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Book Review: Is "2 States" the fourth mistake of Chetan Bhagat?

I have never reviewed books in my blog. May be I read books which were beyond reviews or books which were not worthy to be reviewed. Of course I can’t review Ayn Rand, as she lives in my thoughts and actions. I read 2 States yesterday and I felt I should write a review on it. May be first of my book reviews.

My book reading abilities are not skewed to any particular genre of writing. I can read Bill Bryson one day and Rajesh Kumar on the other day. I always believe I can get something to learn in every damn book in this world. I don’t divide books on genre or literary values but on what I like and don’t like. But somehow I could not read fantasies and I hate self-improvement books       (Nobody needs to tell me how should I f$&@ing live)

Chetan Bhagat, a IIT-IIM combo ( a dream which most people want to achieve) and a person who shed his corporate life for a writing career ( of course after making some money) has this aim of writing for the young hip crowd and not for the literary wizards. Some hate him, some love him, some like me can’t ignore him.

I loved Five Point Someone. It was brilliant. One Night at the Call Center was passable and Three Mistakes of my Life was pathetic (that’s the positive review I can give you about that book). So when his next book “2 States” got released, I was in a fix whether to buy or not to buy. And when one guy asked a quiz question on it, I could not ignore him.95 bucks is not an issue and it’s lesser than what the hero pays for his auto from Airport to Nungambakkam when he first lands in Chennai.

“2 States” is a semi-autobiographical love story of the author. A love story between two IIM – A graduates, Krish Malhotra from Punjab and Ananya Sreenivasan Tamil Nadu. It’s about how they convince their parents to love each others family. In simple words, a pinch of DDLJ tossed with seasoning from Poovellam Kettu Paar and Jodi with Chetan’s brand of dramatism and simple humour. Sujatha, the Tamil author usually says “the fiction is sweeter only when it is made out of a leaf from your real life”. That’s why think Five Point Someone and 2 States where different from other two.

2_States by Chetan Bhagat

What I liked in the Book?

1. The book has this simple but strong message about the attitude of parents towards the marriage of their children. A ego which doesnt allow them to accept the self-decisions made by their choldren. But the only problem is that they will not read this book at all and even if they read they will never accept it

2. The humour running around all over the  book. Sometimes I laughed out loud – like when he encounters the Banana Leaf for the first time – ” I didn’t know whether to wipe my hands or eat with it”

3. The simple writing style which most literary buffs crticise him about. Come on guys, let’s give it to him, he is not boring – atleast in this book. You write your own brand of books and let him write his own. He gives confidence to lot more youngsters to get in to writing

4. Using real incidents, people and places. Chennaites will be happy to read about Loyola, Amethyst and Taj -even the afternoon disco. And Thanjavur (my home town) gets a mention too. He he he

What I didn’t like in the Book?

1. The over dramatism in some parts. I think Ananya’s mother would have sung in a concert but cannot be with Hariharan and SPB.(Sounds Poovellam Kettu Paar for me). And Ananya could not have done that dramatic convincing act in a Punjabi wedding. (If it had happened in real, inthe same way he has narrated, it needs some more dramatism for the book)

2. The author could have used the names from Five Point Someone – as he constantly refers to thar character

3. As it’s a first person point of view, it looked Ananya had a subdued role. I thought in such a marriage, she would have had such lesser role to play

4. Stereotyping Tamilians and Punjabis although the author claims to be otherwise. It helps for the humour in the book and some are real hard hitting facts. But I felt that he could have reduced in the final parts of the book

5. I felt the ways used by the characters impressing their in-laws are way too cliched. May be because I have seen innumerable Tamil movies with similar plots.

On the whole, 2 States is an very enjoyable book .He is the Rajesh Kumar of Indian English Fiction. The only problem would be the swarm of English Fictions on multi- state love stories, which will fill up the Indian Fiction shelves of book stores.

So is the book fourth mistake of Chetan? I would say ” No” because 2 States is definitely enjoyable, more plausible than his last book but over dramatic and cliched.

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17 Comments

  1. Ramanan · October 29, 2009 Reply

    The next thing he is going to do is to write a book about him writing a book… and put as many idiotic jokes into it. And people will lap it up.

    The same people will watch 2 states made into a Hindi movie 3 times over.

  2. Karthik Narayan · October 29, 2009 Reply

    Sounded a lot like a tv show/ news channel coverage than a book review. but for a masala book, this review was awesome. thanks again for filling up my day with good stuff about the book world.

    As for me, iv not found enough energy to buy books and read them – i am too busy writing mine

    • Sylvian · October 29, 2009 Reply

      Thanks for the comment KN. I could not make it better. I had this post for the past 4 days and was thinking how to make it interesting. I gave up because it was Chetan Bhagat anyways he he he…;)

      • Pranathi · November 29, 2010 Reply

        i dont think so you can insult Chetan so badly……….

        • Sylvian · December 1, 2010 Reply

          Hi Pranathi, it’s a review and I think I have written about the book and nothing personal about Chetan Bhagat. If you feel I have insulted Chetan, apologies but I will stand by my review

  3. subs · October 29, 2009 Reply

    I loved the book. For the same reasons you did. You could forgive him for the exaggeration but the humour had me in splits

    Good review patrick :)

  4. Rajimuth · October 30, 2009 Reply

    Puts the book in perspective for people of my gen. telling us what it is about. Good job.

    • Sylvian · October 30, 2009 Reply

      Thanks Aunty. I am thinking of doing book reviews of interesting books in the site. Only concern is I feel like I am becoming a reviewer of sorts ;)

  5. Hari · October 30, 2009 Reply

    I liked your take on 3 Mistakes of My Life. Haven't had the chance to check out 2 States yet.

    Nice review, clearly stating the likes & dislikes.

  6. Tweets that mention 2 States Review by Sylvianism | Sylvianism -- Topsy.com · October 30, 2009 Reply

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  8. Parthi · November 15, 2009 Reply

    Nice one Sylvian.I have to read this book yet.From ur remarks i suppose this is to be better than his previous mediocre "3 mistakes of my life" and we don't want to end up making a mistake by reading this.Anyways i'm going to grab one for myself atleast to check out his trademark sense of humor which i'm sure will be aplenty especially his inner mind voices.

  9. dhaval A pawale · December 7, 2009 Reply

    @Ramanan … It would be interesting to read 'he write a book on himself writing a book', but one word, if he can make people smile that means he is brilliant… I think we as an reader shall be matured enough to understand the value of literature, though chetan bhagat doesnt fall under the highly critically acclaimed writers, theres a spark in his writing which has made thousands of young Indians to atleast pick up a book and start reading which in itself is a big contribution for literature in whole…

  10. Bhaskar · December 20, 2009 Reply

    i just finished reading the book yesterday – all in one go. I have read all his previous books. My take is that, after Five Point something, this is CB's best book. 'Three mistakes' was a huge disaster. CB's sense of humour is to be appreciated. i was in splits many times while reading the book. While I enjoyed an outside-in view of South Indians / Madrasis / Tamilians and was OK with the wit of it, I somehow did not like derogatory references to M.S. Subbulakshmi in the book. I think he went too much over the top there. I would rate the book 4/5.

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