I just finished Corner Shop by Roopa Farooki – what a good book! And well timed considering where I am in life at the moment. Oscar Wilde once wrote, “In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.” The story is about a family – a mother, father, son, and grandfather – and how that Wilde quote applied to their lives.
In the first half of the book, we meet the son, Lucky. He dreams of playing soccer for England in the World Cup and scoring an important goal. He works towards that goal with great intensity, practicing all the time. He’s also slightly obsessed with Portia, a slightly older, gorgeous girl who works in his grandfather’s shop. It seems as though his dreams with regard to soccer will be dashed when his teammate drops out of the team, forcing Lucky to take up the position of goalie rather than midfield.
We also meet his mom, Delphine. She’s a sad character – to all the world, it seems as though she has a picture perfect life. She has a successful husband who adores her, a well-mannered son with great potential, and a beautiful home. She herself even had a successful career before she gave it all up for motherhood. Though her husband’s always been perfect for her on paper, he has irritating habits, and she’s never really felt as though she cared for him as much as he cares for her. She longs for something more.
Zaki, Lucky’s grandfather, appears to be fairly content to start. He has a successful son, a grandkid he really enjoys, a corner shop he can close up whenever he feels like it to go gamble, and plenty of younger women with whom he can run around. Both he and Delphine begin to think about their past – when they were together long before Delphine became involved with her husband. Zaki and Delphine enjoyed a brief, passionate romance, and they both long for that sort of passion in their lives again.
It’s a story about dreams – both those fulfilled and unfulfilled. It’s a bit sad, and, I have to admit, I did not get as involved with the characters as I do in some other books. It is the overarching theme that makes it worth the time – if you don’t get your heart’s desire, do something about it; change something so that you’ll have another chance, and you may yet find it. If you do get your heart’s desire, don’t allow that to make you too content. It’s so very important to have goals in life and to work towards achieving those goals. You have to make sure that your life is always about beginnings, not endings.
I’d give it 3.5/5 stars.