14-Nov-2011

I’m not twenty four…I’ve been nineteen for five years by Sachin Garg

Rating - Do not read

When I signed up for BlogAdda’s book review programme, I had dreams of laying my hands on free copies of books. I knew they would be unknown authors, but then a book is a book, right?

Er..wrong.

Atleast if this one is anything to go by.

I have been hearing for a while that Chetan Bhagat has spawned a new generation of writers who appeal to the humongous group of people who can speak English but just about. Sachin Garg is clearly one such author. I have no qualms with Bhagat-repliacas and I agree that anything that makes someone read is worth writing.

However, there is a difference between writing stories that appeal to the average Joe and just bad writing. Simple–to-read sentences should not translate to bad grammar and bad spelling, both of which find a place in this book. At the very least, the editors should have cut out repetitive sentences.

The protagonist, Saumya Kapoor, is a B-School graduate (not again) who is posted to a factory in Northern Karnataka thanks to a HR mix-up about her gender. Saumya gets there, learns about safety issues in steel factories and falls in love. This sums up the story.

In the first half, Saumya sounds like the kind of flaky character that could have been dreamt up by men who have always seen Delhi University girls from afar but never actually had the luck to get to know one. Saumya spends a lot of time shopping or talking about shopping. Then spends a lot of time visualising how she would impress everyone with her sexiness.

After Saumya lands up in the steel factory, the story picks up. The author puts his personal experiences to good use, though the series of gruesome incidents that happen are given lesser space than Saumya’s shopping stories.

Finally Saumya is made to fall in love with a Hugh Grant-look-alike who is high on drugs and alcohol. (Again, author’s fantasy scenario on what sort of guys DU girls dig?). Saumya reforms him and turns him into a ‘good boy’.

The most interesting part of this book however is the bit where Hugh Grant-look-alike and Saumya sleep with each other. Has Chetan Bhagat finally reshaped the Indian youth’s moralities? Is it now considered ok to sleep with someone before getting married? Infact, is it ok to sleep with someone just because you love them and not because you are going to get married to them shortly? If this book is representative of today’s lower middle-class youth, then perhaps there is change afoot. Methinks it is an interesting sociological theory to be examined…

When you think about it, the story is really not bad. However, if this is what is being consumed by thousands and thousands of people, then it would be a huge favour to the nation if someone did a good job of editing the book.

p.s. This is the author's second book. What else can I say!


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