PLOT: 3.5/5
CLIMAX: 3.5/5

“He was proud to have done one thing right in his life. He loved her and he loved her like no one loved anyone. That was something that would never change. They would always be enough for each other.”

Durjoy Datta, The Perfect Us

My Musings

Unlike many other folks from our small community of Indian book reviewers, I have mostly enjoyed Durjoy Datta’s books. I never got to read his initial books; the ones that shot him into fame and stardom but, I did read the latest ones from his kitty including The Boy Who Loved and The Girl of My Dreams.

They delivered far above my expectations and as a result, I promptly added Durjoy Datta to my list of favourite contemporary Indian authors.

Sadly, The Perfect Us did not create the same magic for me. By the time I was done reading the book, I wasn’t very content with what I had just finished reading. Read on to know more about my thoughts on this book.

What to expect?

The Perfect Us is a contemporary fiction which does not deliver what it promises. If you look at the blurb and then read the book, you would know exactly what I mean.

The blurb paints a picture that is entirely different from what the story is all about.

The story is of a married couple wanting to take the next step forward in their lives i.e. getting pregnant and having kids. It talks about the issues and struggles which would-be parents face.

It also talks about the inevitable changes that creep in a marriage/relationship that has lasted 10 long years.

Let’s talk about the storyline

Avantika is a beautiful and talented investment banker who is as good at numbers as she is at drawing the male attention. She is quite successful at her job and is the epitome of beauty with brains.

It is in college that she meets Deb and falls in love with him. Nobody ever thought that they’ll be a couple and yet they fell irrevocably in love with each other.

Deb is a corporate professional turned failed writer turned script writer for saas-bahu serials. He isn’t much of a looker and his bank balance also doesn’t have much to boast of.

The one thing that he is really good at is loving Avantika. And Avantika needs just that. Despite all odds, they have survived 10 long years of togetherness and have managed well so far.

That to change, though. Of late, Avantika has been craving for kids while Deb just isn’t ready. He seems to think that the two are enough for each other and there is no space for anyone else.

The Perfect Us is about two people preparing for the next step of their lives and gearing up for the challenges that come with it. While they plan and prepare, fate has something entirely different planned for them and soon all their plans will be thrown down the drain.

How good were the characters?

The characters are written well. Unlike protagonists of various other novels, they aren’t flawless and this makes them much more real and believable.

They lead normal lives and their struggles and circumstances resonate with a large number of urban Indians.

I like how the author has created a strong female protagonist and shown her as the bread-earner of the house. Since Deb is still struggling financially, it is Avantika who takes care of the bills.

Each character has been developed well and they easily establish a connection with the reader.

What about the author’s writing style?

I like how Durjoy keeps trying his hand at different things. From dramas to romances to romantic thrillers, he has attempted various genres and done so really well.

While The Perfect Us cannot be hailed as a conventional romance, it imparts some much needed practical lessons to couples in love. Often cheesy Bollywood movies and similar romances give us a happy ending when the couple is finally united.

This book shows us the side of love that is real and believable. Marriage is not a destination but a journey and Durjoy Datta has done a really good job of portraying this journey through the story of Deb and Avantika.

What I liked the most?

The best part is how a major part of it seemed autobiographical. There is an unusual number of similarities between the protagonist Deb and the author himself.

Moreover, even Deb’s love interest is named Avantika, which is also the name of author Durjoy Datta’s wife. Further, Deb is a writer who writes scripts for saas-bahu serials, which is also one of the many things that Durjoy Datta does.

It seems that the frustration of Deb as an Indian television scriptwriter is a product of the author’s own experiences than just mere imagination. There are many such uncanny similarities between Deb and Durjoy which makes the book a little more interesting.

What could have been better?

What I did not like in the book was the seemingly cool attempt at shading the cultural beliefs of some communities. There are a few instances wherethor acts very prejudiced, biased and unaccommodating of cultural beliefs of people. When did it become cool to insult cultural sensibilities?

For example, there is a narrative where a son who has had issues with his strictly vegetarian mother regularly chooses to send unsolicited parcels of cooked meat to her. If this isn’t a mockery of vegetarianism, what is?

While it’s okay to follow whatever one likes, is it really okay to question and tarnish somebody else’s belief?

Was the climax good enough? (Beware of spoilers)

The climax gave a befitting end to the story of Deb and Avantika. It was predictable yet it was satisfactory in the way it gave a decent conclusion to the story. I don’t want to disclose much for the fear of spilling some plot twists but it is safe to say that the book ended on a happy note.

It all boils down to the entertainment quotient

The Perfect Us is a kind of read that provides entertainment albeit in small doses. Instead of following a speedy trajectory, the pace often wavers towards the slower side.

The story is, of course, different and refreshing but it fails to fill out the 357 odd pages that the book boasts of. There are times when the narrative seems stretched and repetitive.

Moreover, it easily assumes monotony. As was the case with The Boy Who Loved, I think cutting short 50-100 pages would have done the book much good in terms of maintaining the pace of the book.

Pick up the book if

  • If you are a Durjoy Datta fan.
  • If you like contemporary reads.
  • If you are looking for something other than much clichéd college and office romances.
  • If you want to get a glimpse of life after marriage.
  • If you want to know about the struggles of parenthood – right from making babies to raising them.

Skip the book if

  • If you are looking for a book that will blow your mind.
  • If you are looking for a very entertaining read.
  • If you are looking for some serious Indian literature.

Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of The Perfect Us from the link below.