WRITING STYLE: 3/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 4/5
Divided into sixteen exciting chapters, I Want to Run Away is a light read romance novella about Aashika who lives in a small village. She is the middle child of three sisters. Her younger sister’s name is Ramya. She is too highly educated in comparison to the rest of the villagers.
Her parents are looking for a groom for her and the novel opens with an advertisement in the newspaper about a prospective suitor who is only 5’4” whereas Aashika is 5’7” and hence, taller than the boy.
She is a resident of the village Valayapuri in South India. Her mother teaches her to walk like Kunti in Ramayan as according to her it is always women who have to bend and adjust to the ways of the world.
Wanting to stand on her own feet and face the world on her own terms, Aashika looks for independence that is unheard of to the womenfolk of the village. Her father threatens her that he will kill her first and then commit suicide if she doesn’t behave this time around. But will she?
The humour in the story is abundant. It is light and exhilarating at times. Iyyer adds severe comments on the potential grooms who come to visit and their families that are really funny though she never goes overboard with the humour. It is mostly kept subtle but prevalent throughout.
The characterisation in I Want to Run Away is not elaborate enough. There is a very small description of the characters and what they look like.
It is the plot that is given utmost importance. These plot twists are added by slowly adding in characters one after the other.
However, there is a good balance and the plot is not overcrowded. One such additional twist to the story is the character of Aadhi, the boyfriend of Aashika about whom nobody except her younger sister knows.
Sanjay is introduced as an enigmatic character and this is what draws Aashika towards him. They bond over honesty, frankness and a lot about each other’s past secrets and relationships.
Sorting Out is an important chapter that serves as a turning point in the narrative where the lead character is seen reiterating to herself, “Focus, Aashika, focus.”
In order to get back focus and prevent things from getting worse, it is important for her to choose between her old love and the newly found hot-shot along with completing her exams.
The language in I Want to Run Away is simple and easy to read with minimal spelling or grammatical errors though it could have been relayed better.
The episodes are highly dramatic and Bollywoodised and the plot, on the whole, has a sense of a modern retelling of the Jab We Met story though it is not exactly the same.
Forced to marry Sanjay by her family, and forced to marry her boyfriend and resign into domesticity by her boyfriend Aadhi, Aashika just wants to run away from everything to find some peace. Will she or won’t she?
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