Operation Mom by Reenita Malhotra Hora

Title: Operation Mom
Loved it
Author: Reenita Malhotra Hora
Genre: Crossover fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins India
Elements: India
Series: Stand alone

Published by Harper Collins India, Operation Mom – How I got my mother a life and a man is the story of a Mumbai young adult who embarks on a mission to get her single mother dating again.

Ila Isham has a lot to worry about – the angst of being an Ali Zafar groupie and the extra layers of fat she has inherited from her Punjabi lineage. Add to this separated parents,an enthusiastic best friend, Deepali, whose idea of variety means dating three guys at the same time and Aunty Maleeka, mom’s BFF, whose savvy skills throw up more problems than solutions.

Ila’s life takes an exciting turn when she decides to hunt for the perfect partner for her mother. With a little help from Deepali, Aunty Maleeka and Dev of the inviting chocolate-pool eyes, she’ll have to brave it all – from Lagaan.com and Ok-cupid profiles to handlebar-moustache colonels and middle-aged psychos, if she wants to succeed in her quest!

The beauty of Operation Mom falls into two main focuses, with the first being the delicate balance of bringing up a child with the relatively conservative ‘old world’ values in the modern world, where individuality and independence are constantly encouraged to the point that tradition may be overlooked. The second is a direct parallel: where the Indian and Western culture meet, mix and clash.

Hora balances these themes with a delicate hand, masked in a deceivingly chick-lit premise: to draw her mother’s attention away from her ‘love life’, Ila vows to distract her Overly Attached (but still well-meaning) Mother with her own romance. Cue hilarious antics.

And hilarious they are, for Ila herself falls deeper into the rabbit hole of being the Overly Attached Daughter, while her love life consists of lusting loving from afar a certain Ali Zafar (read: celebrity with the charisma and looks of all five One Direction members combined).

I loved the conversations Ila and her mother had. They had the crackle and wit of two people who loved each other dearly, yet were not afraid to dish it out when it came to topics they were defiantly protective about.

Mom could never stomach my obsession with Ali Zafar.

‘For God’s sake, Ila, get a grip,’ she would grumble perhaps on a weekly if not daily basis.

I can’t understand why it so riled her, but I did try to reason. ‘I’m in love, Mom. You were seventeen once. You should know the deal.’

‘Yes, I do know the deal.’ She was, as always when it came to Ali Zafar, dismissive. ‘The deal being that, at seventeen, you can’t tell love from the backside of a bus.’

I never really get Mom’s metaphors. They are so dated.

‘Dishing it out’ is a mild term; while Ila is a celebrity obsessed, lovestruck teenager brought up in ‘the modern world’–much like many in her age group nowadays–she doesn’t forget her Indian roots, where respect for the elders is a rule to live and die by.

Sweet, heartwarming and eloquent, Operation Mom is perfect for those days you want to sit down and have a relaxing read. Perhaps even to pore over its pages later on in the day to read more into the text. That’s what I did.

And hey, if you haven’t gotten your mom a Mother’s Day present? It’s not too late to pick this up and gift it to her.

  1 comment for “Operation Mom by Reenita Malhotra Hora

  1. Saturday, 24 May 2014 at 8:53 AM

    Oh, this sounds FUN! And your review makes it sound even funner. I love the idea of the culture clash here. Most of the movies (as I can’t admit to having read many or ANY books) that sound similar place an Indian family within a Western country (like England), but the fact that this is NOT makes it sound even more appealing. The relationship with her mum sounds like so much fun! I can tell how much you loved this! Wonderfully written review! Xx

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