I was at the airport, my flight had been delayed by a whole two hours and my family and I were roaming around looking at things to spend time and money on. Naturally the bookstore called out to some of us and we meandered in, checking shelves and cheering over the boy one get one half off shelf when I spotted this in the “New Arrivals” display. It had a hilarious title and an adorable cover, but what grabbed my attention was the checkout line. Tons and tons of women waiting to buy a copy of Leaving Home With Half A Fridge. Naturally I grabbed myself one and it quickly became one of my favourite reads last year. I got a chance to talk to the author, Arathi Menon, the other day and pestered her with some (not at all diplomatic) questions.
1. Any tips on how to make a new place your own after a divorce or Breakup? Like a piece of decor or something?
A – When you move into a new place after a break-up, the first thing I would recommend getting are curtains you love. Spend a bit, it’s worth it. When the sun streams in through them on a particularly cloudy day of the soul, the world will feel fine for a split second.
2. What are the books you’d recommend reading when going through a breakup/divorce?
A – My book (Grins) Actually, more than a book I would recommend learning something new. Doing some pure activity that doesn’t involve human emotion. When you have homework to do you postpone the tears.
3. Is there anything “shallow” you regret leaving behind?
A – The funny thing is I refused to ask myself this for the longest time for I knew a million things would come flooding back. Now, when I see this question in black and white nothing comes to mind. In fact, all I feel is an aching gratefulness for the life I have now.
4. When I was picking up your book at the airport I saw a lot of foreigners standing with it in the billing line. But all women. Have any men picked up your book and contacted you about it?
A – I am glad there were a lot of people standing with it at the billing line 🙂 The most humbling thing about the book was the response it got. I have received mails from couples who told me it helped their marriage, from a young boy who told me he has never been married, neither does he have a girlfriend but the book still spoke to him, from a senior gentleman who lost someone close to him – I never ever expected to find an audience from 15 -90 of either sex, but it happened and I am thankful for that.
5 / 6. What’re you working on next?
A – I am working on a children’s book and a novel. It’s still work in progress so I’d rather not talk too much about it. Instead what I can do is give a writing tip. Since I am working on different genres, it can get a bit muddling. To fix this I devote different times of the day for both books, every day. For example, for a month I work on the children’s book in the morning and the novel in the afternoon. Next month I flip that.
7. I’m a new godmother and my god daughter is 3 months old. Any tips on when I should start getting her into reading. And when I should read to her.
A – I think you should start talking to her using humungous words with fun sounds like gobbledygook, squeegee. I also think Lewis Carroll is great fun to read aloud –
‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.’
And 3 months is the perfect time to start reading to her – it’s never too early to introduce someone to a book.
8. I’ve read your mum’s very proud review on Amazon. How excited is the rest of your family about you being an author?
A – Well, nobody has said anything negative so far. I think everybody seems to be happy and proud. My cousins joke about not being rude or mean to me for I may put them in a book.
9. What are the top priority books on your shelves right now?
A – For me, the most anticipated book is The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride I loved ‘A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing’ and I want to read Human Acts by Ann Kang, A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. There are too many favourite books but here’s a short list of some of the authors I particularly loved reading over the last three months- Akhil Sharma – Family Matters, Neil Zink – The Wallcreeper and Mislaid, Anne Enright – The Green Road, Sunjeev Sahota – The Year of the Runaways, Norton Juster – The Phantom Tollbooth, Dora Jesse Saint – Miss Read, David Walliams – Mr Stink, Susan Cooper – The Dark is Rising, Rupert Kingfisher – Madame Pamplemousse and Her Incredible Edibles.
I also read a lot of poetry and I wish more people would read poems – it helps life and writing.
What happens when you realize you have kissed the wrong frog? Do you stop kissing, find another frog or learn how to live without one?
Leaving Home with Half a Fridge is a heart-warming tale of one woman’s journey – about how she handled the dissolution of her marriage and her subsequent life as a singleton. The book follows the breakdown of the marriage, her decision to get a divorce, the trauma of doing so, depression and finally overcoming it all to become a stronger, happier person.
I hope you enjoyed the interview as much as I did. If you’re interested in picking up Leaving Home With Half A Fridge click here.