Sunday, April 15, 2012

Where I review a book. Yay!

Chicken soup is the stuff of legend. In books, the protagonist will usually sip on some wholesome, piping hot soup when they are down with a fever. Drinking a chai by the windowsill when you are in contemplative mode in Indian novels or walking hand in hand into the sunset are probably the clichés next in line. Anyhoo, I am not the one to let a lousy fever rule me. When I get a cold, I will get a ice cream, challenging the cold, even as my throat croaks in protest at this invasion by this chillingly cold enemy.
So, when I was picked to review  “Chicken Soup for the Indian Couples soul’ in my I hale and hearty condition, I really assumed my awesome wit and unexplained love for spouting clichés won over the panel. Of course, the fact that I am newly married therefore a good pick was a rationale that did not pass my head as my ego and my writing skills did a skillful tango in my brain, occupying much space.
‘Chicken Soup for the Indian couples soul’ has a smiling, young couple on the cover. Unlike every ad in the magazines and papers these days, the couple on the cover looks every inch the Indian with a fine crop of black hair and tanned skin.  A good start I think.
The back is a quick summary of the book positioning it as the one thing every person with a romantic streak needs. A few details about the authors/compilers of the book are written here.
The Chicken Soup series is not alien to me. I have read quiet of few of these, the most recent and appropriately being ‘Chicken soup for the Indian Brides Soul’ which was a mix of poignant, cheerful and touching stories. I tell you this so you know where I am coming from when I write this review.
Let me tell you that I also understand a few things about the ‘Chicken Soup’ series – one that there is a limit to the number of words you may dedicate it each story and two that each story has been written out by a different author. As is the case with almost all these editions, Chicken Soup of the Indian couples soul also has sections- 8 in this case.
It starts of with the ‘Made in Heaven’ section with is a collection of stories of how odd couples from around the world, irrespective of the distance, personalities and perspectives get together to make a life. While some get you thinking, some are predictable and some so ruthlessly edited that they leave you a little empty hoping that the author had a little more space to feel. What struck me the most here was that most of the stories are from another time (not the 2000s or 90s) causing a disconnect as I do not identify with these stories. If the book has come out recently, in 2011, the stories should have been more recent so as to strike a chord. The book moves on to stories about overcoming obstacles, about couples marrying after accidents, helping each cope with loss and illness, supporting each other and in mostly cases completing each other. Some of the stories in certain sections seem repetitive and mundane while some have you suitably awed. Sections 5, 6 and 7 seem very similar and can seem depressing. Some of the writing seems superficial, juvenile, lacking details and with an abrupt flow. This can be excused as I assume that not every contributor is a seasoned writer.
Would I recommend it? Yes, if you need to restore your faith in marriage or love because some stories can definitely make you believe in everything including unicorns and fairies.
I wouldn't recommend it to anyone looking for a good read that's written out well.
I compare this book to the ‘Chicken Soup for the Indian Brides soul’ and the former definitely fares better in every department.
Read this one if  you run out of books but I don't suggest you go looking for it.

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