Friday, May 25, 2012

War of the words. Or so it says. Book review of 'It's you move, Wordfreak!'

Book written by Falgun Kothari. Review by A little Amused but mostly Confused Bystander
As a reader , a writer and in general a human being with a love for words, I was eager to review this book which used scrabble to create a story. I hastily put together some big 7 letter words for the review incase anyone was going to score me. And that sounds a little wrong.
Anyhoo, the lead characters are Wordfreak and Worddiva who are falling in love from the first page of the book. They live in Mumbai and they chat online. They also live alone which all characters in books nowadays somehow manage while I still struggle to buy my own underwear. The book opens on the eve of a date. Let me put a few things straight here. The back of the book reads (which I am assuming everyone reads first) like these two Word players are totally into each other. Allow me to quote, “Wordfreak and Worddiva hit it off right form their first online Scrabble game. “ So, technically, though the back of the book says otherwise, this isn’t a blind date between these two letter and vocabulary-rich individuals.
The book starts of interestingly enough. The protagonists take their online, ,due to the lack of a better word,  ‘thingy’ offline. Alisha Menon is a divorce lawyer. Aryan Chawla makes green buildings. Which you may not misunderstand as buildings painted green or buildings that are like the Hulk but must understand as environment-friendly brick and mortar structures. Back to the book, the date is ideal, they both are ideal, looks are ideal, ideals are ideal and everything is great. At this point, I think the writer should have moved on. But, she doesn't. Much is explained about which body part is doing cartwheels, which one is sweaty and how absolutely gorgeous the other person is. Because you know people who think they are ugly and fat with no life aren’t the ones on the net at 3am in the morning. The gorgeous ones with muscled boyfriends in tow generally have such intellectual pursuits. No offense to anyone.
Our lead characters gorgeous as they are apparently have never had previous relationships. So it’s all hunky-dory and sexy. Then, somewhere along the line Falguni Kothari (the author) realizes there isn’t much happening in the story while the reader has already fallen into deep slumber. So, she jolts the characters out of their boring life and brings a nice past life issues angle into it.
To briefly go over this again. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love Boy meets girls family. Screeching halt. Really, in India? Before we even know the guy properly? Apparently, it's a norm that the minute you have some interest in some guy you will tell you mom who will quickly order you and boy to come home. Moving on, girl meets boy’s family. Sundry characters are introduced. Most of these are novel characters. Happy, chilled out nani. Cool, back-thumping uncle etc.
Somewhere along, Aryan develops issues and Alisha must solve them in the manner that all women in the world solve, well, everything. They talk, then he runs away from here, then they cold shoulder each other and then they talk and everyone is happy. There is a choreographed dance sequence in the end. Not really.

Nothing exceptional here but if you have been reading Chetan Bhagat, you will probably think this is literature. Not a very different storyline but should keep you reading. Take it to a government office where you know you are going to be waiting pretty long to get a pipe in your house fixed.
Don't get fooled by the title though. Except 3 minutes in reading time, no part of the book makes any reference whatsoever to the totally awesome game of Scrabble. What a waste of my triple word score!

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