WRITING STYLE: 4.5/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 4.5/5
Amidst the large number of books, every once in a while there comes along one which, as a reviewer, you would really enjoy. Not just the story, but the style of writing, the care taken to develop the story, having a structure to the plot, developing the characters and their quirks, language used, etc all come good. Many debut writers suffer from the notion that if the story is good, everything else can be put on the back-burner and the book will sell itself. This, undoubtedly, is the wrong way to go about writing a book.
Thankfully, Pooja Wanpal’s Love and Lokpal is one book that does not suffer with such illusions. The entire book is well structured, alternating between both protagonists narrating the story. The story is about Shlok Kulkarni and Kaveri Gokhale, and how they fall in love with each other amidst protests and hunger strikes to get the Lokpal Bill passed by the Government. Amidst the realistic problems that the Lokpal Bill has to face, Shlok and Kaveri have problems of their own to deal with, regarding where they see their relationship going. Amidst this, Kaveri comes across a secret that leaves her shattered, almost to the point of alienating her near and dear ones.
As most readers would agree, the way a book starts is as important as the story itself, to keep the interest going. And Pooja Wanpal does a good job of introducing almost all the main characters in the first two chapters. And from then on, the momentum is carried forward, and nowhere would you be bored. The story, by itself, isn’t epic by any sense, but the way it is told is what makes it such a wonderful book to read. Even the smallest, seemingly irrelevant events leave a good feeling with the reader.
Another good thing about the book is how the Lokpal Bill protests are used effectively as a background. The author had been part of the protests when they took place, and they have clearly left a huge impression on her. The author has channeled it very nicely, and without making the Bill the central theme, has still managed to keep it relevant and important throughout the book. The way the characters are developed is very good as well, as none of them are rushed, and their behaviours come out gradually, making it all the more easy for the reader to sympathize with them.
While no book is perfect, Love and Lokpal did come very close. Apart from the fag end of the book, where the author seemed a bit rushed to close out the Lokpal Bill thread, everything else was as you would want from a book. Perhaps, the author should have looked at leaving the Lokpal Bill protests still going on in the background, without trying to invent a reason why the protests had to be stopped. But then again, the final showdown between Shlok and Kaveri wouldn’t probably have had a better setting.
This book will definitely not disappoint you!