This book is my ninth read of 2021, my first of this author and was a new experience for me. For one, it allows readers to delve into the delicate churns of disturbed minds. And secondly, it showcases the destructive forces of modern-day addictions that threaten to engulf multiple lives.
The characters are etched out well, letting readers understand the nuances of their feelings and behavior. Jhanvi and Ashray are the protagonists whom the whole storyline revolves around.
All the additional characters, be it parents or friends (Rishi and Kavya) or even the nurse and doctor, play important roles in shaping up the course of the key characters’ lives. I wanted to know what happened to Sakshi and Latika at the end, their stories are lost somewhere along the way.
The modern challenges of balancing work, career, solitude and family while retaining sanity forms the crux of the story.
The storyline is replete with dramatic ironies that are interesting, with some suspense for the reader. I like the simultaneous movement of alternate lives of the two key characters, largely unaware of how their lives crisscross one another multiple times, without their knowledge.
Jhanvi’s social media and vodka addictions are annoying, although they are probably meant to evince opposite feelings. The constant social media checks and especially her abnormal eating (or lack of eating) makes us want to slap some common sense into her thick head.
While Ashray’s love for his mom is endearing, it also showcases him as a complete mamma’s boy. His hyper-sensitivity towards her explains the mental problems that plague him later in the story.
Both the key characters remind us of the many Jhanvis and Ashrays around us who are easily led to destruction if they do not seek professional assistance.
I found the musings of Kavya a little unconvincing, maybe because she seems like an excessively sacrificing type, with no life or personality of her own beyond caring (or slaving) for her friend, despite the insults meted out to her.
The first-person narrations of multiple characters make the read more personalized. The viewpoints take the story forward while offering us a delve into the goings on of the minds of the key characters. The additional perspectives offered by the side characters in the second half (Kavya and the psychiatrist) offer more clarity to the story.
I rate the book a 4.3 out of 5. Extra points are for the multiple, crucial lessons that may be gleaned from the read.
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Happy reading, readers.