Saturday, July 14, 2012

Book Review: "Something Borrowed"

Posted by Komal RK at 2:34 AM 4 comments

Having read the likes of Sophie Kinsella and Cecelia Ahern when it came to the popular yet frowned upon genre of chick-lit I wanted to venture into deeper waters to find the wonders (or not) of this much enjoyed area of fiction. It didn't take me long to look up  and find a list of renowned authors and their remarkable work, I only had to decide which one to pick.

Right now I have in my book shelf some added names like Jane Green, Marian Keyes, Jennifer Weiner, Jen Lancaster and Emily Giffin to give Kinsella and Cecelia some company.
I started with Emily Giffin's Something Borrowed as the synopsis had me very interested.

Rachel White is a lawyer in NYC who hates her job and is single.., at thirty. She is the quintessential good girl, always playing by the rules somehow never getting what she wants. Darcy, her childhood best friend presents a complete contrast in being an extrovert; a beautiful  and spirited girl who has to have everything her way. It's a love-hate friendship as we see through the story how the simple Rachel puts up with the annoyingly narcissist behaviour of her best friend, never standing up for herself. Always letting Darcy have her way with everything, be that a bag pack or a boy crush. That is until she crosses the big 3 0. After one too many drinks at the birthday party Darcy throws for her, Rachel decides to throw caution to the wind and finds herself spending the night with Dexter; a handsome, amazing guy, her long time friend from law school, and Darcy's fiancĂ©. Yikes!
She finds herself being attracted to and falling for a guy she should run from; what with her being the maid of honour for their wedding that's to take place in only a few months. Everything changes when Dex confesses his true feelings to Rachel. What follows is their secret affair that is considered a relationship since they both are in love, except for the tiny bit of him being already engaged. To her best friend.

Rachel is a girl we would all like; simple, plain and with a sweet disposition who truly loves Dex. I would hate my protagonist to be one, but Rachel is a doormat. The way she leaves the fate of her love life and friendship in the hands of Dex, and is ready to live with whatever he decides made sure I wouldn't include her in my list of favourite female protagonists.

The characterization of Darcy makes it very difficult to like or sympathise with her. Darcy's selfish and shallow character makes us root for Rachel, who has always been in the shadow of her effervescent best friend. She's a very trying character, annoyingly self-absorbed . She walks the planet like she owns it, believes everyone to be a puppet in her hands. Although there were times when you could tell that she has a good heart deep down, you soon realize it's way too deep to wager and probably lost for good. I happen to know a few people who resemble her so much that it was evident she would find no sympathy from me.

Giffin surely has the ability to take what we normally would look down upon, infidelity, betrayal etc and romanticize it. One of the characters puts it aptly when she says the world is not that black-and-white. The world has no moral absolutes. It's a good story, with relatable characters and a skewed yet likeable plot. Light, fun yet smart, this book is a complex and engrossing narrative about friendship.

On the whole, a good addition to the my women's fiction list. I haven't got around to reading the sequel, Something Blue, it's still sulking in my book shelf so I better be good and finish it.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

An Exasperated English Language Enthusiast

Posted by Komal RK at 3:31 AM 4 comments

I hate having to admit it, but as I look at my phone, my laptop-- I know that I am a part of the 'short-form' generation, the text-speak generation. A feeling of immense distaste runs through me when I come across sentences and words (at least they're supposed to be) so carelessly thrown around these days. And that happens a lot. All I have to do is open my Facebook home page, post after post, almost every feed reminds me that we're in the midst of an epidemic. One that seems to be worsening with time.
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Not to sound like an exaggerated reactionary but it pains me to see these misdemeanours against the English language. It's like the Slang-demons are waging a war, eating the language (quite literally, don't you think?) and here's the bad news-- they're winning. Every single time you nonchalantly 'go abt ur day', every time 'u hav a gud tym', every one of those occasions where 'there, their and they're' are forever lost in 'der'-- all those times this beautiful language dies a little. *shudders* What is the world coming to?

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Mistakes do happen; those nasty errors creep right past our keen eyes and we err, Lord knows I've made so many errors myself. But how can you defend deliberate distortion of any language. Instant messaging is a major contributor to this downfall. While it would be somewhat pardonable to 'tweet' your thoughts with a character limitation of 140, any other platform is not.

Colloquial and informal correspondences as such are disturbingly influential and before we know it, we're drowning in grammar gaffes and unspeakable spelling crimes, both of which are omnipresent. Our society seems to be blasé and blithe about the quality of our language and with the younger generation already captivated by the means of these ills, they are much more inclined to follow right through to the dark side.

In today's busy world, I agree that there are more important things to be reckoned with. But this doesn't mean that such blatant disregard for the English language should be encouraged or let it slip away unheeded. Easier might translate to faster, but just because you can doesn't mean you should. There's always a certain beauty about quality that gains more appreciation.
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Without language we would be nothing short of what Professor McGonagall would call, a babbling bunch of baboons. That's reason enough to keep the glory of this marvellous language (or any language for that matter) intact and rescue it from this pitiable condition. You don't need to be a language purist, just keep it clean and right.
I'm reminded of what Professor Higgins had to say in 'Pygmalion'; he said, " there even are places where English completely disappears; in America they haven't used it for years." Oh my dear, dear Professor Henry Higgins, you would be appalled to see what has become of it today, oh the horrors to behold!

Signing off with a desperate message.


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