Let me get this straight: I used to like romance fiction, when I was fifteen. You know, when I was doe-eyed and eager to explore more about the world of romance. I had too many questions, and infinite gigabytes of resources available at the tap of a screen.
Yet, I preferred to peruse through romance fiction books in the old-school fashion, and research about how it’s done, who tends to hit on whom, how many seconds do you need to stare into a guy’s eyes till he realises you’re into him, how many times you should act like you don’t care till he realises that you do, blah blah blah.
And then, all of a sudden, I stopped liking romance fiction. Maybe I realised that it’s nothing like the real deal. Or maybe I figured out that all the books in this genre were formulaic and perfectly predictable, and hence, my brain got bored of the ritual. Or maybe I decided to be a bit more serious about my life, and start reading non-fiction. (“How serious can a teenager be about her life?” quips fabulus)
Yet, I’ll admit: I have been reading YA fiction since last year, and I have grown to love the romance portrayed in these books. It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling, reading all those tumblr-esque dialogues and lovable characters.
But then Cupid struck, and I was asked to review a romantic-comedy fiction book written by an Indian author, Vibha Batra titled ‘Glitter and Gloss‘. And with the snap of a finger (or rather, the rustle of 190 pages), love blossomed!
Title: Glitter and Gloss
Author: Vibha Batra
Length: 184 pages
Format: Paperback , Kindle version
The book is written in first-person POV of Misha, the girl with self-esteem issues, who falls in love with a hot-shot boy, Akshay. Even though present tense used in this book, I didn’t feel that weird feeling I usually feel when I read books written in the present tense. The tense was perfectly justified for this book, and it enhanced my ability to imagine the described scenes.
The novel begins with the most hilarious first-meet between the two lovers, Misha and Akshay. I mean, I haven’t ever read an awkward first-meet like this ever! It seemed a bit stereotypical, I’ll give you that, but it seemed so cute and funny! *soppy grin*
Poulomi, Misha’s best friend, is the perfect best friend. Where can I get someone like her?
Sammy is the ‘nice and sweet’ roommate, and Misha is quite thankful to have him as her house-husband.
Misha’s mom is the unconventional mom. I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise, so I’ll just stop right here.
Didi, Akshay’s elder sister, is the perfect villain for this story. She embodies the traditional thoughts of every Indian family, and her tyrannical nature is almost comic at some places.
While there are many other characters in the book, these are the few ones which play a pivotal role in the story. I haven’t mentioned the role of one other main character, Akshay’s Jeejoo, because that would be a spoiler.
The plot of the book goes like this: After the first-meet, Akshay and Misha (or should I say, Akki and Mishkin) find reasons to bump into each other and eventually fall in love. But, there are obstacles in their way, in the form of Didi, and Misha’s unconventional parents and friends. Does the couple end up having a happily ever after? Does Misha end up painting the town fuchsia pink with her selfless, sanskaari behaviour? Or does she end up getting her mascara smudged, thanks to her door-mat-like self-esteem?
Hehe, look at my cosmetic artist pun.
Getting back to the review.
I felt at ease with the writer’s style. No unnecessary information was disclosed in the beginning, which helped me stay hooked to know more about the characters. The comic timing was on point, and I grew to love Misha’s tongue-in-cheek self-talk and people-pleasing manner.
I also loved the inclusion of Mumbaiyya lingo in this book. Bole toh, majja hi alag aata hai bhai. Though I still don’t understand the meaning of some of the words used *smacks forehead* *goes off to buy Mumbaiyya lingo Dictionary*, the comic timing was perfected with the usage of these words. I normally would not have approved of the usage of non-english words in an English book, but the final result so justified the casual lingo!
Thoughts while I was reading the book:
I read this book with a very critical view. Hey, I have had very few good experiences reading books by Indian authors, plus I haven’t read a romantic-comedy fiction book ever. I didn’t know what to expect.
But you know what reversed my view of ‘Glitter and Gloss’? Its perfection, the well-designed and unpredictable journey between the first-meet and the ending, and the fact that even after I nitpicked about all the things that I thought weren’t right with the book, I could come up with perfectly sensible reasons why things were like that in the book. And hence, I fell in love with the first Indian romcom book I’ve read in 2017.
Plus, this book, in less than 200 pages, takes you on a pink-colour roller-coaster ride, studded with gems of drama, squeals of laughter and lots of happy smiles.
Yet, my only Complaint (Spoiler Alert) is the breakup was too abrupt. Considering the tempo of the book, and how the story unravelled, I felt that the breakup happened just so soon. Even though the post breakup scenes were refreshing (counsellor scenes, and not ice-cream hogging scenes), I felt there could have been a bit more internal monologue by Misha. I personally would have loved a little more rona-dhona, because I’m an evil person at heart 😛 (Spoiler Alert end)
After reading ‘Glitter and Gloss’, I think I’ve finally understood why people read romantic stories. It provides for a mindless relaxation, some vicarious action, and a general positive buzz that your love-life will have a ‘happily ever after’. And for some readers, it could also refresh some happy memories! *wink*
Would I read this book again? Maybe. I’d reread it for the comedy, and descriptions of all things glam, and not for the love story (because I already know how it’s going to end!)
How apt was the title? Hmm. Tough question. Considering the fact that Misha works at M.A.C., the title and the cover design were perfect. If you try to see a deeper and more philosophical approach to naming the book ‘Glitter and Gloss’, I’d exclaim that: the dialogue in the book was glittery and funny, and the characters in the book well-defined, smooth and glossy.
I rate this book four stars, and recommend it to readers who love romance fiction and romantic-comedy fiction books. Also, if you want to read something casual on a vacation, while sipping on Iced Tea and chill in the blazing sun, this is the book to pick up!