“The Orange Hangover” is written in simple words but it has too much of Bollywood in it. It tries to leave a message of social responsibility but lacks the strength. It’s the comical nature which helps you sit through the book.
Rishabh, an architect and the protagnist is your 25 year old guy next door, facing the problems which every other 25 year old faces. Struggling at job, break-up with girlfriend, questions from neighbors about marriage, Rishabh has all of this knocking his head at once. He quits his job and returns to his hometown to regain his deteriorating health. Daunted by the questioning eyes of neighbours he joins a small time architect only to meet a client who without any qualms employs a kid as domestic help. Rishabh, driven by the words from his friends and past incidents involving child labor, questions the client and brings the kid home. This strong act of Rishabh doesn’t stop here, he goes ahead and starts teaching the kid along with other unprivileged kid from neighborhood. His action gains popularity and gets print publicity and the story turns out well.
I would have liked the book more if the story was just this much, but there are some irrelevant bits involving client’s kidnapping, ransom, murder, accusation. These parts convince you that there was a desperate attempt to add masala in the story. I couldn’t find the connection of these bits with rest of the story at all.
There are girls in book as well and let me say that both main female characters are strong. There is Mansi, Rishabh’s girlfriend who helps him in rescuing the kids and setting up classes for kids. Her character is mature, sensitive and understanding. And then there is Natasha, Rishabh’s friend. If there is only one reason to read the book, it has to be Natasha. Her character is ideal, matured, sensible, sensitive, understanding, unbiased, selfless, wise and much more. There are online conversations where Natasha convinces Rishabh to do the right things; they leave you in her awe. By the end of this book, I had only one thing in mind – “Can Natasha be brought to life?”
The book could have done better without inclusion of few characters and their stories. Like, for the introduction of unprivileged kid, the client and his family were not required at all. It was an airport read for me, so I don’t regret it. But I don’t recommend it either. Read it if you must.
This review is written by Ujjawal Asthana. You can follow him at @ujjawal_a
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