Love, Life & All That Jazz is a fresh new story about a group of college friends who move on to various fields in life, discover life, experience new things and learn (or unlearn) a lot. The story primarily revolves around relationships and is very contemporary in its setting – youngsters in metros (especially Mumbai) will relate to it a lot.
Believe it or not, I finished the book in one go – so it is obviously a fast paced story and a compelling read.
This is the debut novel by Ahmed Faiyaz, a young writer who is also a founding member of Grey Oak Publishers and Grey Oak Foundation.
The story revolves around four friends – Tania, Sameer, Vikram and Tanveer. There is certain depth in the characterization in this book and the characters are hence strong. Faiyaz has formed all characters on entirely different backgrounds which makes their friendship extremely interesting.
Tania is an independent girl who aspires to be a successful Interior Designer. She is seeing Sameer since college and their relationship is sweet and warm. However, when Sameer decides to move to the UK for higher studies, they find themselves under the immense strain of the long-distance relationship.
Tanveer comes from an orthodox Muslim family that also faces regular health and financial issues. Tanveer is responsible and dutiful, but is constantly burdened by his family’s expectations. He is invariably the butt of all jokes in the group. He faces a fork in the road when he falls in love with a Parsi girl, and is forced to choose between strong family values and love.
Vikram is the rich dad’s spoilt son, and you will often find him sleeping or yawning in the first half of the book. After a failed relationship and heartbreak, he goes through a complete change in attitude and drive.
As I mentioned earlier, the book is easy-breezy and perfect for an air journey or for a cold day with a hot cup of coffee. The events are interesting, the places these characters frequent will remind you of a lot of occasions in your own life, I’m sure. Also, the fact that you feel connected to all the characters while reading the book is an accomplishment by the author.
My issues with the book, however, are :
a.) editing – the edition I read has a lot of grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and omissions, which is a major put off for me.
b.) predictability – The story is fairly predictable, almost in a Bollywood movie fashion. It might not be a deterrent for many readers, and though I don’t have and big problem with a story being predictable, what bugs me here is the sugary sweet ending. But then, who doesn’t love a happy ending, eh? I will not give out too much about the end, but the huge possibility of a certain couple ending together after all that jazz is a bit too much for me.
Also, by the end of a book, if I cannot carry something from it with me, I don’t think its worth the effort. And this is exactly what happened when I finished this book. Don’t get me wrong, it is a good contemporary story written in a simple narrative and is about interesting characters, but by the last page I found myself wondering if the story was worth telling at all. Maybe its just me, because my college going brother loved it! Maybe I’m not the exact target audience after all, haha.
All in all, “Love, Life & All That Jazz” is no literary masterpiece but it sure makes for a good quick-read. Good thing is that it ends on a positive note, a happy ending and the author does manage to stir your heart at times, making you remember ‘the good ol’ days’. You might even track an old friend on Facebook, or call a few after you read this.
My rating: 2.5/5