Friday, August 8, 2008

Bitter Sweets

I had been waiting to read Bitter Sweets for over two weeks before I finally received it in the mail. After reading the book, the first thing that came to my mind was a line from the poem “Ode to a Grecian Urn” by John Keats. In the poem, there’s a line:
Heard melodies are sweet, those unheard are sweeter;”
Poetry hardly ever leaves a deep impression on me because I always fail to see all that the poet wishes to convey through the lines. I am definitely not one to go about quoting lines from poems. But somehow, I still remember this particular line from this particular poem. Maybe because I found it so true and found myself recalling it at various instances in my life. Well, it is not the universal truth and doesn’t really apply to all possible situations. But it seems really true on certain occasions. I guess what Keats was implying through this line was something to the effect of – the state of anticipation is better than actual fulfillment. Heard melodies will never be as sweet as those we have not yet heard. It is a very eloquent line and is really true sometimes. As I already mentioned, it doesn’t always work all the time. Sometimes, I wait to read a book with growing excitement because I have heard so much about it and when I actually read the book, it is better than what I expected and that is bliss! But with Bitter Sweets, my anticipation was actually “sweeter” than the actual fulfillment.
I got an Advance Reading Copy of “Bitter Sweets” by Roopa Farooki. I had a completely different idea in my head after reading the plot of the book. I was expecting something with deeper roots, something with deeper emotions. Somehow, the book seemed very shallow to me. The people whose lives the book revolved around seemed very materialistic and….for lack of a better word, shallow. I know I keep coming back to the word, but that best describes what I actually thought about it. The story describes the lives of 3 generations of people in a family from Calcutta to Dhaka to Islamabad finally to England. The concentration of the book was not on coping with culture differences but rather on copying with relationship problems. What makes me feel confused about the book is the fact that I am not totally sure that the author wanted it to be just a book on extra marital affairs and coming to terms with it. I am sure she was trying to get somewhere further with it but just didn’t get to doing it!
Well, that is just my opinion.
Well, not everything about the book was totally negative. I received the book on Monday evening and I was done reading it by Tuesday night in spite of having to get to work all day Tuesday. Not all books that you come across can make you do that. The language was simple and easy to read (which was a welcome break from the other two books I have been having difficulties with – 1984 and Mrs. Dalloway which are so complicated in their writing styles that it requires special effort to actually get through even a page!). And then of course, the story was entertaining and kept you glued to the book. There were no boring parts that you wanted to skim through just to get done with the book. I guess it was a good first attempt at writing. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone just to see what they thought of it; to see if they liked it better than I did; to confirm if they felt that the author was trying to get any something more than what the book seemed to say. If you read the book, I hope you like it better than I did. I know that Roopa Farooki is in the process of getting her second book published as well. I would definitely want to read it. Maybe I’d have a better understanding of her writing by then to make better judgements.


bethany said...

I just got this from LT as well! I will have to read it and then compare notes :)

You did a great job finishing it super fast (as always).

Ramya said...

The book is a super fast read.. you'll realize that once you start.. yeah! it'll be totally interesting to compare notes!! hope you enjoy it more than i did!:) LT totally rocks! can't wait for my next book!:)

Trish said...

It's too bad that you didn't enjoy this one more--I always hate when expectations aren't met. Hopefully the next one will be better!

Ramya said...

@trish- that totally sucks doesn't it? but i guess books can't always be perfect. And atleast I finished this book. I hate it when i have to leave a book midway because i hated it..