The Times said - I finished the book determined to look at the world differently. I am not sure what higher compliment you can pay a novel. So naturally, I have unbelievably high expectations. And it was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize? Am I missing something?
I flipped page after page, cursing, and grumbling, hoping to feel it. Feel what the rest of the world is feeling about this book. I was hoping that this book was going to be a new age The Catcher in the Rye or The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I had no idea how wrong I was going to be proven.
What struck me as I read the first few chapters was how this book was a culmination of age-old cliches stacked on top of each other so meticulously. The girl is rich. The boy is poor. The girl has issues with her father. The boy plays football and also likes reading books. The girl does not wear make-up or care about what anyone thinks. The boy wants to be a writer. It was so uncomfortable to read. Also, the writing style was difficult to get through but that is a personal preference and not a criticism of the book itself.
Every chapter was a mini-story with the same plot with different characters. Marianne and Connell start talking, fight because of reasons that I honestly do not understand, get involved with other people, and part ways. The next chapter brings them together in a different setting with different people. It was so difficult to care for these characters.
It seemed like the author googled a bunch of topics on world's issues and sprinkled them throughout, forced social issues such as depression, suicide, and mental health into the mix almost like a second thought, and tried really hard to push the readers into believing that these characters are intellectuals with important world views. It was all too convenient to be true. And it did not seem like the story went anywhere.
I am picking my brain to come up with one great thing about this book but I am at a loss. Oh wait, the cover design is beautiful. The fact that the only good thing about this book is a judgment on its cover says a lot in my opinion.