Thursday, February 28, 2013

Book Review: 55 by Chetan Chatwal

On the jacket:

Tried to picture myself in a shady second-rate college and realized that even thinking about it was difficult.'

Arjun Singh is a typical South Delhi brat whose biggest worry is securing a much-coveted seat in one of the city's top colleges. But his ambitious plans come to a screeching halt when he scores a paltry '55' in English in the board exams. Unable to meet the cut-off, Arjun is forced to take admission in a neighbouring second-grade college. Between grappling with his identity as a Sikh and facing repeated misfortunes in love, Arjun's only solace is his three best friends from school who have also ended up in the same dump. What will happen to his future now?

Witty, naughty, and plain irreverent, 55 is a delightful, mad caper about growing up and surviving three tumultuous years in the hallowed corridors of Delhi University.


It is pretty evident from reading the first few pages of 55 that the author is a Delhi boy. Not only by the references, but at times, the pages have a faint reminder of the film Delhi Belly, or so it seemed to me. The first few pages drag on and I couldn't identify with the lead character at all.

The book is light and filled with humour, the kind that if I ever meet the author, I'l expect him to be a jovial company. What I mean is, the humour in the book at no point seems put on or strategic, it flows smoothly. Students from Delhi might identify more with the plot, but as a read, it's a fun, in-flight read.

55 is Chatwal's debut novel and no doubt, a good effort. Editing was a tad bit loose, which made the reading experience not that great.

Rating: ***/5

[This review is for Random House India. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

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