Friday, November 11, 2011

I'm not twenty four... (I've been nineteen for five years) by Sachin Garg: Impressions

Three terrible draws from the Blogadda Book Review Program – in the order of bad, worse, and worst – but hope springs eternal. I keep telling myself the next book will be nice, and soldier through the not-so-nice ones that fall in my lot. The love of free books is dangerous. If it weren’t for keeping myself eligible in the Blogadda program, I would not have attempted to write this 500+ word review because I would not have read the whole book because I would have shut it at page 2 and exclaimed “What c**p!”

Sachin Garg’s ‘I’m not twenty four… (I’ve been nineteen for five years)’ has effortlessly topped my Worst Books Ever! list. No, it’s not the plot. The story was worth telling. But in Garg’s hands, it has managed to become one terrible tale. I feel bad using these adjectives, but I can think of no subtler words. The book is so bad, I felt like putting it away at the end of every page, heck, every line! It is unkind to say it, but I was sure the author turned publisher because even the most generous publisher wouldn’t touch it with a 6-foot long pole.

I don’t even know where to begin criticizing this book. There’s bad grammar, there’s bad editing, there’s storytelling with the vocabulary of a three year old… Wait, I know where to begin. I’ll start with the title.  Why the author chose this title or what it means is anyone’s guess. The closest it gets to the story is that the protagonist, Saumya Kapoor, is a 24-year-old. But yes, given the author’s writing skills, of lack thereof, Saumya is definitely made to sound like a shallow teen, with an IQ of perhaps 30. I feel bad for the poor girl, who trusted Garg to tell her extraordinary real life story.

And the tale is extraordinary, mind you. Saumya Kapoor, an MBA from Delhi lands up in the remote village of Toranagallu in Karnataka with a job in a big steel plant. Before she knows it, she has been inducted into the emotionally-taxing Safety Department, and is soon encountering men falling into vats of acid, body parts cutting loose in conveyer belts and people being thrown alive in blast furnaces. I give Garg full marks for the gore, mouthed by a girl.

Then there is romance – the juvenile kind. Saumya finds love in the Hugh Grant lookalike Bengali hippy Shubhrodeep Shyamchaudhary (I know, hyuk hyuk!), a mysterious guy with a maverick past. But soon Saumya discovers what a hero he is, secretly helping poor people gather little loans. How cute! But before Saumya can say Shubhrodeep Shyamchaudhary (although it takes quite a while to say it), the man has vanished following his Move On theory. The book is finished with the reader wondering whether Saumya is reunited with Shubhro, and that is perhaps the only intelligent thing about this book.

What I have learnt from this book (and my previous unlucky Blogadda picks)? Be wary of slim novels with red cover designs by new Indian authors. Very wary.

But do yourself a favour. Don’t read it.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!


Freya said...

speaking of new indian authors, writing slim volumes with red covers, have you read History of Hate by Kanishka Gupta? It's actually a very good.

Urmi Chanda Vaz said...

Thankyou for the recommendation, Freya. I definitely will read it.

Krishnapriya said...

God! that must have been so painful to read.. Good review!