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Wednesday 23 January 2013

Saving Peace by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

I struggled just a little with this. It was just a teensy bit boring and, regrettably, blighted with errors. 

Peace College hits the news because after many years of being an all-female college, it opens its doors to male undergraduates. Many students, past and present, are up in arms: specifically, three friends who studied there, fell in love there, got pregnant there, and their children who followed in their mothers’ college footsteps. The story starts in the present day and flashes back over thirty years, unravelling their student days and the relationships with each other and their men.

I really couldn’t understand the issue or why anyone would be up in arms about having urinals alongside the ladies’ loos. It’s called progress, and not only that, who cares? In the case of these three friends, their lives are not exactly a bed of roses and have far better things to think about. I really found the three women hard to like (I think I preferred the husbands to them): not only that, I wasn’t really convinced that although they were ‘friends’ that they actually liked each other that much. Sib is career-minded and self-absorbed. Kim was bulimic (and self-absorbed). Mary Beth is a mother of three, accepts her lot rather pathetically (but perhaps was the least self-absorbed). Mae was Sib’s only (anorexic) daughter…and, therefore, self-absorbed. I remained unconvinced that the thirty-year friendship is one to cherish: it seems that none of the three trust each other. 

Unfortunately, there are a number of missing words and poor punctuation. Some sentences were long and convoluted, and the lack of punctuation meant an incessant reread of some sentences. A tad hard-going. 

For all that, there were many sentiments one could identify with, and although I didn’t care much for the three women, I found the last twenty per cent or so compelling. However, that may have been because I was desperately hoping to find some redeeming qualities in one or more of the characters.

With a good edit, this may appeal to those whose college days were really the days of their lives, but it's very hard to connect to the characters or be sympathetic to their emotions or really be able to understand what is they want in their lives.

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