Book Review – Marigold: The Golden Memories by Manali Debroy – The Literature Today

“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only love. “- Mother Teresa. 

Life is like a paradox of love and pain that may never leave each other, but in the end, the coexistence is worth the journey. Striving for the best in human nature and life is a rollercoaster ride, we need to be prepared for. 

“Marigold” is a beautiful compilation of short stories. There are 18 short stories, a total of 132 pages but a quick read. “Short- stories” is a piece of prose fiction that can be read typically in a single sitting. It is written with the intent to invoke a single emotion. A very interesting genre indeed. It is easy to read them because they demand very little time to invest from the reader. They are crisp and succinct. Instead of playing with a range of plots and emotions, a short story focuses on conveying a single experience.  Writing a short story is not as easy as it involves, saying a lot, convincingly, in a few words. The author, Manali Debroy, says this book tells a lot about her own encounters in life apart from what she has heard or seen. 

“It is not very common when your emotions do find words, and when they do, it is well-advised to draft them before the memories are lost in time. “- Manali Debroy.  There are a total of 18 engrossing stories, in this book, each different and unique from the other, conveying a precious emotion or life lesson. The plot and the characters are well sketched and portrayed. 

“At the end of the day, it is always about the love that you feel from within.” The first story talks about perceptions and true love. There’s wine, a Casanova, and loads of emotions to make the story interesting and heart touching. It is a beautiful love story, about true love and conveys that our perceptions about a person can be wrong too because the outer appearance and demeanor do not define the true self of a person, perfectly. 

“Sometimes you lose the reason to expect. Sometimes you lose the trust in your expectation. Sometimes the want of expecting hollows you from inside. But still, you never stop loving, and you wait because you never know love to be an illusion. You believe it to be the truest of all.” This is a heartrending story of childhood love. It talks about true love, expectations, and marriage. It also touches a very important characteristic of human nature, our ability to put on a mask to conceal our hurt, our true emotions. 

Nicole said, ‘Yeah, Ash! The only spooky thing here is that this was the exact dream me and Fran had last night.’- an excerpt. This story is very short but touches a very interesting concept of premonition and dreams. Can dreams be real? Can they be true? Do dreams convey anything? Are premonitions true? This story answers all these questions.  “Does ‘happily ever after’ go beyond life? What happens when one embraces death and leaves the other in the ocean of life to struggle alone and strive for living all alone. Does ‘happily ever after’ go till eternity?” This story gives one an experience of soul-to-soul love and explains the true meaning of Happily Ever After. 

“Ever wondered what sacrifices and separations really mean? How do people really have that strength to persuade themselves for the separations that they believe would be best for their loved ones, sacrificing their selfish desires for the sake of their love?” This story talks about love, marriage, misunderstandings, priorities, and reconciliation and accepting one’s mistakes. “Often lying in the same place and position, she used to think about what life was still trying to communicate with her, and why she was still alive.”- an excerpt. This is an interesting story about journalism, the risks, and obstacles they face, about friendships that get smitten with jealousy and of course, true love. 

Almost all the stories have the strongest emotion, ” love” as the underlying base. “How does enlightenment come to you? Or how do you get enlightened and follow the righteous path that is chosen for you? And what is that righteous path that is chosen for us? And who chooses this path for us?” This story talks about dreams and our mortal idols who shine in the limelight. But the reality can be very different from what we see or perceive. It gives a reality check and ends on a thoughtful note. 

In the words of Joyce Carol Oates, ‘In love, there are two things—bodies and words.’- an excerpt and another beautiful gem. This story begins with a poor family with a drunkard, abusive father. The protagonist is ambitious and works her way to her dreams and achieves them, irrespective of the path she takes. The later part of the story says how even when we feel we have realized our dreams- our destination, we can still feel stranded and have to start again.  Solitude is meant to be a peaceful space—but what do you do in that period? This story highlights how the digital world has entered and taken over our lives. It also hints at how we start taking each other for granted in a relationship and how our priorities change because of work, ambitions, etc. 

Each story is unique and perfect in its own way and ends teaching us important life lessons. Every time when you think that it is over for you, life finds a way to surprise you. This story brings to light that it’s okay to follow your dreams and work towards it, but it was also important to listen up to the people who have made you what you are today. So be happy about your success, but don’t act like a dividing wall between you and your future goals.

“You have always been good enough”. This one discusses how girls are questioned and judged with respect to their “marital” qualifications that are their ability to cook, their work preferences, etc.  Similarly, there is a total of 18 stories celebrating life and giving life lessons. The emotions involved are intense and relatable. The plot and storyline are realistic. The book, in totality, forms quick and insightful as well as an enjoyable read. 

Book Title: Marigold – the Golden Memories
Author: Manali Debroy 
Published by: Partridge Publishing India (12 June 2019)
Reviewed By: Noor at The Literture Today

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