Friday, April 23, 2010

You Are Here

As an extension of our Bloggers to Authors series, here is Sunayana Roy's review of Meenakshi Madhavan Reddy's You Are Here.

You Are Here

Meenakshi Madhavan Reddy

Penguin Books, Rs 199

When Meenakshi Madhavan Reddy’s debut novel came out last year, the one consistent charge levelled against it was that it was too similar in tone and concept to her popular blog, Compulsive Confessor. Accordingly, I started reading the book with certain preconceived misgivings.

However, You Are Here proved itself to be a fast, smooth and light read, well edited for the most part and sufficiently gripping to have me finish it in one go. The similarity to eM’s blog, I would say, lies in that both eM (the central character of the blog) and Arushi (the protagonist of the novel) seem to come from a similar background. But I think this is more a case of Reddy writing about what is familiar – in her case the familiar is already well discussed on the blog but Arushi never did seem to blur into eM.

What I liked best about the book was Arushi’s consistent fleshing out as a ditsy, untried and aimless young woman. Her voice as the protagonist often meanders into the meaningless or takes random diversions, is at times unsure, and the bossier reader will want to occasionally shake some sense into her but for the most part as she tries to make sense of her life and loves, one finds oneself viewing her through somewhat indulgent spectacles. She sounds like somebody we’ve all met at some point and since she is essentially harmless, it’s hard to dislike her.

That sentiment could sum up this reader’s feelings about the book: light, fun and essentially harmless. It will probably not make you rethink your priorities or values but it doesn’t claim to want to.

Sunayana Roy
Meenakshi Madhavan Reddy blogs at

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