Once I leave my husband’s house, am I still a wife?
Ranjani flies out of Mumbai as a young, starry-eyed bride anticipating an American-style Bollywood-version of her very own happily-ever-after. By thirty, she has a Ph.D., a green card and a daughter. Despite a rocky married life, Ranjani is secure in being somebody’s daughter, sister, wife, mother.
After the family’s return to India, when her home situation deteriorates, Ranjani walks out. While struggling with doubts, detours and unexpected loss, Ranjani learns to rebuild her new life and embrace her identity as a single parent.
Rewriting My Happily Ever After is an evocative, honest account of the aftermath of divorce in an unsupportive culture. This uplifting memoir of grace and courage shows how to build resilience and find happiness by being true to yourself.
“It is never too late – in fiction or in life – to revise” ~ Nancy Thayer
When Dr. Ranjani Rao walked out of her toxic marital home, she wasn’t really sure what to expect. There was no one in her inner circle who was a divorcee. With her parents a continent away, she had barely any support system. And was surrounded by couples who apparently knew how to make their marriages work.
Rewriting My Happily Ever After – A Memoir of Divorce and Discovery by Ranjani Rao is the author’s journey of re-discovery. It primarily focuses on the three year period between her walking out and the divorce being finalized. It is difficult to review or even rate a book so personal. How does one rate someone’s journey to self-discovery?
The book is divided into five sections – Falling, Starting Over, Making it Work, Reconfiguring Life, and Soaring. The writing is simple and easy to read. At times, informal and conversational.
The strength and the resilience. And the quiet resolve to walk out of a 16-year marriage. The book is as much about the divorce as it is about reclaiming oneself. About seeking and receiving help from the most unexpected. It is the author’s attempt to help women who, like her, find themselves hesitating to walk out of toxic marriages.
“Like a child building a brand new toy with a heap of Lego blocks, I reassembled the useful pieces from the debris of my old life with patience, persistence, and a strong belief that a better life was possible. In doing so, I was able to reveal a new avatar of myself“
The memoir is as honest as its gets. Be it her struggle with infertility or her fears. How she rebuilt her life. Rediscovering her passions. Making mistakes and learning from them. Her struggles as a single parent. Switching between multiple timelines, the author recounts the red flags that are often ignored in the name of keeping the peace.
Divorce is still pretty much a taboo in India. Things are often brushed under the carpet. Noses are turned up at “airing the dirty linen in public”. And very few Indian women authors write about the pre-divorce phase.
It is high time we normalize divorce. High-time families support women who walk out of loveless and abusive marriages. The author was privileged to have supportive parents who stood by her like a rock. Not all women are so lucky.
The book is not drab or dreary but uplifting. I highly recommend the insightful read. Particularly to women who are at the crossroads.
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About the Author
Dr. Ranjani Rao is a trained scientist, a self-taught writer, yoga practitioner, and lifelong learner committed to an apprenticeship in observation. With her experience of having lived in three countries and visited thirty and her scientific outlook, Ranjani writes insightful personal essays. Her award-winning commentaries and op-eds have appeared in print and digital magazines in the USA, India and Singapore.
I would like to thank the author for providing a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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