The tagline was very intriguing and the author Chetan Bhagat has already created a following with earlier books specifically “Two States” and “Five point someone” in my mind. So reading this newest book “Half Girlfriend” was almost certainty.
The idea is very simple like tagline. Poor boy meets rich girl and falls in love but girl agrees only for half girlfriend status due to her own issues in childhood that become clear later in the book. The idea of half girlfriend is great and very delicate to handle but the author did not spent much time in that situation. Very soon it goes from half to nothing since the boy cannot face his friends with half status (sic). There are multiple twists and turns and almost a Bollywood style ending eventually. Interestingly the author has made himself as one of the central character in the book.
What I liked about the book was the simple breezy style of story telling that the author has followed in all his books. There is an interesting plot about Bill Gates visiting a poor school in Bihar and making big donation. What I did not understand was the reason for extended chase that the book shows in New York by the main character for his girl friend. The book is almost written for Bollywood movie. Even when I read “Two States” I felt the same but in that case the story did hold on its own. But in case of this book it is not true. I am sure the movie based on the book will do great if a good director picks it up but the book on its own does not impress.
I am sure I will still read future works by the author but not with same anticipation unless something really interesting comes along.
I was wondering why some characters and their names in the books become so famous and why some of them are completely forgotten even though the book itself may be quite famous. In some cases the title of the book itself makes the name of the character very famous like Harry Potter or Eragon but in other cases it is the strength of the character that makes it famous like Howard Roark in Fountainhead. But there are other books where you will find it very difficult to remember the name of the character. As an example, I do not remember the name of main character in Five Point Someone or Love Story. I guess it has also to do with the narrative style of the story as well. If the story is written in first person the name is used less often making it less memorable.
Is it necessary for the name of the character to reflect the nature? I guess not. I wonder how J. K. Rowling decided on Harry or Hermione or Ron. She has given lot of thought while deciding names of spells but she seemed to have picked up really common names for her main characters. Even the Bella of Twilight is a very common name. On the other hand, some books come up with very uncommon names like Eragon. Something that you have never heard of. If the name is so common, do we still start relating that name with the type of character if that character becomes famous. Will we think of very intelligent and sharp girl if we meet some real life Hermione?
There is another aspect of naming that I have found very amusing. When books are translated from other languages to English, the native names are still taken in and then it becomes difficult to remember those names like it happened with me while reading War and Peace. I guess many non-Indians will find difficult to remember names if they were to read Mahabharata in English.
I guess the naming of characters is a complicated process in the minds of author and mostly they also do not realize how it can turn around depending upon the success of that book.
This is probably most talked about book in contemporary Indian English writing because of its own standing as well as due to the later adaptation into the movie “3 Idiots” which became the biggest box office hit in Indian movie industry. This book established Chetan Bhagat as successful writer even though he could not get similar success with his later books.
This is a story of 3 friends of who join IIT and soon find how difficult it is to survive. The book talks about all the things that students in this age face or want to experience during their college education. There are failures in exams, differences with professors with the way they want to teach and the way in which students want to learn. There are also relationships, ragging, projects and student rivalry. But most important of all, there is friendship that develops between students who come from very different backgrounds to stay together. The friends made during this time are really special as I can say for sure with my own experience.
The book is mostly humourous but it has dark side as well about students failing to cope up with academic pressure and then taking extreme step of taking their own life. This book was a really refreshing attempt to write a story in a simple language using today’s events and concerns. Even though the book is a work of fiction, the author who himself studied in IIT has taken a lot of real life stuff as background for the plot of the book.
The movie “3 Idiots” was based on this book but I liked the movie for very different reasons and not necessarily because it was based on “Five Point Someone”.