Andaleeb Wajid features on my list of favorite authors ever since I read her book More Than Just Biryani. So, there were no second thoughts when I decided to pre-order Twenty Nine Going on Thirty (TNGOT). It goes without saying, then, that I don’t regret this decision one bit!
Priya is turning thirty and is overwhelmed. Living in Bengaluru with her best friend, Farida, and working as the social media head of a software firm, she’s feeling the weight of becoming a responsible thirty-year-old. Not just this, she also has to fend off her mother’s persistent queries about when she intends to get married. Things begin to look up when Priya bumps into her charming new neighbour, Ajay. Sparks fly, but she soon finds out that he’s a widower and has some baggage to deal with.
Thankfully, Priya finds moral support in the fact that her friends Farida, Mini and Namrata are approaching the three-O milestone too. Free-spirited Farida, shy Namrata, feisty Mini and Priya are brought together by family drama, boy trouble, and the fast-approaching birthdays. As they navigate love and friendships, they realize there’s a difference between growing up and growing old . . .
Andaleeb Wajid is the epitome of sass. And that is an attitude she also lends to the characters in her stories, more generously to her female leads. Yet, it isn’t the same kind of sass always; her heroines are not clones of each other. This book has four women, and each woman is different from the other. Kudos to her for creating such different, strong, and layered characters. Like, Priya is strong but there is no hiding how overwhelmed she feels at the thought of the ‘big 30’ looming ahead of her. Mini is the controversy queen and has no care about who says what. But she has her moments of weakness too.
Andaleeb’s words make for good visualization. Its been a while since I read the book, but I can still visualize every character as clearly in my head. She targets various social evils as she takes the reader through the lives of her characters while also emphasizing that life doesn’t necessarily change based on which side of which number (age) you are. That the most beautiful looking people can be a mess on the inside, and the messiest may just turn out to be more sorted than you thought.
A balanced vocabulary, effortless pacing, and admirable secondary characters make this already unputdownable book a definite page-turner.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andaleeb Wajid is the author of 18 novels.
Kite Strings, Blinkers Off, My Brother’s Wedding, More than Just Biryani, No Time for Goodbyes, Back in Time, Time will Tell (Tamanna Trilogy), When She Went Away, Asmara’s Summer, The Crunch Factor, Will the Oven Explode, It Waits, A Sweet Deal, Night at the Warehouse, Twenty Nine going on Thirty, The Sum of All my Parts and 18th novel House of Screams (Penguin, October 2018)