Here's another book from Chetan Bhagat... called 'Half Girlfriend'. After 2 States, (which was a romantic comedy) he wrote Revolution 2020 (which had a social issue at the front seat and romance on the side). So, from his pattern, I expected this one to be a light romance with a little bit of socially relevant matters thrown in, and was not disappointed. Chetan Bhagat's genre is what I like to call the male version of chic-lit. And since Bollywood has started taking up his stories to turn into movies, I feel he's started making it easy for them, since most of his newer novels are like Bollywood movie scripts. But still quick and light reads that satisfy both, the romantic in you, as well as the side of you that wants to, or at least wants the characters you meet in the world of fiction to do some social good.
I have been reading all sorts of genres since I moved to Australia, and was pleasantly surprised to see a Chetan Bhagat number in the 'Our Recommendations' section of Preston Library, Melbourne. Speaking of 'Chetan Bhagat numbers', have you noticed that all his books are quite literally just that?! Run all the titles in your head, and you'll see what I mean.. all of them have a number in them. Five, three, one, 2, 2020, half.
I thought of his books then, and now in India, I discovered he'd written a new one when I read in the Times of India about how they are already planning to turn it into a movie, and how Aliya Bhatt is being considered for the role of Riya. I was wondering how I could get my hands on this latest book that hasn't even been launched in Mumbai yet, when my friend Aditi came over, with a copy she had already pre-ordered from Bangalore where it's launched. I grabbed it from her before she could start it, and didn't put it down until I finished it. Well, its not unputdownable like some murder mysteries can be, but holds your interest and you want to be led through the story in Chetan's usual style and pace.
The lead character Madhav, is not very likable. Fresh from Bihar into the world of English speaking sophistication, he is a complete outsider. And one thing he says to Riya made me want to stop reading. Shallow loser. You become skeptical about how a story told from his perspective can work, but trust the author to make it click through the course of the tale. Riya, the dream half-girlfriend, is the typical rich un-reachable spoilt princess. She's likable, but her ice-princess behavior is too stereotypical. And...one of the characters in the story is Chetan Bhagat, playing himself!!! Hahaha I'm sure he's going to want to play himself in the movie too.
I really liked one line that Madhav's mom would tell him as a kid. "Beyond a point people want money to buy respect. Respect, however, cannot be bought. You have to earn it."
Overall, I would give this book 3 and half stars out of 5. Read it once.