“Someone Like You”, co-written by Nikita Singh and Durjoy Datta, is a book published by Penguin Books India under its Metro Reads series.
Chetan Bhagat’s biggest contribution to the publishing industry in India was the creation / identification of a new target segment of readers. The readers of this segment are young (18-35 years), are English literate and are keen on light reading as entertainment. Recognizing the market potential within this untapped market segment, Penguin launched the Metro Reads series of books to cater to this niche market. Launching Metro Reads, Penguin describes Metro Reads books on its web-site as, “books that don’t weigh you down with complicated stories, don’t ask for much time or do not required to be lugged about”.
Niharika Singh, is an adolescent girl suffering from low self esteem and poor body image issues. She is on the verge of leaving home (in Jaipur) for her new college (in Nagpur). Thanks to a visit to meet her beautiful and sophisticated sister, where her sister and her friends give her a makeover, she transforms from the ugly duckling into a self-possessed swan. She also sees that her sister is in a beautiful relationship with her boyfriend, causing her (Niharika) to long for one such relationship for herself.
She leaves home for her college, where she hopes to find her Mr Right. What follows is her life in college – her friends, room mates and her search for her man. On her first day in college she meets Tanmay, her best friend to be. She also has the petite and vivacious Pia as her room-mate. The 3 of them form the mandatory BFF group. Niharika is attracted to 2 persons, Akshat, who is ardently wooing her, and the rather mysterious, stand-offish and I-don’t-give-a-damn character, Karthik. Though she seems to be confused, it is pretty evident to the readers, who the good guy is. There are events that happen in college hostel life, including brawls, football matches. There is loss, grief and recovery too. There is a climax (though the most compelling moment comes much earlier) and a resolving of the issues rather tamely, with the lead pair probably living “happily ever after” from the 2nd year onwards.
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- The storyline is simple, language is simple and pacy enough with ample events happening throughout to keep the reader engaged.
- Adolescent girls and boys might be able to identify with some of the situations and feelings portrayed.
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- Emphasizes on physical appearance being important to get a sense of self-worth. eg. the makeover given by the protagonist’s sister’s friends gives Niharika an increased sense of self-esteem rather than her other traits.
- Doles out pretty dangerous relationship advice. An example of this is the “3-minute test” to determine if a person is the right person for you – considering the age group who is going to read this, it is frightening to imagine the consequences of such advice.
- The attention given to the editing is very poor. I was surprised that it had come from Penguin India – it should have been much better.
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- The discerning reader would find this boring; for the non-discerning reader it is dangerous – strict parental guidance advised.
Read it, if you are a compulsive reader