Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Book Review: Sophie Says

They say, 'Chick lit is dead or in the throes of it.' I say, 'are you sure?'

This one is by Judy Balan, she writes well but the plot is too... well... chick lit. She may think of it as a romantic comedy but, it is too 'unbelievable' to be anything but, chick lit. The kinds you thought was gone and over about a few years back. But, here it is - alive and definitely making a beer-laced splash.

Now, I like happy endings and pink-wrapped, hard-as-nails heroines who are down in the dumps at the beginning of the story but, are giving the Statue of  Liberty a run for money by the end of the book.

Give me a woman protagonist or even four any day (I've written one with four incidentally) but, give me some reality. Judy's story is plucked out of day dreams - the candyfloss variety.

Sophia, Judy's heroine is a commitment-phobic blogger in Chennai and she has a past that strings countless broken relationships. She is so adept at breaking-up that she starts a blog that dispenses break-up advises and it becomes very popular. Thus far, we are following roughly Judy's own career and successful blog that led to her writing her first book and now this one.

So far fine.

Then, she goes ahead and quits her well-paying job on a whim and decides to hoodwink her family by setting up a fake boyfriend who she starts crushing on as soon as she sets her sights on his sexy hands!

One thing I'd give Balan is that she writes well. Her style is engaging and at times though the plot lines seem heavily borrowed from Hollywood (both films and TV sitcoms) she is able to carry it off because her narration is racy except for certain parts when Sophie's blog posts pops-up with weird and roundabout explanation of what just happened. It takes a while to wrap your head around those in the middle of a date story or a break-up crank.

A successful, longtime blogger, Judy knows how to keep her reader engaged but, the plot soon becomes a hodgepodge of relationship issues when two of Sophie's best friends' relationships also turn to break-ups and the three spend all the time dissecting men. Sex and the City anyone? OK we have all done that some or the other time in our lives but, not necessarily been in the break-up scene together.

Meanwhile, a jobless Sophie who lives alone gets her if-someday guy into the picture by talking to him about the mysterious fake boyfriend who is fast becoming a reality... In comes the guy number two (or should we say one?) who is, and please hold your breath here, an Indian Hippie who learnt bar-tending in Australia and teaches kindergarten in Cambodia while taking time off to go rock climbing in Canada... Oh and I forgot that he is drop-dead gorgeous and Royalty!

Sister, gimme a break!

Oh! Did I forget to mention that he knows all about the G-spot and the entire alphabet of spots and achieves for the lady earth-shattering 'O's? I'm so swooning here!!!

OK so, these two men, one a romantic and the other a commitment-phobic, like Sophie, fight for the hand of the fair maiden, who decides to outgrow her commitment phobia, thanks to the erstwhile fake boyfriend who has by now brought out to the forefront the nurturing bone in her, to decide upon one of the two.

The climax or the anti-climax takes place at the airport lounge when the two men are within minutes of catching their flights back to New York and Sydney on the same day and almost same time...

I'm sure this scene was written with Karan Johar or Aditya Chopra in mind. Judy has already sold the movie rights for her first book and I can see the second aiming the same way.

Well, it does not end here because there is also an epilogue featuring an Argentinian hottie. Go figure bitches... This girl R.O.C.K.S.!

If you ask me I will go with Balan because, her book is the kind of day dreams that keep me sane in a world where monogamy or love are dead or dying, a fate not too different from chick lit fiction. Her characters are the kind of men I conjure up in my most lucid moments to keep me going when everything around me is falling to pieces. I will not say that such men do not exist, they do but, in our carefully-constructed lucid dreams. Also, because she made me laugh. Lots!

So, if you ask me whether you should buy the book, I'd say, please go ahead because it will help you live your delusion for an afternoon. You can also buy it if you love Harry Potter as much as I do. Why? That's a secret people - you got to read the book to find out more.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there,

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    Ramona D'Mello


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