Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The 3 Mistakes of my Life - My Review

Before i talk about the book, there's something i did not like. In an interview, Chetan Bhagat (The author) wrote about this being the most important book he's written and even said that this book will bring back the reading habit of Indians.
High Hopes!!!!
Mr Bhagat, just because Indians are crazy about Religion and Cricket, your book't won't sell. In fact, the super image i had on Bhagat got slightly tarnished - not only with this book - but because of blatant promotion.
Now, not everything is so bad.
The book holds a lot of promise.
It is the story of 3 friends (again!) who are (once again) entwined in a series of dark circumstances.

Let's start with the pros of the book

For the first time in his 3 books, Bhagat has ventured out of the realm of the young. i.e. though the protagonists are youngsters, the story deals with a very mature subject (Not that, you evil minds!!)
Govind, Ish and Omi are friends from a little colony in Ahmedabad. Their passions are Money, Cricket and Religion respectively. How they try to get there forms the crux of the story.
There are several heart-warming parts of the book as well - The Iqbal-esque cricketer Ali, his dad, Mamaji's Samosas, the love between Govind and Vidya (Including a ........).
But the Cons outnumber these by far!!
One thing i liked about 'One night at the call centre' (You can read my review Here) is the way Bhagat started the story - about being approached by one person who formed part of the actual story and being asked to write a book about it. However, he tried doing the same in this book too - in a more melodramatic fashion - He starts off with receiving an E-Mail from some boy (Govind in this case) who has just committed suicide and wanted to tell someone about his dying. Somehow, he chose Bhagat! Bhagat apparently rushes to Ahmedabad and saves the boy from dying. Then he proceeds to ask for his story. Not too believable right? There's more!
These 3 chaps along with Ali (The cricket kid) manage to slip into the Australian Dressing room during an India-Australia match at Goa and manage to convince an Australian player (who also owns his Cricket Academy in Aus) to check out Ali! The player not only agrees, but is duly impressed and also offers free tickets to all 4 of them to fly to Australia so the kid can get proper training in his academy!!! It doesn't end here - Ali impresses the Cricket Australia officials enough for them to offer him (and his 3 guardians) residential permits in Australia!! However, the kid declines saying he wants to play only for India!!(Politically so correct :))
What Bhagat Could not manage to do is seamlessly entwine all the 3 topics - Business, Cricket and Religion.
Finally, the climax is a big let down - Though he weaved the story around issues of the time - Gujarat Earthquake, Ayodhya Struggle and Godhra Massacre, the end is way to Bollywoodish!
Probably he wrote the story as a screenplay for a film (as his earlier book has already been made into one)
Still, Bhagat is one of India's promising young writers. I look forward to his next book, which undoubtedly will dwell with a youthful story again, and will be a major hit.
One good word about the publishers - Rupa, who published all 3 of Bhagat's books are to be lauded for keeping the cover price at the same level, even after Bhagat's previous books have been bestsellers! The book is priced at just 95/-! Hope Rupa gets to publish lots of books, sell lots of books (keep the price the same!) and make a lot of money!!


amudhan said...

Thank God there is at least one who says negative about this book. I consider this book as a junk. If you have time, check my blog also to find out why. I am even thinking of sending a personal mail to Chetan saying how junk this book is. Thank for expressing openly (At least one soul which thinks like me :D ). I was googling to find out reviews and everyone says this is very good and that.

My blog site is: http://amudhans.blogspot.com

Trooper said...

Sorry, but I disagree.

Absolutely loved this book! CB once again manages to connect very well, but more importantly, it got me thinking a bit as well. About the whole Gujarat riots thing. The characters are well-defined, and, in typical CB style, he examines the dynamics of friendship. The bit in Australia got a lil bit stretched I think, but overall, way better than 'One night @ a call centre', and in the same league as 'Five point someone' ;)

Sulgna said...

I’ve never been to Gujrat and have never met any Gujrati ppl. The book says, “you’ve probably heard a lot about the riots and have seen the newsreports in TV, but to witness them is something you’ve no idea about.” That’s exactly the case with me. So an account of the riots from someone who’s actually experienced it is very very touching for ppl like us..that part had haunted me for about 2 days after I’d finished the book.
It is true that it’s a little Bollywood type, still, ppl like me (Indians from other parts of the country) should know how much more horrific a riot is, than we think, and feel a little bit of what their fellow countrymen have been through.
For this reason only, I’d say this is Chetan’s best-far better than the other two, if you consider the tragic event it deals with.

amudhan said...

I respect your sentiments. Every death in the world is horrible. Every accident is horrible. There are a lot of horrible things happening every second. Some college girls were burnt in a bus when they were going home in Dharmapuri (Tamilnadu) because of political riots a decade ago. I can say a dozen reasons why this is not a must-read good book. You can say a dozen reasons why this is must-read book. But facts are facts.
In my opinion, a good book that has to be read by everyone and become a hit should have some qualification.
1) should not follow masala movies screenplay
2) should not have terrible logical mistakes
3) should not have a junk climax
Let India rejoice this book. But I felt so much depressed after having read that book. Let me be the only soul which hated this book like hell.

ఆదిత్య said...

Thanks for the comment Sulgna and the rejoinder, amudhan.
Every one has right to his/her opinion! A lot of people liked this book, so i guess it's ok. I did not like it, so that's ok too :)
However, for a real good book, check out 'A Thousand splendid suns' by Khaled Hosseini. Here's my review - http://theworldisenough.blogspot.com/2008/06/thousand-splendid-suns-my-review.html

Bhaskar said...

Chetan sucks, in brief.
His call center book and the current one both have been a real disaster.
Most important, title doesn't suit: the 3 mistakes don't really look like mistakes, or more so the mistakes of life.
Very glaring mistakes and melodrama kinda things..its simply a script for a sunny deol starrer bollywood movie.
No climax, nothing.
Even narration is poor.
The only good part is that the language is hinglish kinda so its very easily comprehensible. I just completed it in 5-6 hours.