantly done. I have recommended this book as a must read to all my friends.
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Format: Paperback
I took this book on holiday and could not put it down!- A fabulous read that made me laugh, cry, swoon and swear within the delicately written pages. Meera has out done herself with this outstanding insight into the lives of three very different friends and the bond of time that holds them together. Well worth the read.
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This book is absolutely fantastic, I really cared for the 3 main characters, it made me laugh out loud on the tube, and I was very very disappointed to reach the end. The characters were superbly portrayed, not at all two dimensional, I would recommend it to anyone. More books like this please!
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Having read Anita and Me back in the 90's and having thoroughly enjoyed it, I was in no doubt that this would also be an excellent book. I absolutely loved it and I am reading it again. The details about growing up as a British Asian woman are so true and hilarious, from going to dodgy day-time gigs in London to having to put up with Uncles with bad jumpers. What a howler!
What I love most about Syal's work are the descriptions and the details. So crisp and true to life.
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Format: Paperback
I found this book illustrated the comical side of life as an asian girl in todays society. It was a good enjoyable read, i thoroughly enjoyed it, being an asian girly myself i really felt i could relate to the novel at times (though i must stress not at ALL times!).
The friendship bond between the three characters i felt was portrayed well. Though i felt there was lack of emotion and loyalty between the three at times. When things where going wrong for one or the other they tended to opt for the easy route and avoided each other rather then helping each other through, as i am sure most friends would. Arguably this is what happens in the end, without giving too much of the plot away, however it was too little too late in my book!
Still worth the read, i would recommend it to all the asian girls out there, and hey if your not asian, still read it, it's a laugh!
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Format: Paperback
This book is one of the best books I've read on my English literature course to date. It's approach to feminism is both interessting and powerfull. Meera Syall isn't afraid to admit the true problems women face (family life, work etc..) which most women writers nowadays choose to ignore fearing that the problems seem too trivial. Meera Syall shows that what people pass off as trivial matters aren't so trivial in a breath-taking manner. For example Sunita's problems with her marriage lead to her self harming. This book is filled with emotion, a truly fabulous read.
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