“I’m not twenty-four…I’ve been nineteen for five years…” by Sachin Garg, the author of “It’s First Love”.
Thus proclaims the cover of the second book I received to review by Blogadda last week.
(Thanks, Harish and team. Awesome initiative!!)
I’ve never heard of “It’s First Love” and I have no clue about Sachin Garg. My hopes were not too high, given that the genre was fiction (read chic-flick), and most small-time/new authors tend to have very limited imagination and vocabulary.
Sounds biased and discriminating? Well, it actually paves the perfect way for me to be pleasantly surprised.
Alas, this was not that time…
Like the first book I got from Blogadda - “The Ineligible Bachelors” by Ruchita Misra – it was a fairly decent effort. While not on my list of top 50 reads, it was certainly not a complete waste of time.
But let’s talk about “I’m not 24…” now.
Garg has gone to great measures to title every chapter and personalize the book. I believe he could have used that time more productively to come up with a plot that was more captivating. I am not sure if this book is a biography – apparently somebody related this story to the writer, who in turn made it into a book, by retaining the tale and changing the names. Either way, it leaves much to be desired in terms of uniqueness and un-put-down-able-ness.
Let me say this at the cost of breaking a few hearts and trashing a few dreams – everybody’s life may have a story, but not everyone’s story can make it to the shelf.
But let me tell you a little more about the story before I tell you my assessment of it…
The novel tells us about Saumya, a regular Delhi belle, who has hopes and wishes akin any other regular cosmopolitan-city-dweller. Her world turns topsy-turvy when her job leads her to a godforsaken place far away from civilization. She intermittently hates the place and likes it, and experiences her share of surprises and shocks. Until finally, she falls in love.
Not bad at all, was my thought as I turned the first few pages. I was reliving my own story – my elation at being placed with Tata Motors at the end of my M.A. in Psychology at Pune University, replaced with confusion coz I was expected to work in varied departments before I finally chose what job profile I’d like to settle in. Not entirely the same as Saumya’s MBA placement, but pretty much analogous.
The straightforward narrative and simple language ensured that the book was a quick read.
(Being me, I would obviously prefer more ornate English and a higher level of maturity. Yet, I can’t blame the author for this, as the intended, I’m guessing, teenage audience would probably find it more relevant and relate-able.)
As I grope for positive things to write about, I recall Saumya and Vartika’s true friendship, Saumya’s honest bursts of emotion and observation, and the concept called Malappa. Quite charming.
Giving out more details about the above would not be right, so let me tell you about what didn’t work for me. The Mills and Boons kinda sex part grossed me out – it’s not everyone’s cuppa tea to write with finesse about something as sensitive as erotica, that too, in a teenage novel. Also, I did not appreciate the condescending statements made about the learning and development fraternity. But let’s forgive the writer’s prerogatives…
The protagonist’s outrage at her work location and dress code were described competently, while the gory organizational mishaps left a bad taste in the mouth. No doubt intentionally, so that we could empathize with Saumya and her woe.
Enter Shubhro, and the story takes a turn for the better. The way he is portrayed, it’s tough to not like him. A couple of times while reading, I caught myself wanting to know more about the intriguing Shubhro and his “Move On Theory” than about Saumya’s predictable feelings and reactions.
Saumya is charmed by this young man, and as things turn out, he’s crazy about her as well. Happy love stories are still in vogue. Or not…
To be fair to the author, I’m going to stop my re-telling of the story here.
What I’m certainly going to tell you is that the book has both, pieces that can be skipped and those that can be re-read. How you judge Garg’s effort, would be based on your exposure to the world of books. As Anita Nair’s “Mistress” lies on my bookshelf halfway read, “I’m not 24” pales in its magnificence.
Garg could fare better if he worked a little on his writing technique and language. A more impactful story would make the reader “feel” … and that’s the real victory of an writer…
Obviously, the plot has to have some merit. And something distinctive from the run of the mill fables and yarns.
Simply put, “I’m not 24” is not a must-read by any standards, but a day’s timepass if you fall short of reading material.
Back to “Mistress”… !!! Woohoooo !!