The Story Hour

The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar was a book club pick from last year. It’s about two women, Maggie and Lakshmi, and the men in their lives and how the actions of these men impact their lives. Maggie is a psychologist who starts treating Lakshmi after a suicide attempt. Lakshmi is married, but has no money, so Maggie treats her pro bono. The title of the book refers to their hourly sessions together. The sessions aren’t just about Lakshmi. Maggie reveals a lot about herself to Lakshmi during those sessions and they become friends. Women might enjoy this book more than men, but men can learn a few things from it.

I’m going to say something about the framework of this book that may give away high level aspects of the plot even though I’m not going to give details, so this is my spoiler alert: The author takes two completely different women with different backgrounds at different emotional states and circumstances in their lives, brings them together and by the end of the book their situations have completely reversed. Lakshmi ends up in much the same situation that Maggie was in at the beginning, and visa versa, Maggie ends up in much the same situation that Lakshmi was in at the beginning. Like they have swapped roles and become the other. And it happens so subtly. This is art, written art.

This book scored fairly high with our book club. I do remember starting to get weary of reading Lakshmi’s broken English toward the end of the book and was ready to be done with the book. But on the whole I certainly recommend that you give this book a try. So go to your quiet place and read or listen to this one.

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