I bought the book after watching the film, which is not something i normally so but i wasn’t aware that the film was taken from a book in the first place. So for once i can let myself off, has i normally will not go see a film without reading the book first.
That said – The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel by Deborah Moggach, what an amazing name. If I had actually seen the book first it would be one of those that i would have bought just on the title alone. I don’t know anything about the author, can’t say i have heard of her but i have really enjoyed the book and i wish i had read it before seeing the film has my memory of the film expects certain things to be the same but of cause they are not.
The overall story is this; a group of different English pensioners are enticed to spend their retirement at The Exotic Marigold Hotel, the only problem with this is, that it is in Bangalore, India. However on arrival in India things are not quite what the brochure and DVD enticed them to believe. The Marigold Hotel is a shell of it’s former self and the reign of the Raj is long since gone. Bangalore has it’s own silicon valley but much of the city is poor and run down.
We meet a whole group of different characters, who have lived very different lives until they all finally meet at the hotel. Fed up with the English weather and in some cases the English NHS (national health service) they decide to take the risk and leave everything behind and retire to India. There are far more characters in the book then there are in the film. We meet the likes of Norman Purse who is quite rightly known has ‘a dirty old man’ who still sees himself has young and attractive to the fairer sex, which of cause he is not. Then there is Dorothy who spent her childhood in India when her father served there and finally gets to go back and visit the places and the people she remembers, unfortunately this is where she ends her days and her ashes are scattered in the area where she lived. I will tell no more about the characters, other then they are very typical English people of a certain generation.
This book is funny, or is it sad, it is happy, or is it melancholy? I guess it’s all the emotions rolled into one. I think that is why it is so believable. These are average English folk at the end of what they believe is their useful life who have come to retire and live a gentler life, but some find it is not the end and receive more then they were expecting. Maybe it is also a reflection of the retired person everywhere?
Is it worth reading – yes; is it worth keeping? – i don’t know if i would keep it because that would imply that i would read it again, but i would definitely pass it on to someone who i know would read it. It is definitely worth reading even if i wouldn’t read it a second time.