Saturday, February 21, 2015

Review: The Notebook of Gargi Sarkhel Bagchi & Harshita Srivastava

Love, an endless topic to talk about. Maybe a word in the dictionary which has numerous meanings each suiting to a person or a condition or a scenario. There is a lot to be talked and tamed about it, but there are positives and negatives and that creates a spread out version of it. Author Gargi Sarkhel and Harshita Srivastava in their book "The Notebook of Romance" have put together people from different walks of life and express themselves on this one single most talked about yet eluding topic. So how have they fared? Let's find out. 

Overrated at times and yet underrated, love is something that goes beyond any form of control, power or influence. It can make you or break you, kill you or make you feel alive all over again. This exceptional emotion with different nuances and layers is about to be unfolded. The season of love is back and so are we. The third book in the Moonlit Matinee series, The Notebook of Romance takes you on a wonderful journey of the most beautiful feeling in the world through a compilation of 25 heartwarming tales.

First look at the title and the cover and a reader can easily score hundred points for guessing the genre of the book. It's pretty straight forward and no rocket science is required. It indeed is a notebook of romance once you go through with the entire length of the book. The blurb talks about love and it's importance in life nowadays. It hints as what to expect from the book.  

Story No. 1:

It's a story of love torn between the past and the present. The story turns out to be no special effort. The predictable prowess explored with certain limitations. There's love written all over it but the wow factor eludes a reader. The most engrossing part of the story are a set of questions which really hit hard and fast.

Story No. 2:

 It's a story of love from the unexpected quarters of life and under least pretentious circumstances. There's a lot of emotions stored in the story. A bit more work on spreading it equally rather than giving too much attention on clothing would have made the story look perfect. But nonetheless the story's imperfections and communique of love are much more to talk and die for. A classic raw tale.

Story No. 3:

It's a story of high expectations and reality. The truth be told there is not much too delve in the story but the humor lies in those single sided conversations where it's all about cribbing and dreams flying out of the window. A bit more masala and things would have hit the right patch. Till then... the story is a good humor but less on love content.

Story No. 4:

The story is about crushed aspirations and known corners of love. The story treads carefully before spilling out the beans but it neither has the charm nor the strength to woo the readers. The monotonous rambling also makes it fall out of favor when it ends on a disappointing note. An average story.

Story No. 5:

There are stories of love and then there are stories of vigor and valor. This is a valorous story where emotions score a lot over blind acceptance of fate. There's a tone of defiance in the story and it turns into it's true colors by the time it ends. The story is indeed passionate and filled with remorse and retort.

Story No. 6:

Instant, quick and quirky, this is what defines this story. But the main ingredients like feeling the emotions are all amiss. Pretty straightforward and age old romance with nothing new to savor. A dull and an average story.

Story No. 7:

A story about life's reality and ambitions and inhibitions post marriage. The story never quite got going and remained very monotonous. Towards the end it felt completely off sync, thus making it difficult to like it a bit. Another pale affair.

Story No. 8:

The story of untamed and quest for lost love. It's a rather unusual but a spot on narration. The thirst to quench in the entire story keeps the senses alive though it could have been more gripping yet the story is quite the difference maker till now. A bold attempt but predictable story line.

Story No. 9:

It's a story about remorse,regret and moving on or staying glued to the present. The story has a good touch of emotions. It looks bizarre at first but then realization sinks in and the story turns out to be good at giving vent to the hidden feelings and impromptu decisions. Expect the unexpected that is what life is all about and the story teaches you that.

Story No. 10:

It's a story of pain and trust and how much are you ready to confront your demons or getting tormented. The story takes a nice step to make it amicable for the readers to understand the worth of every relationship. There are emotions and angst running high but then there's a melancholy to it that hits like a lullaby and sings a tune of understanding goodness. A good story indeed.

Story No. 11:

The story is set off to mend broken hearts and glue the relationships to last long. It irrevocably states the heart of the matters and contemplates the next moves with utmost care. The story is chirpy yet has a serious tone to it though a much prolonged outlook would have done wonders. But still it captivates the heart and fills one with optimism.

Story No. 12:

It's a story of young fluttering hearts and ironic fears which seep through our lives knowingly or unknowingly. The story has tragedy mixed with love and despair and spells a lot of good drama before spinning out the final blow. It concludes and leaves a big void. But the story is a true symbol of love.

Story No. 13:

An age old phenomenon of love at first sight is in works in the story. The story is no different from the old romance tales and fails to flutter or spread it's wings in the right direction. With nothing new to offer there's not much to ponder or delve about in this old over-used romantic tale.

Story No. 14:

Love is deceptive and it is cruel too. The story hangs in balance until the end and by the end, there's either a big smile or a touch of humor involved in the entire scenario. But it beats a lot of imaginations heads up to score something out of the blue. A fun tale.

Story No. 15:

It's not the end sometimes that carve out the righteous but sometimes it's the start that means a lot. So the footing of the story is quite steady but the end is not that glorious. With all pomp and show it turned out be a dull affair once it finished without any miracle. A well thought idea but put together in a very unconvincing manner.

Story No. 16:

It's a stranger world and even stranger are its ways to teach us a lesson. The story tries it's hand at imparting a lesson or two, but alas the old romance catches up once again with no particular bright spot in the story. It certainly could have been a better offering but rather turns out to be a very dull affair.

Story No. 17:

Love by chance is an age old theory and it happens to very few same like in this story. The story is not a grand affair and it's a very regular love tale with not much to engross yourself as a reader. The predictable finish also doesn't helps its cause.

Story No. 18:

Love is blind and this story proves it till it sticks on the face. The story is quite fast paced and manages to string a lot of surprises but the best of the lot is saved for the end and there it hits the hilt and completes it's journey. A very intricately woven tale.

Story No. 19:

It's a story from rag to riches. Riches of the unknown kind but better than anything. The story revolves around two parallel lives and has a magnetic pull to it. It keeps the balance maintained and even gives enough space for love to blossom under trying circumstances. A story to look up to in dire days for it gives you hope to live and laugh.

Story No. 20:

This is a personal memoir more than a story. It could have been given more voice and made more interesting. But got finished just too quickly and the author seemed in a hurry to tell the tale.

Story No. 21:

How often hope plays a part in shaping our destiny. The story somewhat treads on this path and rather keeps the concept of love very much alive. It's a nice story with a feather touch of love to it. The only annoying part in the story is that the name of Nicholas Sparks has been misspelt as "Nickolas Sparks" just one too many times.

Story No. 22:

A strange story is always good for memory. It tends to stick out even after ages. This story contemplates the ifs and buts of love and with one sweet stroke finish what it started without a trace. The story is a brutal truth and desperate touch of emotions felt after a long time. A good story with good command over the set up and in many other senses.

Story No. 23:

How sometimes a day becomes so important in your life that it is etched forever? The story is a great reminder of that. A beautifully written story with pretty much everything in place from love to sadness from happiness to hope and from hopelessness to strength. The story scores at all fronts and turns out to be a winner.

Story No. 24:

 What happens when something happens in life but it's from the opposite side. But it all comes with it's own set of laughter and tears. The story is like a string to the guitar and like notes to the music. It sings and dances over the entire length and eventually turns out to be the page turner which one searches for. It has it's own set of pearls and they have been strung quite intricately and handled with delicacy.

Story No. 25:

A simple straight logic implies to relationships i.e understanding and togetherness. The story treads on similar lines and one by one picks up all the threads and tie them together to make a strong rope of bond and love. It's a good story and implies all the societal norms and modern day thinking to keep the sanctity of love and relationships alive. 

25 stories and most of them have worked their way out from the daily walks of life. Some of them carved out of sheer dedication and personal experiences and some out of wild imagination. The stories most of them touch the chords of feelings a person possess at various stages of life. There's a lot of sanctity and simplicity in the ideas as it doesn't feels like a bolt out of the blue. There are simple and complex a fine blend of love tales. Some stories which are worth talking and mentioning about are story no. 2, 12, 18, 22, 23 and 24. Honesty is the policy which works in the case of the book too and there's not much of extravagant attempt to overdo the entire phenomena. 

The downside of the book is monotonous nature of some stories. They lack the source of inspiration neither they hit the right chord. Some effort to rejig them to deliver the goods was required from their respective authors. Also the length of the book should have been kept down to 15 stories keeping in mind that lesser the number, the more it is able to engage the readers. 

All in all the freedom to express yourselves on a platform of love is compelling. Space and domain have been given a preference and expansive strategies to keep love in the forefront pays off as a gamble. There is a set benchmark to each and every narration and they try to maintain it either through narration or vividness. A bit more is required at times from few of the tales but nonetheless for the most part they get it right. A book with wide variety of love and flavors for all age groups.  


3 OUT OF 5


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