Author: Paritosh Uttam
Price: Rs. 150
Long story short: Naina, a love-struck fine arts student, falls for her (less-than-fine) senior, Michael, defying her parents and dropping out of college to move in with him, so that they can produce beautiful art together. Post-moving in, she has few friends, can’t hold a stable job and discovers that Michael is a self-absorbed, brooding twit. To top it off, just when she contemplates leaving him, Naina finds Michael in an accident that leaves him blind.
The Plus: The story is entertainingly bizarre.
The Minus: Naina is an annoying protagonist. She throws away her parachute, dives into terrible situations that come her way, and once she’s deeply embroiled in them, kicks herself for neglecting the parachute.
Read this if..: You are contemplating ditching an education and your parents to move in with the college hottie (or) you want to know how relationships with ‘needy’ people pan out (or) you have chronic dandruff issues and spend long hours in your dermatologist’s waiting room with nothing to do.
Title: Love over Coffee
Author: Amrit N. Shetty
Price: Rs. 150
Long story short: Boy meets girl. Girl asks boy to accompany her to Shoppers’ Stop. Boy falls in love with girl while shopping. Boy and girl date secretly at the office car park/Nirula. Boy has mandatory set of three friends: the Boy with the Past, the Boy with No (Overtly Evident) Issues and the Boy who gets high while writing code. The Boy with girl suddenly faces obstacles, decides to propose to girl, and toys with the idea of quitting IT job to become a writer. For those of you who have read books by Sophie Kinsella, Anup (the aforementioned Boy with Girl) seems almost like the male version of Kinsella’s female protagonists. He is astonishingly average, is frequently picked-on by the boss, has a unique idea/talent that is revealed only halfway through the book, dates out of his league, and spends a considerable amount of time daydreaming about his love interest.
The Plus: Shetty takes it upon himself to point out what wrong with The System (IT companies/friends/life) every now and then. This might have employees from IT companies nodding their heads and thinking “That’s SO true!”
The Minus: There are large chucks of italicised writing that pop out of nowhere and say, “Surprise!” There are also parts where the author jumps from one story to another, deterring the flow of the book.
Read it if…: You know (or want to know) what “component designs” are.
Title: Where Girls Dare
Author: Bhavna Chauhan
Price: Rs. 150
Long Story Short: Bhavna Chuhan tells the tale of aspiring female army personnel through the eyes of Vartika Malhotra, Lady Cadet, at the Officers’ Training Academy in Chennai. Vartika and her fellow LCs trudge through their time at the OTA , making friends, missing home, dealing with sexist Gentleman Cadets, facing punishments (lots of punishments) and emerging victorious in the end.
The Plus: A refreshing story that provides a perspective of things you would have never thought of seeking a perspective for. Also the most engaging book of the three.
The Minus: Most of Vartika’s friends seemed like aggressive ‘frenemies’, which was a bit disconcerting because the protagonist is perfectly likable.
Read this if…: You’ve always wondered (or have started to wonder, now that you’ve read this review) what life in the OTA is like. The problem with all three books is that one doesn’t know what to make of them. None of the authors is a full-time writer. The two IT guys and the architect decided to let their jobs take the backseat while they pursued their interest in writing. All the books read like large blog posts, but you feel bad for not enjoying them as much as you should have, considering the effort that was put in.
“How many times have you wished for books that don’t weigh you down with complicated stories?” The Metro Reads website wants to know. Hence, the series treads on a tightrope, where there are no dead bodies, magic wands, or damn-good writing to propel a story forward; instead, there is only a hope that the mundane-ness of the whole thing will keep the reader engaged and feel a sense of camaraderie with the characters. This heavy reliance on normality might not have been the best idea when you have relatively unremarkable prose, pirated-book-quality print (albeit with attractive covers) and typos working against you.
Krithvi is a III year student of B.Sc. Psychology, WCC
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