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Unladylike is a memoir that spans four decades of the author’s life. From stories about a childhood spent wishing she could change everything about her life (including her parents), to her chronically delayed puberty, and the self-esteem issues that accompany a flat chest, Vaz doesn’t pull any punches. She takes us through her college years, where under the vigilance of Catholic nuns she grappled with a major decision—to have or not have pre-marital sex as well as the discovery that the female body is capable of some very strange sounds at very inappropriate times. Out of respect for various ex-boyfriends, she will dwell on just one man—her wheat-eating, milk-drinking Jat husband. From their extra-long courtship (that he didn’t tell his mother about), to their wedding day and beyond, there are lessons for every girl who has ever thought ‘one day I’d like to be married’. The lesson is: ‘Don’t say you weren’t warned’

REVIEW : Female comedians are usually not respected. “Women can’t be funny.” “Women can’t make offensive jokes, they’re too sensitive.” “And women wouldn’t know a joke if it smacked them in the face like a drunk husband.” the last sentence was said to me by a friend. First, domestic abuse isn’t funny, neither is rape. But female comedians? They’re funny as a barrel of monkeys. Or a barrel of male comedians.

I’ve known female comedians very vaguely in my life. I watch them and move on to the next funny video suggestion on youtube, I’ve never really paid attention to their names or the fact that they were female. One woman in particular comes to mind, she compared herself to Mr.Burns coming out of the shower in the morning. But like I said, I forget names. (If you know who she is please do tell me).

The first female comedian I watched, apart from those in films, was Aditi Mittal and her period jokes. I adore that woman and while I don’t get half the jokes because it’s in Hindi, what I could understand was hilarious. What I love about Radhika Vaz is that she does everything in English. Which is a great uniting factor in a country that’s divided by language. The book itself is hilarious. Not in a haha way but in a “Hey, I’ve done a lot of this things, this is hilarious.” way.

The story explores her life in a very light manner, a brief manner, and highlights whatever she thinks shaped her to be whom she is today. Starting with a feeling of not belonging anywhere and ending with her baby woes, this is sort of an everywoman’s story. Only thing is the person who wrote it stands in front of a bunch of people on stage and makes them laugh.

The chapter where she tried to find out where she belongs after feeling immensely jealous of her Punjabi friend was particularly relatable because I always feel like I don’t belong anywhere. Malayali friends making malayali jokes, Tamil friends with their super fandom and Hindi friends with their……hindiness and I fail to connect with any of them. Any conversation with me usually goes like this.

  • “Oh where are you from?”
  • “I’m from XYZ state.”
  • “Oh so you must watch a lot of X Actor’s movies no?”
  • “No”
  • “Oh then you must read a lot of X writer’s books no?”
  • “I can only read english.”
  • “Oh but then you’re not from here.”
  • “Actually I am.”
  • “Where are your friends from?”
  • “They’re not from here.”

Hilarious, relatable and immensely feminist, Unladylike is perfect for those who are looking for a little something to read to get you out of the summer slump. She talks about anything and everything right from her shame at having small breasts to her attempts at getting a boyfriend in school. Her unabashed maskaoing to get a ride back home from a saturday night out to her anger at not being seen as perfect wife potential. Everything and anything from periods to pre partum stress. (Where she doesn’t want to have children and is just stressed out by the very thought of it).

The writing style itself seems to be exactly the way she speaks so for fans of her show, this would be a pleasant read. For those who haven’t watched her show click the video embedded below and you’ll well be on your way to wanting this book. If you aren’t excited by her comedy then here’s the reason I read the book. What the hell is the big deal about virginity or marriage of noisy little brats running around all over the place? Nothing. You can do quite well without it.

*I received this book from the publisher. Opinions expressed are my own.

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