Book Review : Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

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Summary :
“They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life–steady boyfriend, close family–who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after a motorcycle accident. Will has always lived a huge life–big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel–and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is. Will is acerbic, moody, bossy–but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living. A Love Story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common–a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart? “

Okay so here’s a situation : you see a book, grimace a little at its tacky cover, declare it as a typical mindless out-of-the-world chick lit but pick it up anyways because you are in mood for trashy novels. Emphasis on the word trashy here. Fast forward a few hours. You are sitting at the metro station, missing train after train and knowing full well about a certain class that you are supposed to attend. But you don’t pay attention. Not even to the fact that you have just 5 minutes left to leave the station else you’ll be bound to pay a hefty fine. But these things are trivial for you. You are busy wiping tears from your eyes and can’t suppress a sigh every now and then. A kind faced lady with a green bag and a concerned look on her face comes over to you and asks about the tragedy you are facing. Hearing the word tragedy you gasp in horror and look at her with incredulity because you can’t imagine a situation any less tragic than this. This is one of those rarest of the rare moments of your life wherein your satisfaction knows no bounds. It’s like you have seen the sun after months of depressing rain. It’s like you have finally managed the top grade after repeatedly dismal results. Yes, it is one of those moments where, had you been in a movie, you would have whooped with joy and waltzed with strangers. Because it is after so many months that you’ve finally come across a book that has blown you over. A novel with so blatantly real characters that you wouldn’t be surprised to find one of them walking past you albeit with a different physicality. They have flaws. And even these flaws are extremely realistic that they sometimes remind you of real people in your life. It’s a love story with not a trace of corny romance where the two individuals move beyond drooling over the other’s hot body. Their relationship us what a healthy relationship should be. Where one helps the other grow. And all this without a trace of banality or boredom creeping in.

 
But you can’t say all this to the green bag lady. Instead you just smile and point at the book with the hope that one day she’ll realise. As you turn back to the novel you realise with a sudden bout of philosophical insight that this is the kind of fairy tale that can happen in real life. That you would prefer this over a knight in a shining armor.

P.S. The novel in the girl’s hand, dear reader, in case you hadn’t realized is Me Before You. And this girl could very well be you if you plan on reading it in future.

Book Review : Slammed by Colleen Hoover

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Sweet romance, that’s what it is. This book is the first that I have read under the promising theme of student-teacher romance. So naturally I had really high hopes. After a few pages in, i was relieved to realise that it might just do that.

Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she’s losing hope.

Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope  .Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart.

When the story starts you expect Layken to be wiser and more mature than her age but with the story’s progression you realize that she is your typical teenager. She lets her anger get the better of her most of the times and “falls in love” after a single date. The latter is so typical in ya books nowadays that it doesn’t piss me off anymore. Her sense of responsibility towards her brother is heart warming. I was quite disappointed to see that her character undergoes no development in the story. And then comes Will. He’s the star of the show no doubt. Sensible, polite, funny and mature, you can’t help liking him. Oh and did i mention that he writes poetry ? And speaking of poetry, though i did like the poems, i could not quite picturise the slam performances. Next in the list of characters who needs special mention is Eddie, Lake’s best friend. I loved Eddie. One thing you can count upon in ya novels, no matter how terrific or horrific the plot, is the presence of ultra cool best friends of the protagonists. More often than not, they are the ones more likable than the lead pair.

One thing that really put me off was the totally irrelevant tragedy at the end. As if what they both were already facing was not enough. Sentimentality is good,  but it went overboard towards the end.

Slammed in five:

Forbidden romance (student-teacher)

Sweet

Sad

Dramatic

Gushing fan girl stuff

Book Review : Moloka’i by Alan Brennert

 

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After days ( months really) of gorging ya novels, i finally sought to give the genre a break and switch to reading something more serious. It’s hard, you know. YA is addictive atuff. It’s quick to read, easy to relate to and works wonders for depression (well there you go! my secret  antidote for depression). After laboriously going through my to-read list, i finally got my hands on Moloka’i. It’s running theme, about the plight of leprosy patients in the late nineteenth century, promised to enrich with knowledge of the events which i was sadly unaware of. Yes, i  am quite ashamed to admit that i knew nothing about leprosy camps or about the history of the disease. And thus enlightenment came in the form of this novel by Alan Brennert. It was informative, very much so, and very well researched. 

The story is about  a young girl, Rachael, who is taken from her family and sent to the Molokai leper colony in the 1890’s. She’s one of the youngest inhabitants of the colony. She spends most of her life there until a cure for leprosy is discovered. The novel takes us through her life and how she experiences loneliness, seperation and desperation on having been taken away from her family, finding friendship and solace in fellow  and growing up to become a woman of extreme tolerance. 

The novel as i mentioned previously is abundant on knowledge and takes us through an era when scientific discoveries were abundant and orthodoxy was at its peak. It gives a very detailed and sometimes exhausting description of the islands which sometimes breaks the pace of narration. The story in itself is quite interesting and there are parts where your heart goes out to the characters and their predicament. It’s heart wrenching at places. The residents share close friendship with each other and you can’t help but sigh in delight at their camaraderie. 

It’s a sentimental novel full of heart wrenching moments but it’s not perfect. Some of the tragedies seem forced and work as mere incidents to pile on to the sentimentality. Read to know more about historical events that many of us don’t pay attention to. But nothing spectacular here.