Half Girlfriend by Chetan Bhagat

**possible spoiler alert**

As with all Chetan Bhagat’s books, this one was very easy to read. However, like his other books which I felt had more substance, I was sad to see this one didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed reading it but I’m a die hard romantic and even this one was a bit far fetched for me.

Madhav Jha is a poor Bihari prince who is studying at the reputable St. Stephen’s College in Delhi where he meets and falls in love with the rich and affluent Riya Somani. She breaks his heart, reappears in his life a few years later and breaks it again but he never gives up – I’m still trying to decide if that’s true love or if he was just crazy! The book is divided into several parts and the last part has Madhav visiting and calling over 1000 bars in New York searching for his one true love. Like with all Bollywood movies, it has a happy ending and this is what I take issue with. Not the happy ending but the fact that it feels like Chetan Bhagat has written this to be turned into a blockbuster (like 3 idiots and 2 states).

Although I like his writing style and enjoy all the political and historical statements he makes, I was let down by this book because I expected more from him. 3 idiots had people sitting up and thinking about the way they are taught in India…half girlfriend is just your typical Bollywood rom com.

If you fancy a light beach read then pick this up.

Love In Chelsea: Sex, Lies and Debauchery: A review

A friend was visiting from Hong Kong last month and was telling me about her 5-6 hour layover in Doha. “What did you do for 5-6 hours on your own?” I asked her. Her response? She read Love in Chelsea: Sex, Lies and Debauchery (by Alykhan Meghani). She said it was an easy read and a good book and so I ordered it on my kindle.

I agree with her first point, I’m not so sure about the latter. Love in Chelsea: Sex, Lies and Debauchery is written through the eyes of Aidan Khan, a 30 year old success driven guy living and working in London. He falls head over heels for Sara Varsi, a wealthy Chelsea “princess”. The book is basically a love/hate story of their relationship. The main issue being trust, or lack of.

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While the book was easy to read and you can definitely relate to the characters, I found myself hating them. There were moments I wish I could meet Aidan just to shake some sense into him and other times I nodded in agreement as he described Sara, like many girls I know.

The book sort of reminded me these Indian TV shows I mentioned a couple of days ago. You love to hate them but you still keep tuning in to see what happens next.

While the book was easy to read and being of Indian descent myself, the story was potentially very “real”, I can’t say I loved it. The story and storyteller came across as quite immature and it ended too abruptly for my liking. Had I read it when I was 22, maybe I would have enjoyed it more.

I’d give this book a 2.5 out of 5.

World Book Day

I’ve always enjoyed reading and it’s something I’ve always wanted S to enjoy too. It builds your vocabulary, improves your conversational skills and of course has the ability to transport you to another world (depending on what you’re reading). It also builds your imagination and I’d like to believe makes you a better writer (gets those creative juices going!).

When I was a child I read to my hearts content. First it was books like Mr. Pink Whistle and all the Enid Blyton books. As I approached 11-13, it was Sweet Valley High, Goosebumps and any of the RL Stein books. From 13-20 I loved Sidney Sheldon, Marian Keyes, Sheila O’Flanagan, Cathy Kelly and Cecilia Ahern (I went to school in Dublin, that might explain it). Since then I’ll read anything that catches my fancy. Self help (Mitch Albom, Deepak Chopra and Brian Weiss), page turners (Jodi Picoult, Dan Brown, Chetan Bhagat) and then easy to read feel good books which could be by any author.

I started reading to S every night from the age of 6 months. He may not have understood it but he liked looking at the pictures and now he can hold a book the right way and loves flicking through the pages and pointing to the things he knows. His favourite is The Gruffalo. In honour of world book day, his nursery asked the parents to dress the kids up as their favourite characters. His class did it yesterday and S went in Gruffalo theme.

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The teacher at his nursery also tells me he loves Maisy. We do have one Maisy book at home but we’re off to the library this weekend to get some more.

What book are you reading at the moment? I just started Philomena by Martin Sixsmith.

Encouraging Speech and Language

Two weeks ago I went to view some playschools for S to go to while we’re here in Lagos. One of the teachers was asking me about him to assess the class he should be put in. I explained to her how he’s very physical (can do most things a 2 year old can do; he’s only 19 months) but is not very verbal. He can string whole sentences together but only with sounds of words, hums the tunes of his favourite nursery rhymes and understands everything I say to him BUT won’t speak (with the exceptions of “mama” and “ba” (dog)). Her advice to me was to ignore him. If he wants water and points to his bottle and gestures, I should ignore him until he says water or bottle (or words that sound that that). For anyone who knows me or reads my blog, you’d know how shocked I was at this. Ignore my son? That’s not the way I’d teach him.

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For those of you who may have done this, and it worked, no judgement. But this doesn’t sit right with me. I get many people saying “You’re too soft, he’s just lazy because he knows you understand him without words, that’s how he’ll learn” but that’s not the way I’d choose to teach. S has been read to every night  since he was 6 months old, he understands instructions, he’s smart, lively and has a sense of humour. So to the teacher who told me to ignore my son until he speaks, when he is ready, his words will come. And until then I’ll enjoy his humming and his monopolising of the word “mama” 😉

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For more information on how you can gently encourage language in your kids, this website  gave some great advice.