December 30, 2013 by thejalebichronicles
Been There, Reviewed That: Being experimental guinea pigs to bring to you the best of books, movies, restaurants and more
Author: Ishaan Lalit
Price: Rs.140 on Flipkart
Dinner Date is the story of Samuel Thomas, his friends Ram and Rohit and how the trio manage to survive through the idiosyncrasies, the politics, the drama and the difficulties of life – in and out of law school, amidst law families and moot courts. Like the title suggests, the story is about a dinner date – Sam is out with Malaika, and he narrates to her his life story in one evening. She expects it to be boring, but Sam (in a manner borrowed from one of those ‘how-to-woo-a-girl’ posts from Thought Catalogue) insists it won’t. In the end, the reader realizes that Malaika is the sister of Aditi, the girl Sam wants to marry. However, since Aditi refuses to say yes to his proposal until her elder sister approves, Malaika has to sit through this date, to decide matters for herself.
What I Liked:
The whole date being about the girl’s sister is the fine twist, and the only, if insufficient, saving grace. Sam’s godfather Alex is the only character with some dimension and comes across as likeable. The story is Sam’s amd you end up empathizing with the troubles he faces. Also, the moot court scenes are fun to read – after all, any argument is always interesting. And even though it doesn’t make much of an impact while reading, the author has highlighted topics like nepotism and favouritism in a matter-of-fact manner as opposed to the general ‘there is something wrong with this world’ portrayal of the common vices of government.
What I Didn’t Like:
The writing is dry and the story, average. It is ridden with clichés, cheesy scenes and failed attempts at humour. The dialogues and the conversations – while a true mirror of how one would speak in real life come off as forceful and pretentious. Here are a few examples –
In one scene, Rohit has to shout and swear at Ram Kant. He says “Ram you’re not a Kant, but a cunt.” (Good bye originality!)
Almost all the characters lack depth. There is a godfather who dies of cancer, a couple who are having a baby after their first son is 20 something, a boss whose son is too dominating in office and a will that leaves Sam rich. Oh, and did I mention a romance with the Dean’s daughter?
What we are Left with:
An average read. This is the reason why the Indian Literary scene is looked down upon. In trying to be slick and urbane, the author stints on quality of writing and a strong plot. Nevertheless, carry it with you if you’re travelling along – it is a quick read and will delight you with its relative banality.
– Prakruti Maniar
Currently a student of mass media in her second year, Prakruti Maniar is an avid reader and wishes to major in journalism. Easy going and extremely talkative (as girls must be) she would “prefer buying books over a blanket on a cold winter day.” You can tweet nice things to her at (@tpraksm)