Review: The Diary of a Social Butterfly by Moni Mohsin

March 11, 2015
Author: Moni Mohsin
Publisher: Random House Publications
Year: 2008
ISBN: 9788184000535
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
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The Diary Of A Social Butterfly is a book without a start or an end. It just weaves itself into a story with the various happenings in the protagonist’s (Butterfly) life. It begins with Butterfly ranting and raving about the big tamasha in her life, and the bane-yet-boon of her existence, her husband Janoo.

Butterfly is a maudlin, affable and glitzy socialite who lives in Pakistan and is constantly in search of get-togethers worth applying her socialising skills to. She can sniff a good party with a blocked nose, and see a good time with closed eyes. In contrast is her quiet and composed husband, her frequent verbal jousts with whom are a source of great mirth. Her equally sarrihal son has taken after his father and thus watches his mother’s antics with a combination of quiet disdain, love and awe. This book spans over a couple of years as Butterfly deals with the trials and tribulations faced by Pakistan in her own special way, supporting the oppressed with extra money and her old joras.

What Worked

The satirical take on Pakistan’s glitterati and patrician households is quite risible. Butterfly’s jargon keeps the narrative light and interesting. The book deftly manages to paint a hitherto unknown picture of Pakistan, which one may have assumed to be a country ridden with war and battle-time scars. It takes us into a new world of glitzy cars and dress-up where the latest trends matter more than the current national situation.

What Didn’t

The jargon! It was such a turn-off for me in the initial stages to get to understand what Butterfly means when she says ‘ye tau sarrihal boti hai!‘. Also, painting a picture of Butterfly as a dilettante with her mental capacity at a lower notch seemed to irritate the equality-clamouring feminist in me. Her narrow-minded thinking and parochial attitude towards current problems seemed to disagree with me as much as her husband. The fact that there is no head or tail of a story did not help at all.

Verdict: Light fun read (as it probably was meant to be) between two heavy books if you want to clear your head. Not to be taken seriously.

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