The Girl in Room 105 – Hit or Miss?

PLOT: 3.5/5
CLIMAX: 3.5/5

“‘Listen,’ I said, ‘here’s the thing. You said addicted to love. So, it’s probably a love story. I am tired of love stories. Really, another Chetan Bhagat love story? Such a cliché now. I want to write something else. Not just about two people pining away. Who does that these days, anyway? Nowadays, people don’t fall in love. They swipe left and right…’

My Musings

Indian readers enjoy a love-hate relationship with Chetan Bhagat. We love him & we hate him. He is probably India’s most trolled writer and yet his books have also managed to become the highest grosser every time.

This time will not be any different as The Girl in Room 105 is already garnering much attention. So, has Chetan Bhagat managed to shut his critics with his latest? In what ways is The Girl in Room 105 different from his previous works?

Read on to know about my thoughts about his 10th book and 8th novel.

What to expect?

For people expecting something different from Chetan Bhagat this time. Congratulations! You have something to be happy about.

The book boasts of a fresh storyline and a decent effort in terms of plot and plot twists. Mystery and entertainment also don’t come far behind. As is quite obvious from the blurb, The Girl in Room 105 is a story of a love gone wrong but not in a cliché-easy-guessed way.

The book is basically a crime mystery in the garb of a romantic drama. Surely, there is a bit of both (romance and drama) but the suspense overpowers them in a big way.

Let’s talk about the storyline

Keshav Rajpurohit is an IIT pass out who, much to the chagrin of his proud family members, is teaching in a JEE coaching centre in Delhi. He is still in love with his ex-girlfriend, the beautiful Kashmiri Muslim, Zara – who broke up with him 4 years ago. Ever since then Keshav has been pining for her love despite every practical advice against it.

What seems like an ordinary unsuccessful love story, turns into something different altogether when one day, on the eve of her birthday, Zara messages Keshav out of the blue. Drunk, and already in half his wits, he readily agrees to meet her by sneaking into her hostel room (room no 105) in the dead of the night, just like he used to do years ago when they were still dating.

This one mistake changes his life forever. Unknowingly he does what he should never have done. Now, he is caught in a whirlwind of events and it doesn’t seem that there is a way out.

“When people say ‘I quote’ and pause, they come across as scary-level intellectuals. Let’s face it, nobody wants to mess with the ‘I quote’ types.” – Chetan Bhagat, The Girl in Room 105

The plot and it’s nitty gritties

What I absolutely loved in this book is its strong plot. If there is one thing that appears to have taken a good amount of effort and thinking, it is the plot.

There is a main plot which tells us the story of Keshav and his one blunder. While manoeuvring the whirlwind that Keshav gets himself into, Chetan Bhagat skillfully adds in a number of sub-plots.

The overall effect is pure entertainment. In very simple terms, there is never a dull moment in the book. Not for one tiny second it loses its pace or assumes monotony. For this, I would definitely like to congratulate the author.

How good were the characters?

The characters in The Girl in Room 105 are something to look forward to. They are a myriad lot and most of them do a good job of keeping the reader amused.

The character development is strong too as the reader is easily able to visualize a certain character while reading about him. A few characters, though not essential to the main plot, do a good job of providing the necessary comic relief.

Some characters did appear stereotypical but I guess they were essential to the plot and its many complexities.

#Relationship goals

Another thing worth noting is that the kind of love that Keshav has for Zara and the kind of friendship that Saurabh and Keshav enjoy are stuff made of dreams.

If you ever get a friend like Saurabh or a lover like Keshav, be assured that God is with you. Such relations provide relationship goals to one and all. Even I couldn’t help getting jealous of Keshav for having a friend like Saurabh.

Chetan Bhagat does it again with his writing

Though The Girl in Room 105 does have a lot of good things to write about, one aspect where it fails miserably is the writing. Yes, it is written in an easy and comprehensible language and yes, it is meant for the mass market but does it have to be that clumsy?

I have seen many authors mature in their writing right in their second or third book. But Chetan Bhagat, even in his 10th book, appears amateurish at best.

His writing is unskillful and blotchy at best. The narrations and dialogues are also the same. There is a difference when you speak a language and when you write it, unfortunately, that difference remains elusive to Chetan Bhagat.

Cussing, swearing, sex and moral lessons

There is a good amount of swear words and choicest of expletives used generously throughout the book. Needless to state, as a female reader, this didn’t go well with me. Chetan, I hope you are listening.

Thankfully, the author doesn’t rely on sex to spice up the entertainment. Somehow this latest fad with sex being used to push a book doesn’t really appeal to me. I am just glad that in case of The Girl in Room 105, I didn’t have to put up with such obnoxities in the name of literature.

One good thing about the author’s writing style is that he includes a lot of stereotypes and then goes ahead and breaks them. Certain social issues that need much attention have also been included in the book and effortlessly woven into the story.

What I did not like?

What I seriously did not get is the concept of “an unlove story”. What is UNLOVE? Now, I cannot and do not want to give away the plot twists but even after reading the entire story, I simply failed to comprehend this “unlove” narrative.

Finally, it occurred to me that it was more of a marketing gimmick than an actual point of differentiation. I guess it was more of a buzzword that would manufacture the required murmur and excitement around The Girl in Room 105.

Climax wasn’t a buzz-kill

The book comes with a climax that falls somewhere between predictable and unpredictable. However, if I think about which side it leans more, it has to be on the unpredictable one. The ending gets predictable after a lot of false alarms and plot twists and that’s a good thing. Overall, the climax gave a befitting end to the story and the story of Keshav.

It all boils down to the entertainment quotient

When it comes to the entertainment quotient, the book has all the ingredients of a good entertainer.

Despite certain obvious flaws like writing and language, the book managed to keep me hooked right till the end. As a reader, whenever a book is able to keep you invested in it, inadvertently, it becomes a good entertainer.

The Girl in Room 105 does just that, and hence, it would be safe to say that the book is indeed a decent entertainer.

Pick up the book if

  • If you have previously enjoyed Chetan Bhagat books.
  • If you are looking for an easy and quick read.
  • If you are looking for an entertaining read.
  • If you are just getting into reading and don’t mind clumsy writing.

Skip the book if

  • If you really aren’t a Chetan Bhagat fan.
  • If you don’t like crass language or use of expletives in a novel.
  • If you are looking for a literary read.
  • If you don’t like over filmy or typical Bollywood-ish plots.
  • If you don’t like writing that is amateurish and unpolished.

Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of The Girl in Room 105 using the link below.