Saturday, March 7, 2015

Five Point Someone | Chetan Bhagat

Five Point Someone is a story about three friends in IIT who are unable to cope. 

The book starts with a disclaimer, “This is not a book to teach you how to get into IIT or even how to live in college. In fact, it describes how screwed up things can get if you don’t think straight.” 
Three hostelmates – Alok, Hari and Ryan get off to a bad start in IIT – they screw up the first class quiz. And while they try to make amends, things only get worse. It takes them a while to realize: If you try and screw with the IIT system, it comes back to double screw you. 

Before they know it, they are at the lowest echelons of IIT society. They have a five-point-something GPA out of ten, ranking near the end of their class. This GPA is a tattoo that will remain with them, and come in the way of anything else that matters – their friendship, their future, their love life. While the world expects IITians to conquer the world, these guys are struggling to survive. 

Will they make it? Do under performers have a right to live? Can they show that they are not just a five-point-somebody but a five-point-someone?

If you're Indian, odds are you've seen the ever famous movie 3 Idiots starring Aamir Khan, and even if you're not Indian it's still possible that you've seen it. This book was the inspiration for that movie. Generally I believe that the book is ALWAYS better than the movie, but in this case, having read Chetan Bhagat's book Half-Girlfriend, I wasn't expecting much from this book, and this book just barely made my expectations. 

While this was immensely better than Half-Girlfriend, it was by no means an extraordinary read. Personally I enjoyed the movie more, which if you haven't seen I highly recommend, even if you don't speak Hindi (that's what subtitles are for). In this book, the plot, the characters and the romance were fairly bland, but I loved how the problems of the Indian education system were showcased, both in the book and the movie.

The one thing that really bothered me about this book was the romance. Hari would constantly disregard Neha, the protagonist's love interest, as "all girls". Whenever Neha was do something even mildly confusing, Hari would say/think something like "Why do girls do this?" and he simply kept grouping Neha with every other girl, which I just found really annoying. 

Overall, this was a pretty mediocre book. I didn't feel myself falling in love with any of the characters, nor did I especially love the plot or the setting, but I didn't hate it like I did in Half-Girlfriend. Though I don't necessarily recommend this book to everyone, I do highly recommend the movie, which does a fantastic job of integrating serious issues and humor.