This is the start of my new book review feature, that I said I’d start here. I know I said I’ll start it on November 9, because I thought I won’t be in town this weekend. But it turns out that I am, and I just finished reading a book – so why not today?! Plus, it is helping me with additional posts for NaBloPoMo! 😀
So I recently gave in to the fad-reading trend (where you read a book just because it is popular, even though it didn’t really develop any curiosity in you.) One such book that I read was the recently released ‘Half Girlfriend’ by Indian author Chetan Bhagat.
This book has been reviewed left right and centre in social media; hence, I know this review is a little late, but this is just my two cents! 🙂
Chetan Bhagat is a very popular author in India, primarily because of two reasons – his first book ‘Five point someone’ was very poignant.. and he writes in very simple English that any lay person can understand (even someone who isn’t an avid reader of books, or who isn’t very comfortable with the English language). I believe he has released around 6 books now, and I’ve read everything except ‘Revolution 2020’.
In my humble and mostly irrelevant opinion, his books aren’t masterpieces, or prize-worthy literature; however, nevertheless, some of them do resonate with you. ‘Five point someone’ for instance dealt with the very relevant issue of forcing youngsters to study Engineering or MBA just because that is the fad, without allowing them to pursue their passions. ‘2 states’ on the other hand dealt with youngsters who inter-marry with other girls/guys from other castes, and the resultant pressure that involves their families.
Whereas Half Girlfriend does none of those things. It is a simple story about a low-class boy falling in love with a high class girl – a girl who is confused, can’t decide whether she is in love with the boy or not, agrees to be his “Half Girlfriend”, thus further increasing the ambiguity in their relationship. Then she stupidly enters a marriage of convenience, realises it is a mistake, comes back to the low-class boy, but still can’t decide whether she is in love with him or not, fakes lung cancer etc etc..
Sounds weak. flimsy, filmy and convoluted? It is! Worse, the guy stays deeply in love with her during all those years. I’m not saying that is a bad thing per se, I just personally expect to see more practical characters. The final search that Madhav (the guy) does for Riya (the girl) in New York is long-drawn out and entirely unbelievable.
The best thing about this book is the way the guy channels his time and energy into developing a rural school. That at least, is invigorating! There isn’t even much to write about this book. If you’re really bored on a train or a plane-ride, you can read it and finish it by the time you reach your destination. One more good thing about this book is that it goes fast – you won’t be bored and put it down.
But if you don’t read it, you aren’t really missing anything!