Saturday, May 5, 2018

My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma

"You only care about yourself and your stupid movies" (88).

This quote is brought to you by Jenny. Not all heroes wear capes.

Wow, I am kind of blown away by how bad and stupid this book was - because my expectations were so high, and I had been looking forward to this books for months. When I was approved, I was so happy, I immediately downloaded it so I could begin reading... and I didn't get further than 13 pages before I inwardly went, "Oh no!" It had that overly aggressive, overly perky style that's so typical of Tumblr - that, "oh, I'm so different and so special and I hold myself to different standards than I do other people!" self-indulgent vibe that really drives me up the wall. I don't know how to explain it well, but go look at a handful of popular Tumblr posts and you'll quickly get the picture.

Maybe this would be tolerable if the story were interesting and the character were nice. Another book I read recently, AMERICAN PANDA, was also full of melodrama - but I really related to the main character and I thought her story was interesting. Winnie, on the other hand, is a total trash person and I hated her guts. She is just so awful. All she does is piss, whine, and moan over EVERYTHING. Slut shames the girl her boyfriend cheated on her with? Check. Breaks into his house to steal the things he gave her to basically destroy them later? Check. Whines at her teachers? Check. Whines to her parents? Check. Makes fun of her best friend for liking 80s movies when she won't shut up about Bollywood movies? Check.

I thought the Bollywood angle would be fun - it was a huge reason why I wanted to read this book - but it is so forced. Considering it's her PASSION, she totally fails to sell it and her blog about Bollywood is hardly mentioned at all, bar some lame epigrams at the beginning of each chapter (lamely) summarizing some famous movies. There's also a super ridiculous display of love towards the end, tantamount to holding up a boombox playing "In Your Eyes" except replace the boombox with a Michael Jackson hat and replace "In Your Eyes" with Bollywood music and background dancers. Oh, and let's not forget the STUPID, TOTALLY POINTLESS SRK dream sequences.

Shah Rukh Khan is awesome. He didn't ask to be dragged into this trash people drama. :(

Winnie spends the entire book torn over WHICH BOY TO CHOOSE. Since she was a kid, she's had this horoscope hanging over her head that she is destined to be with a boy whose name begins with an R and she takes this "prophecy" so damn seriously. To the point where she's willing to take back her boyfriend who cheated on her while they were on "break" because his name begins with an R and he gave her a bracelet as foretold - it must be him! But oh no, there's this other guy named Dev, and he sets her loins aflame, but his name doesn't begin with an R! But he adores her! Oh no! What to do???

Throw the book out the window, that's what I'd do. But unfortunately I'd already come too far.

I skimmed pretty heavily for the last 90 pages or so, but it basically cemented the impressions that I already have of the book: Winnie is a terrible, unlikable main character who gets irrationally angry and would like to portray herself as a strong women but in actuality all of her decisions are totally ruled by boys (and no, none of her conversations with her female BFF pass the Bechdel test) and this story was totally flat, completely romance-driven, and without the UST to drive that route home.

YA is really disappointing me this year. But maybe mediocrity is the new trend of 2018.

Thanks to Netgalley/the publisher for the review copy!

1 out of 5 stars

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