Saturday, April 22, 2006

How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got A Life : Kaavya Viswanathan

Before I start, I would like to put a disclaimer; the views expressed are absolutely my own. I also took the liberty of putting in a picture of the title page. If that is inappropriate, please let me know and I will take it off.

The book caught my eye, while I was surfing through the offerings that were placed on display, in the book fair within our office campus. The title was something that attracted me; it made me think of the eternal story that is happening within any middle class Indian family. In order to get an education and a career, we are compromising on life itself.

I would classify this book as an adult fantasy. It has the charm of a fairy tale through and through. The heroine is an ugly duckling (not really ugly...I am just using a metaphor), she gets into all sorts of hardships, in Project HOWGAL (How Opal Will Get a Life), as the prime condition for her to get into Harvard was to act like a normal human being. It was comical and pathetic to see her parents chalk out plans for her to become popular. The story ends in the true fairy tale fashion. She gets to harvard, and gets her boyfriend back, whom she estranged when she tried "too hard" to get a life.

It is a nice reading, if fairy tales are your thing. The author uses crisp language, and the flow is smooth. The story is horribly predictable though, there were no element that caught me by surprise. The topic could have been given some serious treatment, but the author kept away from that route. There are no insights, and no way this book can be classified as serious stuff. I would give it a 5 out of 10

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