The Windfall by Diksha Basu
Rating: 3.5 stars
The Windfall is a nice, light book to read when you just need a break from more serious topics (like healthcare or the U.S. government in general). The story follows a family from East Delhi who find themselves suddenly wealthy after the father sells his website for millions of dollars. Now that they can afford to move into the upper class, Mr. Jha wastes no time finding a richer neighborhood that will suit his new Japanese sofa with Swarovski crystals. Mrs. Jha isn’t quite as changed by the their new status, and doesn’t see the need to leave the neighborhood they have lived in for decades.
While I enjoyed breezing through the descriptions of how Mr. Jha spends his newfound wealth in the universal game of keeping up with the Jones (or in his case, the Chopras), I preferred reading Mrs. Jha’s more down-to-earth reactions to his craziness. Parts of this reminded me of the Crazy Rich Asians series with how outrageous Mr. Jha’s spending became (it never reached CRA heights, sadly). The subplot with Mrs. Ray finding love again was charming, but didn’t connect well with the main story.
The one part of the story I didn’t like with the Jha’s son, Rupak. His total lack of accountability really bothered me, especially since he won’t acknowledge his own role in his failing grades. Instead he blames his parents new wealth for giving him no reason to study, or his parents disapproval of his film hobby. He makes no move to become independent despite passing judgement on how everyone else lives their lives. Rupak also uses his parents as an excuse to avoid commitment with his girlfriend Elizabeth while dating an Indian women he doesn’t love.
The Windfall provides a classic look at how money changes people for both the better and worse, and shows that sometimes it takes hitting bottom to remember what is really important in life.
I recommend this for fans of Crazy Rich Asians or those looking to escape into a light read this summer.