Pity mingled with scorn
Rupa Gulab’s ‘ Daddy Come Lately is Young Adult Fiction, first published in 2006 as Chip of the Old Blockhead. It looks at divorce and a single parent family from a teenager’s point of view. Well actually it’s simply a teenager’s point of view in which her single parent family is incidental to her life filled with school, teachers, boys, fights with her friend and irritation at adults. That’s as it should be. This realistic portrayal makes for a light and refreshing read.
I am delighted by the following author interview –
MG: What I liked about the book was that you spoke about a normal single parent family. Was this a plot-driven device or a conscious choice?
RG: It was a conscious choice. I wanted to make it a single parent family for two very important reasons (well, important to me). The first is, I’m sick and tired of our Indian hypocritical society: a woman must have a man in her life (ew), and I hate the looks of pity mingled with scorn directed at divorced women. The second reason is, I know a few children from broken homes, and I wanted to tell them, it’s okay – my heroine was happy and centred with a single parent, so can you be. Also, while both your parents may be lovely individuals, sometimes they can be dreadful together, so a divorce is not necessarily a bad thing.
I must add this: a few months ago, I got a friendship request and a message on Facebook from a seventeen-year-old who said she’d just read the book and loved it, and that someone had given it to her a few years ago (Daddy Come Lately was published in 2006 as Chip of the Old Blockhead) but she didn’t read it then because it was on the subject of divorce and she thought she was too young for it! My jaw dropped to my knees when I read her message. But there you are – that’s Indian society for you!
You can read the entire interview at http://theduckbillblog.wordpress.com/2013/12/11/rupa-gulab-interviewed-by-moushumi-ghosh/
Rupa has hit the nail on the head about how Indian society views divorce. I absolutely love that she decided to write about divorce as though it’s perfectly normal. Some people have curly hair, some have a tendency to allergies and some get divorced. Deal with it.