The Bitter Pill Social Club tells the story of the Kochhar family in all its tumultuous and extravagant existence. As a multi-generational tale, the novel follows the lives of the young and the old, striving to stay relevant in the age of casual hookups and social media driven popularity. When there’s a wedding in the family, all the Kochhars get together only to be reminded of just how volatile their relations are.
The synopsis and the cover had me so excited to read this book because it sounded like one hell of an entertaining dramedy. And up until the first half, I was having such fun reading about this family that is so blinded by their desire to be the center of attention, that they are wont to ostentation and social fallacies. After the first half is when all the time leaps come into play. We follow the same characters at a later point in their lives, say a few months or a year later. But because this time distinction isn’t overtly specified, I felt puzzled. If the author had thrown in a couple of markers indicating “10 months later” or “2 years later”, it would have largely helped my reading experience.
Moving on, Rohan Dahiya’s writing style is a perfect combination of descriptions and dialogue. He definitely has a knack for writing dramatic scenes. All of the fight sequences were somehow hilarious. And as it tends to be with large families, the different characters added something to the predicament, making the situation chaotic. I love books about families because then there are many characters connected to each other in some way or the other and this book too has a lot of characters, each of their stories being different than the other, interesting in its entirety.
While Sana is grappling with a breakup, Surya is coming to terms with the decisions she is making and Vir works away from home, keeping his profession and personal life at arms length from the rest of the Kochhar family for fear of their disapproval. The parents, Hassan, Geetika and Kama have their own burdens to bear and are at times, governed by their insecurities. On the surface, some of these characters appear to be superficial, lashing out at each other and keeping their true selves hidden. You begin to wonder if they are beyond redemption, but somewhere along the line, there are changes to their personalities.
Without a doubt, I enjoyed reading this book because of the stories that were being told; however in the middle, I was thrown off track by the narrative technique.
Ratings – 3.25 out of 5 stars
What do you get out of it? A peak into the minds of characters overpowered by their need to be accepted. And mainly, the story of a flawed family that reunites time and again.
Thank you Bloomsbury India for sending me a copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.