Book Review: A meandering narrative

A big book is a big EVIL.’ Well, unless it’s Margaret Mitchell’s celebrated novel Gone With the Wind (1936), almost all big books are big evils. Even Vikram Seth’s much tom-tommed novel, A Suitable Boy also vindicates and validates this review’s opening literary maxim.

Stephen Chbosky’s Imaginary Friend also falls in the same uncomplimentary category. Having read and reviewed thousands of books of all genres, this reviewer has found Stephen Chbosky’s book a complete fiasco. It’s a literary damp squib.

Well, a reviewer must never be too scathing or too sugary. Imaginary Friend begins with a bang, but ends with a whimper. The book ought to have been titled as Christopher’s Account. That would have been creatively more candid and precise.

This book falls into the genre of ‘simulated character-building’ (SCB). Precisely, till 139th page (chapter 24), the novel is riveting to the readers, provided they dare pick it up in the first place! After that, the plot starts meandering and loitering in the ‘creative’ wilderness. The bi-polarisation of the character/s makes it baffling to the readers.

The discerning readers of popular English fiction are alive to the fast-changing trends of English novels being written and published currently. Post-2010, big books with quasi-mystery themes have been hitting the stands at regular intervals.

The theme revolves around a mystery that’s not a mystery to a perceptive reader. This perceived mystery is being bandied about by the new writers emerging on the block. They all seem to have come from an identical school of novel-writing, ironically with no novelty.

Had the author limited his book to 350 odd pages in lieu of the whopping 705 pages, he would have been able to tighten the plot and produce a somewhat readable tome. But he has entombed the real purpose or the principal thrust of the book in an unnecessary prattle.

I’ve heard that in the library of Moscow University, if any student is caught stealing a book, s/he is given two most boring books to read and then questions are asked related to those books.

If the student fails to give proper answers, he/she is barred from entering the library for a couple of months. And if they succeed, they are let off with a mild warning. I’m going to write to the librarian of Moscow University and suggest this book as a punishment reading for the pilfers!