Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Book Review: One Indian Girl

It is a typical Chetan Bhagat novel – from the viewpoint of a female protagonist. I frankly never understood why people hate Bhagat so much. I felt this book was a light read with a few 'feminist' concepts discussed – career-oriented women, career vs. motherhood, etc. It takes you through NYC, Hong Kong & London with a fair bit of Goa thrown in. It does seem like a movie script but I still felt it is better than most movies these days. This book apparently broke all pre-booking records on Amazon thus reaffirming Bhagat's popularity!

The book's blurb states, “Hi, I am Radhika Mehta and I am getting married this week. I work at Goldman Sachs, an investment bank. Thank you for reading my story. However, let me warn you. You may not like me too much. One, I make a lot of money. Two, I have an opinion on everything. Three, I have had a boyfriend before. Okay, maybe two. Now if I was a guy, you would be okay with all of this. But since I am a girl, these three things don't really make me too likeable, do they?”

It's a story about Radhika and her professional & personal life. She's an ambitious woman who will not stop anything to advance in her career and she's also willing to commit herself to somebody & give the relationship her all. The book is a fast-paced, breezy read with quite a few interesting food for thought. Sample this: Radhika's character thinks to herself, “Why do we need our men to praise and validate us in order for us to feel accomplished?” That's quite true, right? By the way, Radhika keeps talking to herself in her mind throughout the book [I guess so do most of us].

Some thoughts that stuck with me while reading the book – she says sorry to a guy for 'snapping' at him – I wonder how many men would say sorry to a woman for 'snapping'? That's an intrinsically feminine thing, I guess. The book also deals with women's insecurities and asks if women can take compliments. It also talks about a world that has been designed by men where women cannot even rejig office timings, as they want to fly while also have a nest at the same time.

Bhagat also highlights how men mostly seem to have the upper hand in a relationship; when a woman exerts authority/control, she's made to feel guilty & bad about it. Bhagat is qualified to write about women's careers considering he gave up a full-time job more than 10 years ago and is a proud house-husband taking care of his twin sons while his wife works full-time.

There are a whole lot of restaurants that feature in the book including in NYC Harry's Cafe & Steak, Nerai, Whiskey Blue and Dishoom in London.

I am rating this book 3 out of 5 – it's not one of Bhagat's better books (like Five Point Someone or Two States) but it's definitely not as bad as his critics are making it out to be.

I was given a review copy of this book by Rupa Publications in exchange for an honest review.

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