I read this after reading the main book in the series, The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer. I personally think this is a better way of doing things, but I amI read this after reading the main book in the series, The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer. I personally think this is a better way of doing things, but I am not a 100% sure.
This short book is an insight into the main character, and what are some of the things she has faced in her young life, which have made her what she is. Is it important to read this in conjunction with the main novel? I think so. It tells us about what makes Ruby tick.
Another thing I like about this is we get to know Ruby’s father somewhat, which is completely unexplored in the book. So does the personality of her mother become a little more concrete.
Each of the incidents in this book are extremely human in their portrayal. It makes you connect with the character and resolve a number of questions which are not completely explored in the main book.
If you want a flavour of the character of Ruby Iyer before picking up the main book, this is a perfect start. Also, if you want to look at what makes a teenager tick, this is a good book too.
In the end, who does not want to read the diary of a 16-year-old girl? :P...more
The highlight of the book for me is how real each of the characters feels. It feels as if I could meet any of these people while walking around, and tThe highlight of the book for me is how real each of the characters feels. It feels as if I could meet any of these people while walking around, and these are all people I can completely identify with. That is and has always been the power of the stories in this series. These are real people with real issues and problems. They’re not Fairytale characters, as the title may have you believe. And this is the biggest strength of the author’s narrative. There is no bullshit and over-the-top unbelievable romance. Both Jason and Chloe need to work on their relationship, and it does feel like Chloe is doing most of the heavy lifting in this department. But I suppose this is due to the fact that we’re reading the story from her POV.
Chloe is depicted as being very insecure in this book, which I think seemed out of character for her. But then, that comes with marrying a movie star. It hasn’t been that long, and she’s not from the industry – she’s an outsider. I can only imagine how it would feel, to be thrown into this bizarre world. Jason is also a terrifically well-sculptured character. (You see what I did there? He is a movie star and has a chiselled body too.) The aloofness of his creative personality is so well depicted that all I could do was nod along. I can completely understand the going-into-a-shell to work out issues attitude.
And then there are the points where Chloe is in the limelight, having married a Hollywood superstar. The kind of person she was in the earlier books, I frankly don’t know how she can adjust to this. I used to see her as someone like me, I used to be able to identify with her completely. But this feels pretty alien. But then, I suppose that it isn’t. And a lot of this has to do with Jason and how well his family, and her own new found family have accepted her. Having that support should definitely make things easier.
Internal dialog of Chloe, which runs throughout the book, did get to be a bit too much for me. I really liked the parts where this was about her case as it moved the story along, but when it comes to her relationship and her trying to work things out in her head, it gets boring. It also makes her seem as someone more like the wives of celebrities we’re used to seeing in both literature and movies, which I feel takes away from her character.
The build-up of suspense, now that I think of it, was wonderful. But when reading, it seemed a little flat. The ending of the book though makes it all come together, and you’re left with a feeling of complete closure. All the weirdness of what was happening throughout the book starts to make sense too. So on the mystery front, I would give a thumbs-up to the book. It wasn’t as detailed as something written by Lee Child of Sue Grafton for example, but that’s clearly not what the book is about either. One thing to note before you pick this up. This does not work as well, as a standalone book. If you haven’t read the previous books, you will be left wondering who the other characters are, and how they are related. There is a lot of reference to incidents which are disclosed in the previous books too. But that said, I highly recommend going back and reading the earlier books in the series as they’re fantastic.
Overall, really liked the book and looking forward to more Jason and Chloe!...more
This book is not a proud moment for me as in Indian. Living in a city like Mumbai, which is cosmopolitan, and “advanced”, I had assumed that the thingThis book is not a proud moment for me as in Indian. Living in a city like Mumbai, which is cosmopolitan, and “advanced”, I had assumed that the things which happen in this book were something which were history, albeit a recent one. Something from the sorry past of India, and one we would do well to forget. But the author has opened my eyes to something I was refusing to see or acknowledge.
Krishna Singh gets married at the really early age of twelve years, and is completely blissful about it, not having known anything better. She is someone who refuses to see what is in store for her, even though it is right in front of her, in the form of Gudiya her close friend. As is often the case in books, things are not hunky-dory and they go through some incidents which makes them run away from Krishna’s husband’s home. This is the story of their journey. The images which the author is able to evoke in the mind of the reader are extremely detailed, and something which I love in a book. It was as if I was travelling along with the two runaways and experiencing first-hand, their trials.
Bubble Wrap is a simple yet powerful story. It is a story of child marriage, a story about abuse, but also a story of growing up and one about friendship. It is about the plight of widows in rural India, which is wracked by superstitions. The emotions which wrap a person throughout the book are simply mesmerising. Each part of the book brings out the perverseness of mankind which is hard to accept. But it also brings out the perseverance of women, and their inherent will to survive.
Each character in the book is terrifically developed. You can relate to each of them, as if you’ve known them for a long time. The immaturity of Krishna and the world-weariness of Gudiya are terrifically portrayed. I wanted to catch Krishna, and knock some sense in her, in the first part of the book. Sudhir Singh, a character which plays a central role in the book, is someone who had me seething. I know these useless types, the ones who are entitled pr*cks and who do not do anything productive with their lives, even when it all seems to be falling apart. The fact that these characters can evoke such strong reactions in me by itself demonstrate the power of the book.
The ending of the book was really dramatic and not something I would have expected at all. However, it wasn’t over the top and very believable. It was kind of bittersweet, knowing that happiness is possible, even in a world wrecked by Indian “tradition”.
Published by Harlequin India, I was disappointed by the quality of the printed book. But I would definitely not penalise the author for this. Another issue I faced was the editing, which was less than exemplary. There were a few mistakes which seeped through the publishing process, and it isn’t something I would have expected from such a big-name publisher. However, these things do not take anything away from the story, which is just touching and heart wrenching.
Overall, I think this is an important book, which brings up for discussion which is generally swept under the carpet in India. With stories of suicide or killings related to dowry, or rape and abuse a routine feature of news in today’s India, I think this conversation is an important one. ...more
I have lived in Mumbai all my life and I am someone who is used to everything that this city has to throw at me. By this, I mean that I fail to reallyI have lived in Mumbai all my life and I am someone who is used to everything that this city has to throw at me. By this, I mean that I fail to really see the city and everything that is wrong with it. I am immune to the pain and the poverty, the recklessness and the “my d*ck is bigger than yours” attitude of the rich, the ineptitude of the politicians and the police. I am happy to travel in my air-conditioned car to work and back, making a living which can buy me the comforts of life.
So I was interested to see what happens when the tottering city finally collapses. And this book brings it out perfectly. Under the garb of a fast-paced YA thriller, the author writes a story which goes beyond that and removes the gloss and shine which the city is always bathed in to show us what is truly possible.
The characters are pretty well developed, though the book left a lot of questions unanswered, not just in how things end, but also about each of the characters’ lives. I am sure all of this is something which will be revealed in the coming books. I have found out that there is a very short piece put up by the author on the main character which presents some of the back story. That, I suppose should also help.
The broad story line is not something which is unique, really. Boy and girl travelling through a crumbling city to stop the evil before it can strike is something which has already been done. What is unique is the really deep insight into the main character’s mind which the author is able to present through the use of first-person writing. It feels like you are in the mind of the character, and can literally taste her emotions.
The main character is like any other teen, rebellious and act-first-think-later. She seems quite immature at times, but is someone who is willing to take action and move ahead in the committed direction. Two things I would not have thought possible together, but which gel really well. The emotional turmoil she goes through is amazingly well brought out. I just loved how the book was able to place me solidly in her mind. There is so much potential here, I’d love to see where she goes from the end of the book.
The sights of the city are just breath-taking. Each new imagery evokes a sense of forlornness which is hard to keep in check. I think that the way the city is shown to react to the events which unfold in the book are quite right. I know that this is how things would unfold. There was a lot more which could have been shown, but I know that it would not really have added to the story meaningfully. The book made me wonder what I would do in such a situation. I think the people I know, me included, would take this sudden availability of free time by planning a holiday to one of the nearby getaways. You know, go stay in a nice 5-star hotel away from the city. This apathy to what happens to the city is something which the author is able to tap into.
The end was quite dramatic and wasn’t something I had expected, at all. It ended in absolutely the opposite direction of what I could have predicted. But, now that I think of it, I see that the ending was just perfect. It also leave me with a dramatic cliff-hanger and I really want to know what happens next. I do not want to give away anything from the book, and so will keep myself in check and not discuss this in the review, even though I am itching to.
Overall, a great start to the series, which leaves me wanting more. Definitely a series I am going to be following to the end....more