Book Review: I Am Not 24

Description: I’m not 24.. is the story of Saumya, Malappa & Shubhro which should have been a love triangle but wasn’t. The three of them , coming from different worlds, are thrown into a fourth world called Karnataka. But it is not virgin beaches or exotic dancers that await them. They are to be welcomed by blood, riots, violet bosses and cut limbs. Will Saumya survive her job in the middle of nowhere? Will Malappa’s superiority help him survive or become the cause of his downfall? Will Shubhro prove that a heart of gold can survive through Marijuana smoke and Beer rich blood?

I think it prudent to mention beforehand that this review may seem like a biased opinion by someone who has an inherent dislike for the slew of romantic books by Indian authors written in a Chetan Bhagatesque style (he was better in retrospect). I almost didn’t read it beyond the first 5 pages where I, being presumed as the average non-assuming retarded reader, am explained that the narration will be by a girl and not the author. Not to mention the never ending grammatical mistakes, which I did ignore while reading it reminding myself about this commitment to Blogadda and will now while writing the review.

I am not 24 captures an IIM grad student’s journey into the professional world where due to a confusion (Saumya can be a boy as well) she gets assigned to a godforsaken village named Toranagallu in Karnataka. She meets workers, lechers, corpulent and envious bosses, establishes a rapport with the unlikeliest of people and falls in love with a Bong hippie (the only character I liked in the entire novel).

What strikes me particularly jarring in the entire novel is Saumya’s obsession with female underwear, cosmetics, shoes, and other apparel. The author clearly doesn’t know how a woman thinks like. I cannot myself claim to know that either, but the book presents an image which teenagers in a boys hostel make of a new girl in the college when they first see her. And it is surprising because Saumya is an IIM grad, and I would certainly expect them to have a plethora of other issues on their mind rather than what lingerie is up on the Debenhams’s window.

The book became a little easier to read after she started working in the company, as the story progressed towards the entrance of Malappa in the novel. He is shown to be quite a hunk, though his cheek eventually lands him in the soup, or the blast furnace as was the case here. The first real bit of corporeality in the character of Saumya becomes significant here, though I think it could have been more lucidly detailed.

The bong hippie Shubhro’s character has been well etched out, perhaps because his part in the book was ephemeral yet significant. Although the last part with all the blog posts justifying his existence killed all the mystery, some amount of which should have been maintained. Or maybe it’s just me. And Saumya describes Shubhro as her boyfriend in the beginning of the novel, which is a little strange when you think of it, as Shubhro had whisked off to Andaman and Nicobar not particularly throwing the love jargon around.

Do I think that this book will reach a wide audience? Certainly, with a price tag of 100 bucks available in a Wheeler depot of the railway station it is a catch for the quintessential Indian reader who wants a light read for the journey so that they could disembark on the other end and recommend the book to other people as an illustration of their extensive erudition.

Do I recommend it? No. I think you can add another hundred bucks and buy something else.

Oh, and I forgot to mention spoiler alert above. Apologies.


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