Book Review: The Girl In Room 105

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I admit that I have read all Chetan Bhagat books. Don’t get me wrong! I am not a Chetan Bhagat fan. I read him just to find out why he is a best-selling author (unable to figure that out though!). The last CB novel that I really liked was ‘The 3 mistakes of my life’ which was also later adapted into a movie. Since then, all his novels have been big mistakes (for the readers). CB continues to rake in moolah with his predictable Bollywood kind of writing.

This book is a little different than CB’s previous works as he has tried a different genre this time. To avoid being typecast as a writer adept at silly romances involving IIMs, the author attempts a murder mystery interspersed with pathetic attempts at humour. The net result is disappointment.

The protagonist Keshav is an IITian who works at a coaching centre and absolutely hates his job due to its business-minded owner. His life is miserable at both professional and personal levels. He continues to pine for his ex-girlfriend Zara Lone, a Kashmiri migrant whom he had met in college. Their relationship ended a year ago and Zara is now engaged to Raghu, a successful entrepreneur.  It’s the night of her birthday and Keshav is getting drunk remembering the good, old days when he unexpectedly receives text messages from Zara telling that she misses him and wants him back in her life. An ecstatic Keshav reaches her room no. 105 in hostel in the middle of the night only to find her dead. Not satisfied with the police interrogation, Keshav decides to take matter in his own hands and sets out to find the killer.

The story starts off with a lot of potential with the premise of a jilted lover but the author failed to create an engaging thriller. The story is a below average run-of-the-mill kind of whodunit. Characters are stereotypical. Like all his previous novels, the protagonist here is a failure in life. And like the typical CB heroine, Zara is a practical, materialist modern girl who prefers a successful man to a failure. The readers get little insight into Zara’s character. None of her brilliance or independent nature is reflected in the story. Instead she has been reduced to a selfish girl who doesn’t hesitate to dump a man she claims to love to get engaged to someone else and then starts an affair with a married man while she is still engaged. Zara is characterized so badly that the reader has no sympathy for her in the end.

The Girl in Room 105 has nothing to offer except a poor story, with juvenile conversations replete with some cheesy lines and a few lame jokes. The amateur and silly banter between Keshav and his friend makes for some really poor reading. CB’s maiden attempt at writing a thriller doesn’t live upto expectations (not that there are any from CB!). Read if you want to. Or else you can wait for the movie as I have no doubt that it would be adapted into a Bollywood movie soon.

Title: The Girl in Room 105

Originally published: 2018

Author: Chetan Bhagat

Page count: 304

Genres: Fiction, Suspense

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