PLOT: 2.5/5 CHARACTERS: 3/5 WRITING STYLE: 3/5 CLIMAX: 3/5 ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 3/5
People who break other people’s hearts were treated as cool people and people who loved someone deeply and truly were stupid in other people’s eyes. Emotional people, we’re fools. I was an idiot because nowadays break up was common and people throw breakup parties. I was the one who was taking it all so seriously– Ekta Chandna, You Don’t Love Me, The Way I Love You
I remember there was a time when lengthy and mushy book titles were all the rage. I have read and reviewed several such warm and cheesy reads. Sudeep Nagarkar’s She Friend-Zoned My Love, Our Story Needs No Filter, You’re Trending in My Dreams, and Durjoy Dutta’s The Boy Who Loved and Wish I Could Tell You are some such books that I have read in recent years.
Now, after a long time, I came across another such title whose cover and name screams ‘over emotional’ and ‘syrupy mushiness’. Read on to know more about my thoughts on Ekta Chandana’s You Don’t Love Me, The Way I Love You.
A lot can be gauged from the book’s cover and its blurb. The cover reminds me of amorous Bollywood songs where the hero romances the rain-soaked heroine in the empty streets of a big city. The byline tells us that it is a story of love, pain, and commitment, and the blurb also tells us to expect something on similar lines.
Who can read?
The book is mostly written in conversational English which is easy to grasp and effortless to read. This makes it an ideal read for beginners and non-English readers who are just starting to learn the language by making their way through beginner-friendly literature. The story and the writing style are also most suited to amateur readers.
Love is a journey fraught with thorns and pain, and yet it is a journey embarked upon by millions every day, every week, and every month. It is on a similar journey that Shreya, the protagonist of our story, finds herself.
Aarav the college heartthrob has his eyes set on Shreya. Unfortunately for him, Shreya is a girl not given to flirting and dating. When because of Aarav’s persistent efforts to woo her, Shreya finally falls for him, she falls hard and falls fast. Soon, Shreya finds herself truly, deeply, madly, and irrevocably in love with him.
But all is not rosy in Shreya’s world as her best friend and confidante Meera doesn’t approve of their relationship. She wants Shreya to break up with Aarav as she has reason to believe that Aarav might not be entirely truthful in their relationship.
What will Shreya do?
Is Meera right in her judgment of Aarav?
Will Shreya ever find happiness and true love?
Is Aarav a bad guy?
Find out all the answers in Ekta Chandna’s You Don’t Love Me, The Way I Love You.
Let’s talk about the writing style
In a true Bridget Jones fashion, the reader is introduced to Shreya Arora, the narrator and the diarist who loves to document her life. Now, I love novels that are written in a diary format, but this template is soon abandoned for a much convenient and plain vanilla first-person narration.
Editing needs much effort
Though the language is beginner-friendly, the editing needs much effort. The very first page has a glaring mistake that unfortunately sets the tone for the rest of the book. Instead of the proper ‘dear diary’, a comical ‘dear dairy’ stares you in the face. As one moves ahead, these avoidable errors become much obvious. Phrases like ‘average heighted’, ‘reached to the mall’, ‘stand between him and his carrier’ are to name a few.
Let’s talk about the characters
In an age of strong and intelligent women characters, Shreya appears to be an outlier. She is not just incredibly sweet but also quite gullible. She is either too stupid or too naïve. As if that is not enough, she tends to do go for the worst possible choice. A dreamer and an idealist, her commitment and honesty are perhaps her only endearing qualities.
Thankfully, she finds a great friend in Meera who has her back. Meera is a loyal friend who acts as a counselor, guide, and agony aunt for Shreya. She is a great judge of character and fiercely protective of her.
Aarav is Shreya’s love interest who has some major issues of his own. He loves Shreya but his actions do not reflect the same. Ronak is a common friend who along with Meera forms a protective inner circle.
Out of the lot, it is Meera who manages to win the reader’s heart. She is level-headed and rational, practical, and caring. She sets the bar high for what friendships should ideally look like.
The plot is simple and linear. Except for the main story which concerns Shreya’s life, there isn’t much happening to make the reader stay invested in the book. There is a visible lack of plot twists which also impacts the entertainment quotient of the book. The story lacks action and gets very monotonous. There is a lot of reflection, pondering, and even whining which is okay in mild doses but gets boring if done in heaps and loads.
What did I like?
One issue that the book openly talks about is anxiety and depression from heartbreak. The raw emotions are captured quite well. Many readers who might have gone through similar situations in their love life would be able to relate to the pain.
What could have been further explored?
There is a section in the latter half where Shreya manages to make her dreams come true and make a name for herself. However, that part is short and hastily done, which takes away the magic of this victory. Narrating that section in much greater detail would have added immense value to the plot and also broken the monotony that otherwise seeps in.
How good is the climax?
Compared to the entire novel, the climax fares much better. I surely didn’t see the end coming. Given the overall look and feel of the book, I had expected Shreya’s story to end in a certain way. However, I was wrong. What’s even better is that the very last line of the novel leaves you on a cliffhanger, laying the foundation for a sequel.
In the end
In the end, You Don’t Love Me, The Way I Love You is a beginner-friendly romance novel that manages to capture the essence of heartbreak. Easily readable in a short span of 2 to 3 hours, it’s a good read for people learning the English language.
Pick the book if
- You are strictly a beginner-level reader.
- You are starting on your English reading journey and want an easy book to begin with.
- You enjoy overly romantic reads.
Skip the book if
- You are looking for a great romance.
- You can’t stand editing errors.
- You are a regular or voracious reader.
- You are looking for a 4 star or above entertainer.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of You Don’t Love Me, The Way I Love You using the link below.