Cursed Child – Because I need to talk about it.

harry-potter-and-the-cursed-child-750x315It’s been 2 months since I read this book and I’m still not over it yet. As much as I was pissed off at this piece of pure disappointment, I didn’t write about it until now because part of me didn’t want to talk about it. After me and my brother read it, we vented out our anger for this book for one hour and then promised each other that we’ll just pretend that this book never happened.

The only problem is that I can’t. I can’t because it exists, in physical form and will exist until the end of this world. And I wish I could just wipe it off my memory, but I know I can’t. Being so emotionally attached to Harry Potter since my early childhood, this book has been nothing less than a blow for me. I wish I could stand in front of Jo and scream “You had 9 years and you gave us this?”

As much as I’m saddened by the story they gave us, I’ve come to realize that so many people around me actually liked it. That’s part of the reason why I’m writing this post now, after so many days. One of my friends finished this book yesterday, came to my room and said “I loved it so much, I wish they would make a movie on this.” and I just sat there thinking…”Wait, are we talking about the cursed child here? But … but how do you not see that there’s so much wrong with this book? Are you kidding me?” Although I didn’t say that, because she was not the first person to tell me that. While one of my other friends described it as ‘breath of fresh air’, another described it as ‘awesome!’. I don’t understand how they fail to see what’s wrong with this book and neither do I try to understand. But yes, I do understand why has it been so difficult for me to make peace with this book.

If you haven’t read the cursed child yet, maybe now would be a good time to stop reading this post now. SPOILERS AHEAD!

  1. First of all, I don’t know what characters they wrote in this book, but they definitely weren’t the same ones I grew up with. Harry can’t talk like that to his son. Harry can’t talk like that to Professor McGonagall. Not just Harry, everyone. The way they talk, the way they react to things, everything they did, it wasn’t just relate-able at all.
  2. Prototype time turner? Are you joking? We all know time turners could let them stay back in time for more than 5 minutes. Are you trying to tell us that the only time turner that was left, the last one, was the prototype one with a restriction of 5 minutes?
  3. Okay, even if it was, I think it would’ve taken more than 5 minutes for Scorpio to go back in time, meet Ron, Hermione and Snape, explain to them the whole situation, do the task he was intending to and come back again.
  4. Let’s talk a bit about Hermoine here. Minister of Magic, brightest witch of her age… you would think she would be capable enough to put protection charms in her office, which would be beyond two 14 year olds to break. Wouldn’t you?
  5. And Ron? Just because he wasn’t an auror or minister of magic or whatever and ran a joke shop, doesn’t mean you’d portray him as nothing more than a comic relief. Don’t tell us you reduced him to that after everything he had done for Harry and for the wizarding world.
  6. Oh and, can somebody please explain how in this world Harry could speak parseltongue even though the horcrux in him was destroyed ?
  7. About the big revelation in this book, Voldemort and Bellatrix’s love child, Delphi… okay first off, Voldemort wasn’t even a human himself, how could he give birth to another human? Second, WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN? Where does it fit into the timeline? After escaping azkaban, and before her death, Bellatrix hardly had two years, during which she was working as Voldemort’s right hand. When did she get time to get pregnant? If Delphi was born just before the Battle of Hogwarts, wouldn’t Harry, Hermoine and Ron have noticed her pregnancy in the Malfoy Manor?
  8. More than the whole Delphi issue, what pisses me off even more is that they made Cedric Diggory into a death eater in alternate universe, just because he was humiliated. I mean shouldn’t Neville be a death eater too by that concept, since he has been humiliated more times in the entire series than any other character?
  9. The prophecy… who made the prophecy? Where did it come from? How was Minister of Magic not aware of this, since, as I recall, Department of mysteries stored copies of all prophecies made in the wizarding world? What was the proof of its authenticity? I mean WHAT? WHY? HOW???
  10. Making Harry watch his parents getting murdered. You know it wasn’t needed Jo. Why would you needlessly want to make his life more tragic? You didn’t have to do it.
  11. The trolley witch. ARE YOU SERIOUS??
  12. “For Voldemort and Valor.” I almost puked. Oh and also, is everyone now comfortable taking Voldemort’s name?

There might be many more other little reasons to be disappointed with the book, which I may not be remembering right now. But anyway the whole point is, this book killed my little potterhead heart.
What about you?

The Immortals Of Melu-BLAHH!!

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Alright! Time for the first negative book review on here. Most of you following me wouldn’t even have heard of this book. And if you happen to be an Indian, following me, reading this post, having an interest in reading books and intending to pick this one up… DON’T!! (Although the odds of all of that happening at once is quite low… but still.)

The Immortals Of Meluha by Amish Tripathi, more like The Immortals Of Melu-blahh!! is actually quite blah! in the truest sense and I’m not exaggerating. I didn’t like this one, not because I’m an extremely devoted Shiva worshipper who couldn’t take a story written with a different perspective which showed Shiva as a normal human being who went on to become a hero. But because there is absolutely nothing… NOTHING original in the entire book. Amish Tripathi has played with the age old formula of  a prophecy, a society that needs a saving, a common enemy, a ‘normal’ 20 something man aka our hero in making. Oh and of course, for a little bit of romance, a girl,who, although is shown to be a very strong character, but still needed to be saved thrice by the hero in the entire book, because obviously you can’t write a book with the female lead NOT being dependent on the male lead. Okay, I’m not trying to bring up feminism here, but I think it’s time for the writers to do away with the clichéd ‘damsel in distress’ concept. It’s getting monotonous and boring.

Talking about ‘cliché’, the love story between Shiva and Sati does justice with the word. Every single scene between them and every single dialogue seemed straight out of some typical Bollywood movie. Love at first sight, then fighting together, some taboo in society due to which they can’t be together, Sati taking an arrow for Shiva, then Shiva charging towards attacker, easily turning away all the arrows coming towards him with a sword… I mean COME ONNNN!! I could almost imagine the scene in slow motion, the way I’ve seen it a thousand times in TV serials and movies. And that’s not just it, Sati almost loosing the battle against death, but then Shiva’s miraculous idea saves her life curing her with something which has NEVER in the history of Meluha cured anyone. Because, obviously our heroine can’t die. And don’t even get me started on the war scenes. (Okay Amish Tripathi, so you paid attention while watching the fight scenes of Lord Of the Rings and 300? Good job!)

So in a nutshell, the story was flat, unoriginal, bland and… what’s the word?… SOPORIFIC! The charachters were under developed. Did I tell you how in less than 50 pages, our hero made a sexist joke? Well, he did. So I pretty much started detesting his charachter even before I was properly introduced to him. But it turned out, there wasn’t much to like about him anyway. The author miserably failed at setting the scenes and the environment. The book ended at a terrible point. It ended at a cliffhanger, but the one, which didn’t induce any interest in further reading the sequels whatsoever. The writing was mediocre. And, and, and… I almost forgot to mention how many times the characters used words like ‘damn’, ‘dude’ and ‘shit’. I mean DUDEEEE! AM I REALLY READING A STORY SET IN A PERIOD 4000 YEARS AGO ? Because it sure didn’t feel like it.

Furious 7

Furious-7Amongst all the madness of exam season, I somehow managed to take some time out to go and watch Furious 7. Before I start on how much I LOVED it, here’s a short summary of the plot from IMDB, because I couldn’t have explained it better…

Dominic Torretto and his crew thought they left the criminal mercenary life behind. They defeated an international terrorist named Owen Shaw and went their seperate ways. But now, Shaw’s brother, Deckard Shaw is out killing the crew one by one for revenge. Worse, a Somalian terrorist called Jakarde, and a shady government official called “Mr. Nobody” are both competing to steal a computer terrorism program called God’s Eye, that can turn any technological device into a weapon. Torretto must reconvene with his team to stop Shaw and retrieve the God’s Eye program while caught in a power struggle between terrorist and the United States government.

The movie was overwhelmingly mindblowing! Right from the very first scene, I knew this was going to be good. And when I say good, I mean CRAZY good. And I was right about that. Yes, the film showed some really silly gravity defying stunts and it was a little bit cliched at times. Also, the plot could’ve been stronger, considering how Dom’s group was fighting Somalian terrorists for a computer program and it’s maker, all of which basically had nothing to do with them, all because a covert ops team proposed to ally with them in return of their help to deal with Deckard Shaw. I mean most of the time they were just fighting a third party, when actually their enemy was just one person. That looked a teensy bit off to me. BUT, who cares?? I mean, despite all these little flaws, this movie has everything you want to see in a blockbuster. Who doesn’t want to see cars skydiving from an aircraft and racing through one skyscraper to another at such high altitudes? Call it mindless all you want, but you can’t deny, it was fun to watch.
Jason Statham, the new addition to the movie’s cast, playing Deckard Shaw was brilliant in his role. That guy had some real issues though, throwing bombs everywhere and at everyone. An extremely strong antagonist and a very tough one to beat. He practically looked ‘indestructible’ to me throughout the movie. I really really hope he comes back in the next installment. Vin, Paul, Michelle, Dwayne, Jordana, Tyrese and Ludacris were all fantastic as usual.

Putting all of it’s action packed, adrenaline rush inducing, edge-of-the-seat thrill aside, we all know what this movie stood for. This movie was meant to be a tribute to it’s late actor Paul Walker and that, it did beautifully. Salute to it’s makers, who gave this movie an exceptionally moving and poetic end, and more than succeeding in bidding a warm farewell to a departed family member. In the last scene, you could see it in Vin Diesel’s eyes… it wasn’t Dom saying goodbye to Brian, it was Vin saying goodbye to Paul. That scene gave out some major sentimental vibes. The song ‘See You Again’ by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth only added to the beauty of the climax. It got me, to be honest. And every single person at the cinema. In my twenty years of life, I had never seen the entire hall clapping in unison at the end of the movie. But it happened today. That in itself says how much people loved Paul.

It’s been a long day without you my friend
And I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again

For Paul.

The Bell Jar

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“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.”

This book was recommended to me by Ekatemari, when I reviewed Catcher In The Rye. If you’re reading this, thank you so much for the recommendation. 🙂  So here’s what I think about it…

I’m at a loss for words. I don’t know where to start. So dark, so gloomy yet moving and relatable to an extent.
Esther Greenwood, 20 years old, talented, successful, has everything she ever wanted in her life. But she’s not excited. There are way too many things which worry her, and ultimately she finds herself trapped under a bell jar.

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What I liked so much about Esther Greenwood was her eccentric character. She doesn’t want to waste away her life limiting herself by the rules set by the society. She wants to do everything and be everything. Yet, when she meets people more talented than her, she doubts herself and feels inadequate. She hates hypocrites. She absolutely hates the idea of living her life in the way girls were expected to in that time. She throws out all of her new, expensive clothes, one by one, out of the hotel window as a symbol of rejecting to conform with the expectations of society. She’s not fascinated by big cities and parties. Cadavers and pickled foetuses catch her attention.  She imagines things she should have said to people. And then one day when nothing goes right, she decides ‘to spend the summer writing a novel that would fix a lot of people’ , gets stuck on the first line, then ditches the idea. She’s bold. She’s determined. She’s talented. She’s crazy. WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE ABOUT HER! I don’t remember how many times I screamed “Yes! Yes! EXACTLY!” while reading this book. It’s amazing how much you can connect to a book written 53 years ago.

By this point in the book, Esther had become like a friend for me. She made me laugh, she made me think and made me privy to all of her deepest secrets, and then as she descended into depression, I watched her lose all of her battles with herself. However, the book ended on a rather positive note. Positive, as in, open ended, leaving it on the readers to decide whether in their opinion, she managed to overcome her inner demons or not. Considering the semi autobiographical nature of this book, what Sylvia Plath endured in her life is a secret to none. Every single page of this book felt haunted by Sylvia’s spirit. And it’s really saddening to know in that much detailed manner how she battled with her own self every single day and eventually ended her life. But the fact that she left an open end for Esther (who is basically her own self) tells that among all the struggles she went through, she had a hope for herself. And I believe that Esther lived. Giving support and hope to thousands of people fighting depression.

The other characters of the book weren’t developed in detail, just the right amount was explained about them as required for the story.  Esther was the sole star of the book and the way her character was written was commendable. Every single thought of her was nicely described. The book, altogether, was very intense and powerful most of the time, filled with dark humour at times. I started reading this book knowing that Sylvia Plath was a poet, but she proved herself as an equally good author too. The imageries set in the book were absolutely alluring, the fig tree one being the most striking of all.

“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”

The best thing about this book was it’s straightforwardness and pure truthfulness, taking us into extreme depths of a mind of a neurotic person. It made me empathise with her on levels I didn’t know I could for any person long gone. But I don’t want to just remember her for someone who was clinically depressed. She was independent, she was an individual having an unconventional  approach to life, she was loving, she was funny, she was brave, she was intrepid and more than anything, she was extremely talented who could put out her thoughts into beautiful poetries. And the world should remember her for all these qualities, rather than just sticking her head in the oven.

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Let’s talk about Interstellar…

interstellar-photos-pictures-stillsI was madly waiting for this movie, and God knows how I waited for another 10 days even after it’s release because I was waiting for my exams to get over. But anyway, I finally watched it last night and I’m still in awe, like, what the hell I witnessed yesterday.

This. Movie. Is. A. Masterpiece. It’s absolutely genius. The movie is about a few explorers who go out in search of a habitable planet in another galaxy through a worm hole because Earth is dying. That’s it. I’ll try and keep my mouth zipped so as not to reveal any more of the plot, just in case you  haven’t watched it yet. So here’s what I thought about the movie…

For those of you who think it’s just another sci-fi space movie, let me tell you, it’s not JUST that. It’s not like Gravity, like what a lot of people presume by trailers. It’s a Christopher Nolan movie and he is The Director of this age. Like his every other movie, Interstellar is based on a complex subject presented onscreen in a phenomenal way, like no other director could have done it. But unlike his any other movie, this movie will take you on a ride through time and space to another galaxy, into the worlds of high tides and frozen clouds, through a wormhole and into a black hole, from a three dimensional world to a five dimensional one, making you question the depths of the universe like you never did. If you liked Inception and said to yourself after the movie, “Woah! That was mindblowing”, I can assure you that after watching Interstellar you will find yourself speechless, too shaken to the core by the masterpiece you just witnessed to say anything.

What’s more is that this movie isn’t just all about science and space, it has every other aspect of a perfect movie balanced together with a great finesse. When was the last time you cried in a sci-fi movie? Probably never. But you’ll do in this one. Because this movie starts with a close father-daughter relationship and it ends with it. And throughout the movie you’ll find yourself rooting for Cooper (the protagonist) to find his way back home to his daughter. And the way Matthew played this role is absolutely commendable. He was perfect in every single scene. And so was Anne Hathaway. Stop the hate, haters, because this woman has proved herself yet again. She is just as brilliant in this movie as always  and you can all back the eff down while she makes her way to different stages to recieve awards for this movie.

Michael Caine, Jessica Chastain, Mackenzie Foy, David Gyasi and Matt Damon were all fantastic in their respective roles. Oh and, how did I forget to mention! The background scores by Hans Zimmer were absolutely spot on. A big credit goes to his music for making the film look more alive. All in all, it was a piece of cinematic excellence. And by what I feel, it has ‘Oscars’ written all over it.

You should NOT miss it at any cost. If you watch one movie this season, let this be it. Because movies like these are not made every day. And just a heads up for you, don’t miss out on a single dialoug. Watch it with your full attention and don’t get distracted for a single second. Because you can’t afford to do that in this movie. Now go watch it!

P.S. : For those of you who have watched it, I need to ask you one thing. How did Cooper get out from the tesseract and  straight back to near Saturn?

Catcher In The Rye

url“Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused  and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that  score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records  of their troubles. You’ll learn from them—if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.”

You know how good it feels when you just pick up a book with absolutely no high expectations but it turns out exactly what you needed to read to not feel alone. This is that book. No fantasy, no big dragons and wise wizards, nothing about any star crossed lovers, nothing about civil wars or fights against rascism, no murder mystery or thriller. Just a 16-year-old boy narrating a couple of days of his life after he’s expelled from his school. I probably wouldn’t have picked this book up if I had known what it is about. I’m SO glad I didn’t.

523d43599af7aeac69bdf5f2538bf101There’s this thing about this book, that you either identify with it, or you don’t. There’s no in between. And that’s why a lot of people think that this book is another one of those young adult novels about a whiny teenager who rants about how he hates literally everything and everyone around him. And then there are other kind of people who can relate to it and I’m one of them. Because honestly, we’ve all been through that phase, that period of alienation and estrangement in our adolescent years when so much as our routine life depressed us and broke us down. And we still go through those emotions once in a while. It’s really surprising how you could feel so close to a book which was written 63 years ago. But then again, human emotions never change whether it’s decades ago or centuries.

18dbf47906d7aa00bfb6f8c47439ce68Holden Caulfield, the protagonist of this book, isn’t an exceptional A grade student, or a child prodigy or a sports star of his school. He’s just a below average student who flunks all of his subjects except English, but that doesn’t mean he’s not intelligent. He’s always curious for knowledge he finds interesting. He thinks that adults are all pretentious and despises this world for being so phony and fake. All he really likes is reading books and going to the museum. A few pages into this book and you would realize what kind of person he is. He loathes everything. He’s aimless. He’s angry. He’s devastated. He’s frustrated. He’s depressed. He doesn’t have anywhere to go, not even his own home. But among all of this, there’s one person he really cares about. And that’s his little sister, whose childhood innocence is real and honest, unlike everything else. And he wants nothing more than saving her from this corrupted, hollow, hypocritical world. After all, this is all this book is about. Saving childhood innocence. This boy is not an adult yet, but he’s mature enough to understand what most adult people are like. And he doesn’t want his sister or any other children in general to be exposed to that world of phoniness. And this is what the title actually means. As he says…

Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around – nobody big, I mean – except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff – I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be.

So seriously troubled and distressed this boy is, that I desperately wanted to read a happy ending for him.  I needed to know that he finds a way in the end, that he somehow fits in somewhere. That he finds answers to all his troubles. That if life looks so bad at the moment, it doesn’t mean that it’ll not get better. To know that everything becomes okay in the end. But this book doesn’t have that end. It just ends on the same frustrated note with which it starts, probably J.D. Salinger’s way to tell the readers who relate to Holden to find their own ending. To find their own way. To find their own answers.
I would just say that if you have ever, ever in your life, felt like a misfit and have had that feeling of alienation from the rest of the world, this book is for you.

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The Help

“I always thought insanity would be a dark, bitter feeling, but it is drenching and delicious if you really roll around in it.”

Book Review The HelpI risked to read this book when I had an exam coming up at the end of the same week. It just sat on that shelf, staring at me, waiting to be read so I told myself that it wouldn’t hurt if I read no more than a couple of chapters in a day. Because that’s the kind of excuse I give myself every time, believing that I’ll stick to it, but never do. Obviously this time it was a lie too, because I finished it in 5 days (just 2 days before my exam) going along with a hectic routine, and procrastinating all my homework. All because it was just SO unputdownable. I literally used to spend all my time thinking about going back to this book at the end of the day.

This book, in simple words, is basically time machine which takes you back to the 1960’s America, a time when racism was hugely prevalent. This book is alternatively narrated in first person by 3 people. Two black maids, Aibileen and Minny, and a white woman, Skeeter who’s writing a book on the lives of black maids in Jackson, Mississippi and the relations they share with the white families they’re working for. It is, obviously, a clandestine project because of the sensitive topic which could put them at a great risk.

Kathryn Stockett did a wonderful job on this book, especially considering that it was her debut novel. The plot is really strong and powerful, and the way she breathed life into the characters of this book, it all really came alive for me. Not just the three protagonists, but all the secondary characters were fairly well developed. This book doesn’t just tell us about how the lives of black people were dominated and controlled by whites to a large extent, but it also has just as much to say about how important freedom is. Freedom of expressing opinions, freedom of fighting back, freedom from societal norms, freedom of living the life on our own terms and nobody else’s, freedom of loving someone irrespective of their color and freedom of living as equals. Because there’s one thing which is common in all of us and which goes beyond any differences of race, color, gender, etc. and it’s that we’re all human beings. All of this and so much more in one book, all with a pinch of feminism to make this book stronger. Like one of the quotes from the book… “Wasn’t that the point of the book? For women to realize, We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I’d thought.”  

Kathryn shared a quote at the end of this book by Howell Raines whilst talking about her inspiration for writing this book which was…

There is no trickier subject for a writer from the South than that of affection between a black person and a white one in the unequal world of segregation. For the dishonesty upon which a society is founded makes every emotion suspect, makes it impossible to know whether what flowed between two people was honest feeling or pity or pragmatism.

I’d say it may be a tricky and sensitive subject but Kathryn handled it brilliantly, especially with the thick southern dialect which made the characters all the more real. I was only 10 pages into this book and I already knew that I’d love this one. It’s just that gripping. It stays on a very serious note for the most part, but turns effortlessly amusing at times. And most importantly, it ends on a rather positive note saying that it’s never too late to start a new life or start doing something you’ve never done.

I would love to say a lot more about this book and right now I’d want nothing more than to discuss and talk endlessly about this book and my favorite parts but that would ruin it for you if you haven’t read it. So I’m going to keep this review spoiler free. But there’s one thing I’ll say… There are a lot of books which i have read and loved but there’s only a few which have actually teared me up. And The Help is one of them.

So I ain’t on tell you how good this book be in my words any more. I on tell you in Minny’s words. Law! This book be real good. So you don’t walk your butt to a book shop and buy it, you run it!