It has been a week since I picked up A Girl Like Me by Swati Kaushal and some parts of the book are still so fresh and vivid in my mind! Featuring the typical spoilt, rich girl, the goofy boy who does his own thing and the guy who will always be a little out of your league, A Girl Like Me took me back to school. High school can have its share of sweet and heart wrenching moments as well as moments of angst and confusion. This was captured amazingly!
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Where does the protagonist, Anisha Rai fit in all of this? Anisha, or Ani, who spent a chunk of her childhood in Minnesota, comes back to Delhi where her mother takes up a job as a creative director of a hotshot company. India brings back memories of her father, who is no more and she is determined to be detached and withdrawn. But in spite of herself, she is reunited with her childhood friend Keds, finds her own group of friends at school and falls for an older guy, college theatre enthusiast Kunal, who may or may not be good for her. In the home front, Anisha befriends the girl next door, triggering unforeseen obstacles that creates a strain in her relationship with her mother.
WHAT I THOUGHT
well-written . light hearted fun, drama . gut wrenching climax . could’ve done with a little less?!
The deceptively light start follows a gut wrenching climax and at the end of the story, Ani’s understanding of herself, the world and the way things were and will be deepens. Overall, A Girl Like Me is a well-written coming of age story. What really stood out were the parts of the book set in school- with the light hearted fun, drama and secondary characters who frankly, I loved more than the main character. But at the same time, it’s the problems at home and Anisha’s relationships outside school that majorly contribute to the intensity of the crux of the plot.
While usually in a book you might feel like it lacks that “something more”, with A Girl Like Me, I felt like it could’ve done with a little less. Little less of a certain neighbour subplot. It’s like that 90210 episode that would've worked better without the zillion sociopath characters… though the particular subplot of A Girl Like Me had nothing to do with sociopaths. What I’m trying to say is that while there were some characters who had depth and were lovable, some characters who though three-dimensional were downright unlikable, there was one character whose presence just… irked me. But maybe it’s me being nitpicky. Maybe the book may not have worked without that element of it.
Either way, the book did strike an accurate balance between the light hearted and the dark, school and home and made for a mostly relatable and moderately realistic read!
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.