Book Reviews, Funny life

Book Review: Chilli, Chicks and Heart Attacks by Sanjaya Senanayake


Looking at the cover of this book I was bemused if I’d committed a mistake of some sort while asking for its review.  It was while going through the book I realised that it is the destiny of the protagonist, Dr. Manjula Mendis, that his life very much revolves around these three, not necessarily in that order.

Srilankan by origin and Australian by nationality, Manju ( a boy, mind you) gets a lucrative chance to complete his internship from one of the most prestigious hospitals in Australia. The book is written in the form of his diary entries.

The backdrop is funny. Manju’s mother’s life’s intention is to get him married only to the daughter of a rich-and-famous Srilankan family. His father agrees with his mother on everything. His sister has a foul mouth and is conveniently passing on her colourful language to her young son, which leads to frequent fights between mother and her.

The group of interns consists of a variety of characters like; a lesbian who’s a rockstar, a confused Indian-converted-blonde, two living medical geniuses, etc. They help each other out and try to survive in the demanding nature of their jobs. In the initial stages this struggle seems drilling, and one can only empathise with them. The author has tried to show his command over medical terms and procedures by cleverly using them throughout the book.

The author’s choice of names is hilarious. There’s a Prof.Bonkzalot, a Dr.Spyder and a Dr. Precious Thyme. New interesting words like vaginacology and sugardaddiphile can easily find their way in your vocabulary. There’s a dash of humour even in the way doctors are cynical about their patient’s treatment. And yes, Manju’s first week in the night shift needs a special mention, since I laughed the hardest there! Read the book to know why.

The author has tried to give a realistic feel to the book by showing the way interns are looked down upon by senior doctors, how casual banter takes place between interns about their shared misery and newfound knowledge, double-crossing doctors, the importance given to celebrity patients, etc. but on the whole the book goes over the top on some counts.

I agree that the book belongs to the fiction genre and the author has all the right to direct the story in any which way he wants, but it becomes a bit tough to digest all the twists and turns that are sometimes thrown in just for the heck of it. Belonging to the noble profession of medicine, Manju many times acts unapologetically in a not-so-noble manner and gets away with it.

There are certain portions where your heart reaches out to the characters, but sadly, most of the time you’re simply reading a heartless account of events. Also, I wasn’t too convinced with how everything becomes ‘happily ever after’ for everyone involved in the end. It felt like the dramatic unfolding of events in a typical Hindi movie climax.

Personally the book didn’t meet my expectations, but I’d still recommend it to the growing population of casual readers who don’t mind putting in their while for wicked humour.

Publisher             Westland
Publication Year  2013
ISBN-13               9789381626887
ISBN-10               938162688X
Language            English
Binding                Paperback
Number of Pages 320 Pages

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