Wednesday, July 31, 2013

You Won't Lose Weight

The one thing about Devapriya Roy's The Weight Loss Club is the fact that it as much to do with a handbook The Vague Woman's Handbook had. In other words, Ms Roy is on her way to become the leading Indian producer of Good Books with Lousy Titles, or in other words, GBLTs.

But that is only one part of her three-pronged anti-marketing strategy. The other two are even more significant - she doesn't promote her books, and most importantly, she writes well.
The misleading title, the hideous caption, and the obnoxious cover: what were you thinking, Devapriya?
Despite its lousy title and repulsive cover The Weight Loss Club comes across as a pleasant surprise. The one thing that is (and has always been) true about the girl woman lass chick girl lady kid is the fact that she writes well - good enough to make me envy her style.

So what is it about her style that makes it stand out? Perhaps the balance: she portrays characters and makes you visualise scenes without intimidating you with a formidable vocabulary. She tells serious tales that will leave you gasping and smiling.

The characters, as in The Vague Woman's Handbook, are very well drawn-out, each one being significantly different from the other; and yet any of them can be your next-door neighbour, or even someone at your own place. Do not be surprised if you find yourself nodding and smiling when you come across a familiar character or a known everyday situation; it's only that she manages to portray them beautifully with an excellent eye for detail.

The book is definitely more complicated than The Vague Woman's Handbook, as are the characters. Devapriya has definitely evolved as an author. The characters are grayer than before. The way she has been able to venture into the psychology of characters is uncanny, even eerie, making you think "how does she know?"

However, as is often the case, the innocence that had got us hooked to The Vague Woman's Handbook is lost in Devapriya's migration to the next level. The characters are also intricately interwoven, which means that the book doesn't remain simple any more. You do not get to see the entire picture from a single person's perspective: all characters play pivotal roles in a tale well-told.

Okay, maybe there is a droplet or two of mush splattered here and there (and even a cheesy line or two), but I guess kids often end up doing that. For almost the entirety of the book, however, she shows an extremely mature understanding of commonplace, everyday characters as her skills of observation peek through every chapter.

Do buy it if you are in awe of Kolkata; or hate people who are indifferent to the Book Fair; or know what walking Gariahat is all about; or think families are a cool concept; or have taken college fests seriously at some point of time; or dream about food for extended periods of time; or take hard-boiled emotional stuff called bonding and camaraderie rather seriously; or have even the slightest idea regarding what knotty dresses with multi-coloured gamchhas are. Okay, maybe not the last bit.

Most importantly, buy it if you love love*. Don't buy it if you want to gain weight reading an engrossing page-turner and skip gym or yoga or whatever obnoxious activity you perform out of compulsion. Yes, she does have that rare quality of making you want to read on - perhaps the single-most important attribute that separates the quality authors from the average ones.

And then, there's also the fact that a famous mathematics tutor is called Boraho (you either get it or you don't). It also features multiple references to a Mila Kunis movie for the grand effect.

Thanks to her suicidal triple whammy the book won't sell as much as the ones written by The Voice of the Youth or the King of Mythology. There will probably be one - just one - copy of this book sold for every hundred Durjoy Dattas or Ravinder Singhs.

What you can do, however, is buy that one copy.
___

* this is not a typo

18 comments:

  1. Thanks to you, I wont have to buy it :) really excited. also, I think the titles are rather cute.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess one of the genders will possibly find them cute. Not sure of the others, though.

      Delete
  2. I will go buy the book. No, I will wait to see if I win the giveaway. Oh, forget it. I will go buy it anyway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do buy it. Please. The girl has already made three successful suicide attempts at marketing.

      Try to stop her from being successful.

      Delete
  3. I'm eagerly waiting for the book review that you're reading presently.How many hours do you manage to read in a day.Don't you get tired after a long day at the workplace?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Often I read books because I feel tired. :)

      Delete
  4. Don't blatantly display the trophies.Make a separate page for it.
    If you were to write a book,what would it be on?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "If you were to write a book who would publish it?" will be a better question.

      Seriously, there are multiple genres that I can think of.

      Delete
    2. likho likho likho! :P
      not sure about the publisher...but I'll get one autographed copy ...yay :D

      Delete
    3. Are your reading this, publishers? They will sell. Give me a chance!

      Delete
  5. I've been buying those 'one copies' and gifting them around. When people talk dismissively about the curent writers of our generation I hold up a Devapriya Roy (and I don't care how much of a fangirl I sound when I say that).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed. I, too, feel that she's one of the better writers among the current crop, and I guess can do with people buying these 'one copies'.

      If a lot of people buy a 'one copy' each at least we can get to read more of her.

      Delete
  6. So want to read the book, thanks to the crisp review

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do it. A deserving kid somewhere will be immensely happy.

      Delete
  7. Very clear review indeed. I think I need to buy this book :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. By all means do that. Do whatever you can to promote decent Indian literature (as opposed to the indecent version).

      Delete
  8. I am ordering it today. I read the previous one on Diptee and your recommendation,it was a hit and have 'chain sold' at least 10 copies. I am sure this one would win too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. Do it. Do it for good literature.

      Delete

Followers