Posted in Books

Book Review: It Started With A Friend Request, by Sudeep Nagarkar

About the author:
Sudeep Nagarkar is an Indian author, who has written two books prior to this one. His books are based around real life incidents. His books have been translated into regional languages as well.

Cover and blurb:
A story about love at first sight, and a relationship that quickly develops over the phone, with friends playing moral support and a twist that derails their love story. A nice cover design for the book as well.

My thoughts:
Some stories are just so-so. You love some places and you don’t like some places at all. I’m not a die-hard romantic, but I do like love stories. This one is probably for the die-hard romantics.

The story is about Akash and Aleesha. The former is a young working guy, who enjoys his life and is very excitable. He and his best friend Aditya go to a discotheque where Akash meets Aleesha, who is new to Mumbai and has come to the disco with her family friend and roommate Tamanna. Aleesha is a pampered girl, who worries more about a chat message going through than checking her exam marks. They get talking, and soon exchange their BBM pins. Over BBM, they slowly fall in love, and courtesy Aditya, they meet often as well. Their relationship goes through ups and downs, but they are guided through it by their friends. Then something happens that gives a bigger hurdle to jump over.

Right… what I liked is the concept of friendship in the book. What Kritika is to Aleesha, and Aditya is to Akash, the narration of that was nice to read. It made me feel happy to see such friends. Another thing was that the novel wasn’t too mushy. It was stretching from love to sickly sweet love, but I didn’t feel like it crossed over. I like the concept of true love that is portrayed. The ending warranted that, and it got it. Some parts to ponder over, positively… the way Akash expresses his love for Aleesha, the notes of love of each character and the twists. But I feel this novel, when looked at with a little depth, is more about the exploration of relationships than just a love story. The narration from different points of view of characters was also a nice touch, and it felt right in place from the prologue to the introduction chapters. The overall pace of the story was quick, and I could finish it in a few hours.

What I feel can be better is the language. It feels childish at places, but works to give a little simplicity at others. You feel stuck with some things, when it should move on sooner. If there are sex scenes in the novel (sometimes this feels a little too much), I don’t quite see the need to censor a word or two in the middle. When I see a prologue, I feel the epilogue should match it. So when we go into flashback with a gloomy hero, the epilogue should be starting with the flashback ending, and headed toward the climax or finale, rather than just a conclusion of all characters. This is something that could have perhaps got the story elevated a little more.

I haven’t read much of Sudeep’s work, but I think I will read his first two sometime as well. As for this novel, it’s a decent book. It wasn’t the story of an online relationship after all. It’s a one-time read for me, and a book that is best for travel.


Rated a 7 on 10!
Rated a 7 on 10!

Book details:
Title: It Started With A Friend Request
Author: Sudeep Nagarkar
ISBN: 978-8-184-00420-5
Genre: Fiction / Romance
Publishers: Random House India
Price: INR. 125

 


This book was given to me for review by Random House India. This is not a paid review.
The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.


Shared with
1) First Reads Challenge at b00k r3vi3ws
2) Indian Quills Reading Challenge at Tales Pensieve.


(Aug 10th, 2013)

Posted in Books

Book Review: Life of Pi, by Yann Martel

About the author:
Yann Martel was born in Spain in 1963 of Canadian parents. After studying philosophy at university, he worked odd jobs before turning to writing. In addition to Life of Pi, he is the author of the novels Self and Beatrice & Virgil.

Cover and blurb:
A story about survival, in possibly extreme conditions, I feel it is narration and plotting that can make or break the story.

My thoughts:
I have always wanted to read this novel. But over the years, it has skipped my mind. Or perhaps I wasn’t as passionate about reading then as I am now. Having recently seen the movie, I decided it was finally time I stopped postponing it, and took the book to read. I wasn’t particularly happy about buying the film artwork cover, but the other covers seem to be out of stock always. I guess that is one way of selling the film and the book, but I feel a non-film cover should still be available. (The details at the end of this review point to the film tie-in cover, but I’m using a non tie-in one as image.)

While I wouldn’t say the book is infinitely better than the movie, I think the book is better than the movie. The story of a young boy who grows up in a zoo in Pondicherry with his father who’s the caretaker and owner of the zoo, his elder brother and mother, Life of Pi puts believability to the test. Can we believe that a young boy can survive for nearly a year in a boat in the middle of nowhere, with a little food and in the company of a Royal Bengal Tiger? No. Possibly not, but the story is about that survival. It is about how the young boy, Piscine (Pi) Patel, formerly an introvert and mercilessly teased lad in school, finds that courage inside himself to tackle the situation and come out on top. I took Richard Parker to be anything we fear, and are trapped with, and it felt like the story showed we can come out successful against that fear as well. The hyena eating the zebra, the orangutan fighting for its life, then Richard Parker killing the hyena all felt like “survival of the fittest.” I liked the philosophy.

That being said, the initial part of the book, with them in India, felt a bore at times, with too much on Pi’s religion confusion. It didn’t work for me. Maybe that’s why the movie had a little extra in it, with a new character to bring some spice to Pi’s life. The part where the two brothers are taken on a personal experience that almost all animals are dangerous felt real, and the mirror at the zoo was a nice touch, both leading to the contrast toward the end, where Pi asserts himself as the stronger animal, than the 450 pound Bengal tiger. The evenness in the tone of narration puts across a nonchalant feeling, as if Pi, in his flashback, doesn’t actually feel anything for the past, he’s no longer in that moment, where he was exhilarated. It felt right at times, but a little more oomph would have been nice perhaps.

I wouldn’t put this book as one of my absolute favorites to date, but it’s a good book nonetheless.


A rating of 8/10
A rating of 8/10

Book details:
Title: Life of Pi
Author: Yann Martel
ISBN: 978-0-85786-553-3
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy
Publishers: Canongate
Price: INR. 450

 


This book is a personal copy. No payment was taken for this review.
The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.


Shared with First Reads at b00k r3vi3ws.


(Aug 10th, 2013)