WRITING STYLE: 1/5
The book cover that sports a dark, intriguing theme and a title that begs you to find out more: The Unhealthy Love, I found, is a twist on a normal, cliched love story that usually sits on the shelves of the romance sections of a bookstore.
The story seems common – and it is – but that should never stop you from picking up a book. Long lost romance and threatened love is overused. But an author isn’t. There is always hope that an author will give an overused plot a touch and twist of his own and will make the book worth it. Did Avijit Chakraborty do it in The Unhealthy Love?
In fact, the author has a great plot in mind. An interesting twist too! Where the book mainly went wrong, in my opinion, is the editing. Getting a book published credits itself to writing and editing in equal parts. Sometimes an author has great ideas, amazing plot points – but their writing lacks the effort it needs to make the plot come alive. This is where the editor comes in.
Good editing can give life to even average plots. In the same way, shoddy editing can ruin even brilliant plot points. Though this book has an interesting story, it also has grammar mistakes and less than satisfactory language, which distracts from the plot itself.
The way the characters talk to each other in this book: it is important for an author to realize that real people do not talk this way. I understand the issue here because people usually talk in Hindi or another vernacular language, but in this story, we’re looking at rich, English speaking protagonists. Their dialogues are mechanical, unrealistic and disrupt the otherwise lovely flow of the book. Unfortunately, this continued throughout the book and tended to dull my interest in it.
The dialogues are indicative of the fact the author has done the right research. Be it the type of alcohol or the type of the clothing, it is clear that the author knows what he is talking about. It’s a shame that the unrealistic dialogues take away from the actual conversation.
Coming back to the editing, I was quite surprised that The Unhealthy Love wasn’t even edited for minor grammatical errors. Errors like “He said me” and “her hairs” are mistakes we made back in school – surely, I can expect better from a published author? I insist on it solely because the author has a brilliant plot in mind, but unsatisfactory writing and grammar are hindering it.
The plot is everything you’d like from an exciting, fast book. Intrigue, romance, delight, mystery. The book starts with just the right amount of intrigue where you wonder about the characters as they slowly unravel. There is no need to worry about pace or balance since the plot and the flow of the story take care of that. Since the story depends a lot on mystery, I won’t reveal the characters and the role that they play. However, the other essential emotion in the book is love. The plot dances around romance, using different characters and equations.
Aditya Bhardwaj is a wealthy banker, a man victim of tragedies waiting for him. Innocent, he falls in love with Aditi Mehra. The companies that both the protagonists work for are planning to go into a merger – one of the ropes that tie both of them together. Quickly, they find themselves attracted to each other in these circumstances and get to know each other over a series of dates and vacations. I love how the author stays relevant and realistic about this factor and lets these two characters really fall in love over a genuine period of time. Dates at restaurants, cars, hills, even uber drives – a series of cute conversations and mutual attraction. What comes ahead is a brilliant twist – but I won’t spoil it for you!
One of my favourite lines from the books is, “And how can I not fall in love with that smile of her? It just keeps me wanting to see her smile more often.”
To write about romance in a way that hits the right buttons is to write good romance. At places, the author has put his interpretation of love into just the right words.
As you go ahead, the plot touches upon both: tragedy and strategy. The story of Aditya Bhardwaj is much deeper than what meets the eye. Enter an ex-girlfriend, and you’re roped into an even more intriguing story. However, the switch between scenarios does make it a little confusing for the readers.
As the story goes forward, it gets sadder. Tragedies strike and though I’m unwilling to reveal what exactly happens, I cannot deny that it ends up being blandly cliché. The romance is kept alive and the reader starts feeling invested in the pitiful lives of the characters. A positive is that the plot doesn’t just depend on romance. It also works with the business deal and keeps that in the picture the entire term. This helps break the monotony.
This is one of those stories where you expect an ending and are handed that ending – but it suddenly changes! The ending – merged with the climax – is quick and fast-paced. Aditi and Aditya are seeing every difficulty through together. Through thick and thin, they stay together. But when business comes in between and external powers (Anil Thapa – a name that sounds just as evil as the man!) try their hands, this couple couldn’t hold up.
My favourite part is the ending. The strategy, the planning. Aditya Bharadwaj had something entirely in store for his deeds. As and when things unravel, you will find yourself gasping and frowning.
The Unhealthy Love is an exciting, albeit difficult experience. It has a long way to go before I can call it one of the better books I’ve read. With some great editing and better writing, the plot can take this book to brilliant places. This is my only piece of advice! However, if a little bit of shoddy editing and misplaced grammar doesn’t bother you, do pick up this book. It will be a quick, straight read, leaving you lost and in thought for hours after it ends.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of The Unhealthy Love at the link below: