Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Review: Half Girlfriend by Chetan Bhagat

Who said only god creates love stories? Well there's another breed of species which is quite adept at doing it too. Be it real or fiction they have pioneered the idea for centuries now. The breed is called authors. Though they are no match to godly holds but they are no less either. Author Chetan Bhagat in his continuing love for romance brings forth his latest book "Half Girlfriend" for the readers and pursue it through the commoner's eyes. So will the readers feel the connect? Let's find out. 

Madhav is a Bihari boy with big dreams who falls in love with the beautiful Riya, a rich lass from Delhi. There are some fundamental differences between the two. Madhav’s English isn’t all that great, but Riya speaks the best English. Madhav wants Riya to be his girlfriend but Riya disagrees. She wants them to be just friends but he definitely wants more. Riya finally comes up with a suggestion, a compromise – she agrees to become his half-girlfriend! Chetan Bhagat presents a simple and beautiful love story that will move you with all the nuances of a modern-day relationship. It also inspires you to realize your individual dreams.

First look at the title and the cover and one will feel amused. The title is quite funny yet there's hidden reason behind it. It is left to the readers to uncover the mystery of half girlfriend. The cover could have been more tastefully and it doesn't lives up to the expectations. The blurb talks about two people and their lives and how they cross each other paths. The blurb could have been given a more mysterious approach. It's simplistic approach gives a hint too many about what to find in the book. 

The story is set off in St. Stephens College, New Delhi where two contrasting personalities come across each other. Madhav Jha is from a village in Bihar and Riya is an urban girl from Delhi. There are barriers and it sets apart both of them. But it gradually grows to be uncharacteristic and then it unfolds in a grand manner. They both end up on the bitter-sweet side of life and then from there on it's left to both of them to pick up the bits and pieces and move on. Will they be able to do it together? What is going to be bloom between the two? What will come across as a barrier in their lives or will they overcome the odds to make it an indulgence to remember in a lifetime? That's what the story is all about. 

The book is simplistic and that's a feather in the cap. There are two aspects: love and ambition and both come across in good measure in the story. There's small town and up town argument which gets settled in quite a humorous manner. There are other sociological and psychological barriers which have been presented through the commoner's eyes and keeps the story's sanctity alive. Love as a backdrop which gives the book a dimension which is common yet difficult to swallow about. The story has an everyday life approach which gives it a meaningful stage. The dilemma and hopeless Madhav is a star in the shining of the story. The contrasting personalities adds quirkiness too. The mindset of two different people play the mind games with readers. The dilly dolly love-hate relationship is also an added feature. 

The downside of the story it doesn't offers you a spectacular approach to love and feels predictable. The parts towards the end look overstretched and gets out of hands. The book dulls in the middle when ambition takes over and takes the book completely off course. The decisive finish lacks fine and deep touches and pales in the shadow of hopes. The desperation in Madhav's character has gone overboard and could have been toned down to an extent. Riya has not been utilized to the full potential towards the end. 

All in all the book is a rich mix of love and ambition. It's not a half hearted effort as the title suggests. The subjects given impetus in the story are quite familiar but the set up different. There are glorious moments of love and passion and hiccups and sorrows then there's dull times too. The book offers a combination which is for once to be read and pondered about. The simple sentences are to be delved deep into and the touch of all emotions is heart felt. It's a common love story for the commoners but with an uncommon approach. For once you need to be in the shoes of the characters to experience it. It's not spectacular but it's miraculous. It'll make you believe in some ideas which are rubbished off quite easily in daily lives. The book is every lover's "delightful dream" in the real life.


3 OUT OF 5

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