Men, Money and Chocolate By Menna Van Praag

Men, Money and Chocolate is one of the books we’d nonchalantly pick to read and yet feel overwhelmed by its charm to grip us into spiralling emotions. One can swiftly glide through the pages and still feel something profound and innately profuse brimming at the end of every page. One cannot shed the thought of Maya easily, she is so human and relatable! The way the author has portrayed the usual snag faced by people whilst going through the cycle of life is something that is unavoidable.

Maya Fitzgerald, an unfulfilled single lady in her thirties. Stuck in a job of running her mother’s cafe reluctantly. She isn’t happy. Of course, she isn’t!!!! The man she fancies barely knows her existence and with all the financial debts piling up high she’s left with zero motivation and hardly any willingness to work further. Muddled up with all the hassle, she finds different ways to reconcile her sorrow. She takes the succour of sweet treats to drown her sorrows. But it only creates restlessness, making her plump, unwanted with myriad insatiate wishes. She hides her cake belly under her apron and lives with her head hung low. Her dull mundane cycle of life seems never-ending until she is gracefully touched and received by a visitor. The book becomes more interesting when Rosie, an old lady in the face of a mentor asks Maya to come to sit and have cake and tea with her. Rosie could delve deep and lucidly see through Maya’s turmoiled life. Rosie’s willingness to assist Maya prompted her to open about her feelings. She inspires Maya to acknowledge her problems and find ways to deal with it. She teaches Maya that the way towards a happy life is by learning to stop doubting herself and to listen to her heart and intuition and not her mind. She guides her to re-live her hopes and dreams. She instils a sense of zeal and confidence in her to pursue what has been left behind.

She gets advice from some other important people in her life, like, Sophie, the psychic, Rose and her goo, loving cousin Faith. These characters play a very important and salient role in the book. They fill her heart with hope and passion for her craved future.

This story is full of all the ups and downs that a person faces in one’s life, indicating that one’s life is no less than a rollercoaster. Also one has to keep up with its pace in order to succeed. At first, I felt that this book is more like: Oh I am done with my life!” kind of book but as I proceed further I realized that it’s more like about dealing with it rather than how you let life defeat you. The beginning is a little hard on the part of the protagonist that how she’s trapped in the web that’s called life, but as we read further, we see a shift in the mood of the story that comes with a different outlook in the way the protagonist views life as more like an opportunity rather than a web. Maya’s dreams instantly fill with hope, and she’s no more her dull self.

I really savoured every bit of this book that portrays the bitter truths of life and teaches us how we much learn to accept life wholly to bring about changes we seek. It is a journey Maya and I took together.

I think Menna did a fantastic job writing this book. And definitely, it’s one of those books that you cannot put down before you complete it. One cannot resist the urge to know what life has to offer next to Maya and mainly how Maya treats it and deals with it.

If you’re looking for a motivational book, a helpful one, then this book is the answer to it.

If you’re feeling a little down and want something or rather some words to lift you up, then this book is best suited.

Ifra Mansoor