Friday, 3 February 2012

Oh Shit , not again ! by Mandar Kokate Buy online just 105 rs.

Oh Shit, Not Again!

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What a way to start the first book review on a blog - but that's the name of the book I just finished reading. Its not a line to start the blog with. :)

Oh Shit, Not Again! is a book by Mandar Kokate and published by Expression Publications and this is the first book that they have published.

Its a story of five friends and their trials and tribulations across a period of few months. The central character is Raj who moves into the locality of the novel's setting, meets with the other characters in the book and talks about it in a first person perspective.

Why did I pick up this book from an obscure writer?
The name is the first attraction. When you see a novel name like that you have to pick up the book and see what it is about. Then you turn to the back cover to get a summary of the contents. Kudos to the publishers for making that quite interesting as well.

Have you ever experienced what happens when a porn movie is mistakenly played in front of your grandma and the CD player refuses to stop? 
Have you ever experienced what happens when a mixture of vodka and soft drink is server to hundreds of people gathered for a party?
Have you ever experienced what happens when you are conspired into a murder that you had merely witnessed?

And a few more such questions adorn the back cover. The book promises to answer these questions through the eyes of the five friends. Most of us have been caught in one such situation and would love to read about it from a different perspective.

The story sounded interesting and coming from an Indian author in an Indian setting, I decided to pick it up. It cost me Rs 150/-

Was the book worth it?
The story had tremendous potential and in the right hands could have worked out to be a great book.

Mandar's writing style is rudimentary and you can see that he is desperately trying to be an author. His prose uses words like preclude, perjure and conspire where they are not needed. You can see that he uses these 'big' words because he thinks that's how good authors write and so he should use them as well. Given also that his characters are all college going students in the age bracket of 19 - 22, the use this language is completely unnecessary.

How many times have you told your friend "C'mon yaar, you can't perjure" or "What if someone precludes me over there?" I wonder if Mandar even knows the meanings of these words and the correct usage of them.

His characters are not well developed and there are gaping holes in the storyline. A lot of situations are mentioned that have not been developed well and no justifications are given for them. The main character is carrying on an 'affair' with two women - a girl of his age and an older married woman with a child. He seems to take them to hotels and spend money but there is no explanation of where he gets that kind of money from. After all he is just a student and does not have a job. Then again he gets caught up in a murder mystery that just seems to disappear in a whimsical manner.

Mandar also cannot seem to decide if he is writing for an Indian audience or a global audience. His writing seems to suggest that he writes for India but hopes that the global audience also picks up his book. Money for e.g is referred to in Million rupees denominations. Mandar also is unable to decide if his story is a love story or a murder mystery or a story of his main character's growth into adulthood. There are liberal doses or innuendos of sex - Raj gets to kiss three women and sleeps with two.

In all an average first attempt at a novel. Mandar should have read through at least a couple of more drafts of his story before sending it for publication and the publishers should have done the same.

The first page of the book reads - "Beware before you may die laughing". We do die laughing but unfortunately not because of the writing but because of the lack of it!