Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss
by Rajeev Balasubramanyam
Published: March 26, 2019 by Penguin Random House
Genre/Category: Literary Fiction
Dates Read: March 19 – 22, 2019
Read for: NetGalley ARC Review
I really struggled with writing this review because I had so many mixed emotions about this book, that’s why it took me so long to get it up and available. The best way to start is to dive in.
I was given an ARC by NetGalley to review shortly before the book was to be published. I thought it would be a fairly quick read, the synopsis came off as being very light-hearted and fun. I figured I would be reading about an old curmudgeon who made you laugh with his cranky old ways, that found out life isn’t so bad if you stop being such a turd. I was wrong.
The synopsis was very misleading. Professor Chandra had some much deeper and more serious problems than I expected. You find out that this man is very much like the rest of us, dealing with divorce, difficult parental relations with his daughters and son, personal and professional shortcomings, social inadequacies and mostly just difficulty in understanding himself.
Not the lighthearted easy read I was expecting. But I continued on……..
I hit a road block at chapter 3. I was wondering to myself if I was going to possibly not finish this book. I felt like it wasn’t progressing fast enough for me, and I found my mind straying elsewhere. Fortunately I’ve always vowed to finish the books I have started, I feel this obligation to the author to give them an honest review, and I am glad I did. After Chapter 3, things got right back on track, and I progressed through the rest of the book rather quickly. I became invested in Professor Chandra and wanted to see how he was going to handle how things were developing. I would be misrepresenting myself if I didn’t stop here and tell you that I wasn’t blown away with the whole idea of the workshop that Professor Chandra attended. It’s not that I don’t believe in that type of stuff, it’s just that I felt that the author was really overselling the topics of “zen” and “spirituality in the workplace” but then I checked out his website and found that this was something that he does professionally (sidebar: he is a fellow for writers with a meditation practice), so then I understood his purpose. Still, it’s not my thing.
Overall, I really appreciate the way the author tackled all the difficult topics he wrote about, all of which are quite relevant of the world we live in today. In my opinion he was spot on with how he handled some of these situations, and some of them I would be willing to adopt into my own relationships.
So in the past week this book has been on my mind a lot. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say. It was heavier than I expected, but seemed to resonate with me more than I thought it would. When a book does that, it deserves a good review, because it left you with some sort of feeling…..whatever that feeling was.
And guess what? In the end I walked away with the lighthearted feeling I was hoping to get when I started. It was just a different journey than when I expected.