After Canada (Anne of Green Gables), the next stop that I made for the OT 2009 Challenge was USA. The book I picked up next was ‘Man, Woman and Child’ by Erich Segal. That puts the OT ’09 read-o-meter at 2 down, 8 more to go.
I didn’t much like Love Story, the one and only book by Erich Segal that I’d read long back. When I came across this book some time back, I decided to give it a shot.
How was my experience with this book? Read on….
Note: Plot partly revealed
Man, woman and child is the story of Robert and Sheila Beckwith, a happily married couple with two wonderful daughters, Jessica and Paula. Robert is a professor at MIT, while Sheila is an editor. Their married life is near perfect, and they are the kind of couple their friends look up to as a role model. Sheila adores Robert, and Robert is equally in love in her. Their daughters admire their parents to no end.
One day, everything goes wrong in their well-settled lives. Robert discovers that his one and only extra-marital fling with a beautiful French doctor while on an official tour to France long back has yielded a son. And that son has now been orphaned, leaving him nowhere to go to but an orphanage. Robert confides in Sheila and then all hell breaks loose. Their marriage comes to the very verge of breaking up.
Robert and Sheila mutually agree to let the little kid, Jean-Claude, stay with them till other arrangements are made for him. Paula and Jessica take an immediate liking to him, which turns to hatred when they discover, by accident, who Jean-Claude’s father is. Sheila swings between extreme emotions – intense love for Robert, a liking for the innocent Jean-Claude, a temptation to have an extra-marital affair herself, and concern for her daughters.
Sounds familiar? Could be, if you have seen the movie Masoom. This is the book on which Masoom has been based. I just adored the movie and cried bucketfuls, and scenes from the movie flashed through my mind as I was reading the book. However, the book and the movie end differently. I would rather not go into much more detail about the climax, except say that I liked the ending in the movie much more than I did in the book.
As for the overall reading experience, I quite liked the book. In fact, I liked it WAY better than Love Story. I loved the way Sheila’s emotions have been portrayed, as well as the representation of Robert and Sheila’s beautiful relationship, with a tinge of reality to it. Certain parts of the book have been very tenderly depicted and I loved reading through them. Somewhere down the line, I fell in love with the bold woman that Sheila was.
I now look forward to reading the other books by Segal such as Acts of Faith and Doctors, of which I have heard LOADS of positive things.
My rating: 3.5 stars