Sunday, October 05, 2014

Half Girlfriend - Review

Madhav is a Bihari boy with big dreams who falls in love with the beautiful Riya, a rich lass from Delhi. There are some fundamental differences between the two. Madhav’s English isn’t all that great, but Riya speaks the best English. Madhav wants Riya to be his girlfriend but Riya disagrees. She wants them to be just friends but he definitely wants more. Riya finally comes up with a suggestion, a compromise – she agrees to become his half-girlfriend! Chetan Bhagat presents a simple and beautiful love story that will move you with all the nuances of a modern-day relationship. It also inspires you to realize your individual dreams.

About the Author
Chetan Bhagat is a famous contemporary Indian writer, speaker, columnist and novelist. He was born in New Delhi in 1974. Considered one of India's most popular writers of fiction, Chetan Bhagat is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. Before becoming a fulltime writer, Chetan worked as an investment banker for a few years. The New York Times called him ‘the biggest selling English language novelist in India’s history’. Some of Chetan's other notable works are Five Point Someone, One Night at the Call Centre, 2 States, The 3 Mistakes of My Life, and Revolution 2020. Three of his books have been adapted into Bollywood movies, two of which went on to become massive hit movies: 3 Idiots and Kai Po Che!

You can love him, you can hate him, but you simply can’t ignore him. That’s Chetan Bhagat for you. Often criticized for his usage of ‘easy’ English in his books, Bhagat is obviously not the eye candy for the purists. However, his success can’t be credited to sheer luck, and obviously there is something in his stories that turns his books into bestsellers. Whether it is the adaption of a foreign language in a lucid manner so that every person finds comfort reading it, or the racy breezy plot that keeps one’s attention glued to the pages, Bhagat’s books surely deserves to be read at least once, even by his strongest of haters.

Because, as rightly said by Bhagat once, “It’s not easy to write easy.”

Half Girlfriend’, one of the most awaited books of the year, is the sixth fiction novel of Bhagat. The story based on the premise of love, revolves around the protagonists Madhav and Riya, both studying in St. Stephen’s College, Delhi. While Madhav is from Bihar, and has difficulty speaking English, Riya is extremely fluent in the language, having been born and brought up in Delhi in a posh locality. Fate brings these two contrasting individuals together, and destiny separates them. Is their love real, or is it just the attraction of youth? A lot is unfolded in this romantic novel.

The plot is a typical Chetan Bhagat storyline, with love and romance, dreams and aspirations, strewn with the hurdles of relationships, and the subsequent struggle of the protagonists to overcome all obstacles. The setting and the dialogues sound familiar, and the readers can easily relate to the turn of events. Often at times, you risk losing your heart to the beautiful Riya. Again, there are moments when you would like to throw a punch right on Madhav’s face for his brashness and rough behavior towards the girl. But then, somewhere deep down, you pray that Madhav and Riya get together at some point in the story, to be blessed with a unity that lasts forever.

And then comes the heartbreaking twist in the form of Riya’s letter, and you know things can never be the same again. I am not revealing any further regarding the plot, as that would spoil the entire show for those who haven’t read it yet.

The story progresses across three locations –Delhi, Bihar and New York, and to the writer’s credit, he has been able to beautifully portray the scenery and ambiance of these three places. They play as vital a role as the characters, and add to the plus points of the book. The occasional humor makes you smile, and it adds a feel good factor to ‘Half Girlfriend’.

The book seems to get a tad bit predictable towards the end, but that gets compensated with the twists that the author manages to introduce in the earlier chapters. Again, Chetan Bhagat’s books are addictive, and like his other books, it’s tough to keep ‘Half Girlfriend’ down once you start it.  

The book also comes with beautiful message that mocks at the class distinction that exists in today’s society. True love in itself is a richness, and can never be measured in terms of money. ‘Half Girlfriend’ portrays the modern day society, the characters a fine mix of fiction and reality, blending into a convenient plot to produce a good entertaining read.

Title: Half Girlfriend
Author: Chetan Bhagat
Publisher: Rupa Publication India
Publication Year: 2014
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
No. of Pages: 260
Price: Rs 176
My Rating: 4/5


  1. Having leafed through ' 3 mistakes' I'm definitely not a Chetan Bhagat fan but you make this sound interesting. Would give it a read if I see it in the vicinity :)

    1. That I feel was his worst book ... Do try Five Point Someone and Two States :-)

  2. A strong conclusion there! :)
    still I couldn't figure out..why half girlfriend?

    1. For that you have to read the book :-)

  3. I will borrow a copy from a Bhagat fan and try reading it.

    1. I read it...I think it will make a good movie but I didn't like the story much - found it predictable, actually!

  4. A wooping 4??
    I am waiting for the book (still).

  5. Your review is the only thing that makes the book sound remotely interesting.

  6. Not at all into Chetan Bhagat but must say a nice review

  7. ... let me guess, Mr.G ... they got separated ... Riya is finding a new love in NY ... end of story ... but of course not end of story ... thanks to the internet ...

    1. Naah ... there is not much internet in this story :-p