I tend to avoid certain authors because of my first impressions. The title of Preeti Shenoy’s “34 bubblegums and candies” had induced certain prejudices in me that I avoided reading her for a long time. By a certain turn of events, I decided to give her book “Life is what you make it”, which has been lying on my bookshelf for more than 6 months, a chance.
The story is set in the year 1989. After her schooling, Ankita, the protagonist, moves to Kochi with her conservative parents. She joins St. Agnes, a girls’ college, but misses her ex-classmate Vaibhav who joins IITD. Just as she gets to speaking to him secretly over the landline phone and writing long love letters, she meets Abhishek from Maheveers college.
Abhi falls instantly in love with her, but she is torn because of her loyalties towards Vaibhav. She remains non-committal to Abhi, though Abhi is intensely passionate about their relationship.
As she finishes graduation, she gets into the best management institute of the country, in Mumbai and coincidentally, her father gets transferred to Mumbai. Ambitious that she is, she decides to move, while Abhi tries to hold her back. When she refuses, Abhi commits suicide.
Nevertheless, she moves to Mumbai, and pursues her studies. To exorcise Abhi from her life, she focuses on her studies. Gradually, she sleeps less, works more and excels, but reaches a point of imbalance.
Thus starts a descent. Why she descends and how she manages to survive such a condition forms the rest of the story.
+ + +
- The pace. Preeti Shenoy has maintained a racy pace. I finished it in two sittings in less than 24 hours.
- Though it appears to be of the romance genre, I liked that the author has managed to address the stigma in our society towards mental disorders.
- Well-researched treatment of the disorder, how it manifests and how it is treated.
- The first half is very light and easy to read and made me nostalgic about my college days. Ankita and her friends and the events that show the fun they have, are very natural.
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- The typos and some editing oversights strewn across the book were annoying and acted as speed-breakers. This is the second book by the same publishers with the same issue that I have read. The publishers may want to take a look at it.
For an idle, rainy afternoon!