Thursday, November 6, 2008

Off The Menu

The first thing that I liked about the book when i received it was the cover. I loved the heart shaped chocolates. They added such a feminine touch to the cover and i instantly knew this was one book I could like.  

I am going to be doing this review a little differently. I thought I'd share a little something from the author herself about the book. In the following passages, Christine talks about her book, how the plot came about and what her inspirations for her main characters were. 

"OFF THE MENU's the story of three, twenty-nine year-old Asian-American women who have become the embodiment of everyone's expectations of them--their parents, each other, society as a whole and themselves. They're living lives that everyone anticipated from them, but each harbor a desire that clashes with what they've become. They don't tell each other their hidden ambitions, partly because they think the others will disapprove, but mostly because they can't handle the idea that they might fail in their endeavors publicly. In the end, they do share a bit more of themselves, of course, and they come to realize that whether or not they strive for their dreams (I won't tell if you they or not!), they've got each other's support through thick and thin.

Each of the characters share a bit of my personality and struggles. Or those of my friends or acquaintances or family members or anyone else I might have met. At the time that I was thinking about the plot, I was dreaming of becoming a writer, and I couldn't tell anyone about it because it seemed so ridiculous. I was a lawyer at a prestigious international firm, making more money than I should have, working more hours than were reasonable. It was a good life, at least from an outsider's (read: my parents) perspective. A lot of my girlfriends were in the same boat, whether they were doctors or professors or fellow lawyers, and we spent so much time daydreaming of what we wanted to be when we grew up. But we were in our late twenties. Or thirties. Or forties. I started to think that this idea--of balancing the real world with our secret dream ones--was a very accessible and shared characteristic. So I started there. The rest of the story was my own projection of what could happen. What would it be like if Whitney Lee went for a music career? How would that look? How would she go about doing it? How would her friends and family react?

Inspirations for the characters? Me, of course! Ha! Seriously, some of the characters are very loose amalgamations of me. A lot of the characters are compilations of a bunch of people I know. Friends and family. Some are influenced by TV characters or movie characters or in part inspired by characters in books I've read. Some are pure figments of my imagination. I'm enormously chatty (can you tell?) and love to be around people. I'm usually the one laughing too loudly or making a jackass out of myself. But I also listen incredibly closely. I watch and observe, and when I'm around other people, the little things they do--mannerisms or tics or the way they tilt their head--I suck all of that up. Eventually, it may end up as a characteristic of one of my characters."

I am sure you see what an interesting person Christine is! Well, her book is pretty interesting too. It is a light and entertaining read. The characters are distinct and strong and by the time you put the book down, you actually start missing them! I enjoyed reading the book and I am sure you will too!:)

Do drop by again tomorrow afternoon to read my interview with her for her book tour by TLC! I had so much fun interacting with her and I hope you will enjoy reading the interview:)


bermudaonion said...

The chocolates do look good. I love chocolate, no matter what shape it is.

Priya Iyer said...

lovely cover page! and the storyline sounds like something i would want to read. thanks for the suggestion! :)

Ramya said...

@bermudaonion - lol! don't we all!:)

@priya - yeah.. you'll definitely like this one!:)

Dar said...

Great post Ramya. I've been seeing this book everywhere and trying to win it everywhere too. The book sounds great and I just love the cover. I love the way the author shares her personality with us-she seems funny and nice. Oh yeh, I agree with bermudaonion, chocolate is good no matter what shape it is. lol.

Anna said...

I'm reading this book next! I'm excited that Christine will be stopping by my blog for TLC at the end of the month! This sounds like a great read! Going to check out your interview right now.

Diary of an Eccentric

Veens said...

yup - i too liked this cover - and i do like what i m reading about the book too :)

i hope i get my hands on it :)

bethany said...

I get to read this soon!!! :) thanks for the great tour stop!! I can't wait to read it!

Ramya said...

@dar - hope you win this book.. if you don't let me know and i'll send you my copy of it to read!:)

@anna - shall wait to see what you have to say about this one!:)

@veens - good luck with trying to get this one.. if i don't give it off while i am here, shall get it for you when i come to india next time!:)

@bethany - can't wait to see what you have to say about it!:)

Dar said...

Thanks Ramya, what a nice offer. I'll let you know. I'd sure appreciate it.

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