The 3 Mistakes of My Life - Review

Friday, June 27, 2008

I read Chetan Bhagat’s take on the reactions to his latest book The 3 Mistakes of My Life. It does seem that he doesn’t think highly of the people who have panned his work. No work has universal acceptance and the same goes for 3 mistakes as well. You don’t need to defend your work or find chinks in the way the critics review your work either. Before telling us about what the book is all about, he prepares the ground to let us know about the sales figures which are extremely encouraging. The MBA education does have its bearing!

I am one of the ‘core readers’ of his books. I enjoy them a lot. The best thing about his books is the honesty with which he writes. He admits that he has not set out to create a literary masterpiece and sticks to his strengths – humor, emotion and simple flow of the language that everyone can understand. No pretensions, no gimmicks! His stories are likable. They don’t give you big ideas but definitely ease you into a “been there-seen that” world. Another riveting thing about his writing style is that it makes you think that you too can write the way he writes. That motivates you. I won’t be lying if I say that his latest book was one of the reasons why we finally decided to get this collaborative blog going.

Now coming to the book and its content. The 3 Mistakes of My Life is similar in appeal to the earlier works of Chetan. Since his earlier books and foray into Bollywood have increased the expectations from him, this book of his will be examined more critically than ever before. The question is - does he satisfy his readers this time around? Well, to an extent, YES!

The story has the camaraderie angle that his first book had. It picks up dramatic instances in the recent history of Gujarat to build his story. This aspect works big time for the book. Just when everything seems to be working fine, a new twist changes the plot. Chetan Bhagat has very intelligently incorporated the Gujarat quakes, riots and India’s love for Cricket into one story. I specially liked the last part where the three friends protect the Muslim kid from the rioters. The drama created is gripping and it leaves you stirred by the time it ends. The romance between Govind and Vidya is also well developed. The book does have in it to be adapted in Bollywood just as its predecessors already have been.

Even though certain portions do stir you, especially the parts where riots break out, the rest of the parts don’t exactly call out to you. The mistakes that the writer talks about aren’t as dramatic as the story and you tend to overlook what those mistakes were. Come to think of it, one of his mistakes is to slip for a fraction of a second resulting in some muscle tear of the kid Ali that threatens his budding cricketing career. This mistake is cited as one of the reasons that drive him to suicide. Coming from someone who has been depicted as a person with below average emotional quotient, this doesn’t really seem acceptable.

Three friends, their camaraderie, relations turning sour and then reconciliation in a hospital does remind you of Dil Chahta Hai. Think about the dramatic turn of events and also the way they deal with the rioters who are baying for their blood. Ample reason for you to compare it to a typical masala Bollywood flick.

Read it, if:

a.) You are a Chetan Bhagat fan
b.) You don’t find Bollywood downmarket
c.) You are not too finicky about proper English usage and are not looking for literary genius
d.) You like drama

Don’t read it, if:

a.) You are expecting this book to be one up, rather 10 up if you take the sales figures of this book into account, on his last two books
b.) You are doing your post graduation in English and adore D. H. Lawrence’s style of writing
c.) You don’t know who Chetan Bhagat is and are about to read it just because of the hype surrounding the book. I would suggest you read Five Point Someone in such a case.

I would rate this book 2.5 out of 5. Since the sales figures quoted by Chetan Bhagat belie the rating that I have given, I accept in the same breath that I am not a certified critic ;)


the alchemist said...

i think i know why you and me like his books. Its because in his books, the geek always gets the hot girl. And that gives a lot of hope. what do you say?

Sensible Garbage said...

That's hitting the nail on the head! A little bit of hope is what live for..may our fantasies be true :)

Red Soul said...

I;m gonna read it now. I was trying to find a review to read first. I'm a big on Bollywood and I dont think I'll ever find it downmarket. Even though I adore gud english and high-literary stuff, I liked 5.someone and will hopefully like this and not jus waste time reading it...

Red Soul said...

haha. alchemists comment is funny. I like his books coz I feel like the Ryan in his book.. :P

Sensible Garbage said...

@Red Soul: Don't over expect from the book. Since it is a 'thin' book and easy to read, you should not feel like killing the author even if you don't like it at the end of it.

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