Sunday, March 30, 2008

How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life - Kaavya Viswanathan

A quick review about a book that I started reading purely on a friend's recommendation and that I was only too happy about reading an e-book version of. For, if I had had bought this book, I would've rued having spent good money on a book so sad.

'How Opal Mehta...' is the story of, well, Opal Mehta and how her entire life spins around getting admission into Harvard. Her parents have drilled into her the idea that the sole reason for her existence is to get into Harvard. They have formulated what they call the HOWGIH (How Opal Will Get Into Harvard) plan which includes cello lessons, welding lessons (these for recreation!!), math camps etc. Problem is, the child has become such a geek that the Dean of Admissions at Harvard asks her to 'go get a life'. How Opal and her parents struggle to find out what 'get a life' means forms the basis of the rest of the book.

Frankly, I liked the way the book began. Opal had nerdy written all over her character (in tense situations, she starts reciting prime numbers in her head so as to calm herself down). Moreover, the contrast between her and the easy-going free spirit Valerie 'call me Val' Marks in the first chapter is brilliantly funny.

Unfortunately, the book loses its sheen thereafter. The military precision with which Opal's parents proceed to try and get her a life is fun, but the idea is repeated too often.

I kept getting a feeling that I was reading the script of a very bad Hollywood teen-college movie where the protagonist is lost and confused about her identity. It was getting way too cliched and I hence, I decided to chuck reading the rest of the book.

Of course, there's the matter of plagiarism against the book, but the book in itself is too immature for me to comment on that issue. I would've overlooked the plagiarism bit if the book would've maintained my interest, but it did not. What ultimately matters to me is whether a book (fiction) entertains or not. Sadly, 'How Opal Mehta...' could not build on the expectations built in the first chapter.

Book Rating: 1.5 out of 5

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

The protagonist still knows what heroin wants.

She wants freedom. She wants someone who knows that relationship is based on what you can give rather than what you

get. Someone who respect her freedom.

She wants someone who earns enough to take her to different places that she dreamed of like UK. Someone who wants to

take her to AUS not only because she wanted to see that places or can have fun. But because he don't want her and

her mom to feel throughout her life that she did a bad decision by not marrying a guy who lived there. He

understands that every mom wants to see her daughter happy.

She wants someone who holds a good position in good company. Because her father don't feel that he did a bad

decision by not making her marry her to a guy who holded the same position.

Someone who can take care of her small small needs. Who can make her laugh when she is in bad mood. Someone who goes

to office by 9 work hard and get back by 6 so that he can spend some time with her. Someone who loves pets so that

when he is busy she can spend time playing with dog. Someone who knows how to have fun when required.

Someone who understand that she is not in a mood to go to office. Someone who don't mind if she talks to her

friends. Someone whom she can trust someone whom she can be proud to call her own. Someone who can take her out in

the crowd holding her hand for shopping.

Someone who can ask his dad for medicines when she is ill. Someone who can pick the guitar and sing for her.

Someone who wants to do different things along with her so that after 30-40 years she may not feel that she lead a meaningless life.

Someone who himself can ask for her hand instead of her asking for his.

Anonymous said...

If this is the guy she wants to marry she should call the protagonist.

Anonymous said...

I think the Vessel, that with fugitive
Articulation answer'd, once did live,
And merry-make; and the cold Lip I kiss'd
How many Kisses might it take--and give!

Anonymous said...

You know, my Friends, how long since in my House
For a new Marriage I did make Carouse:
Divorced old barren Reason from my Bed,
And took the Daughter of the Vine to Spouse.

Siddharth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

And I am still crying!! Someone please help this empty cup to fill up with the best wine? :((

Anonymous said...

But leave the Wise to wrangle, and with me
The Quarrel of the Universe let be:
And, in some corner of the Hubbub coucht,
Make Game of that which makes as much of Thee.

Anonymous said...

And I am still crying!! Am I just to play games with?

Anonymous said...

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

Shekhar said...

anonymous: You obviously found something in that book that I didn't. Good for you. Congratulations!!

Anonymous said...

Well if want to know. Please read the book called 'Siddhartha' by Hermann Hess

Ridhi :) said...

I agree the book was Total Time Pass... but that was the fun part of it :D
You nailed it on the head about it being like a hollywood teen flick.. but so wat :D
I enjoy teen flicks :D

Shekhar said...

anon: Shall do so at the earliest.

ridhi: Hmm.. I do not enjoy teen flicks. Call it 'umar ka takaaza' if u will. ;)

Shekhar said...

@Anon1: Thanks. Planning to start writing again.

@Anon2: Thanks.