You know how some books are talked about everywhere on social media and if it’s a debut author the buzz is kicked up a notch. Are you one of those readers who are left wondering what the buzz is about and finally pick up a copy to know for yourself? Sometimes that happens to me as well, the blurb of the book interested me and I requested a copy from the good folks at Westland Books. I will say one thing not all buzz lives up to every reader’s expectations, sometimes you love the book just as the others and other times you all left wondering – did I miss the point! Everyone has a story is a book I did not 100% love but I also did not hate it. Read on to find out my thoughts on this hugely popular debut by a new author on the Indian fiction scene.
Title: Everyone has a Story
Author: Savi Sharma
Publisher: Westland Books
Published: August 2016
Format reviewed: paperback
City [s] set in: Pune
Time period: contemporary
Professions of main characters: Aspiring author, banker, café owner, student
Meera, a fledgling writer who is in search of a story that can touch millions of lives
Vivaan, assistant branch manager at Citibank, who dreams of travelling the world
Kabir, a café manager who desires something of his own
Nisha, the despondent café customer who keeps secrets of her own
Everyone has their own story, but what happens when these four lives are woven together? Pull up a chair in Kafe Kabir and watch them explore friendship and love, writing their own pages of life from the cosy café to the ends of the world.
The book is described as an inspirational romance. Now, I don’t know what exactly is that, there is inspiration in the story – Yes; there is also a tiny bit of romance so that must be why it’s an Inspirational Romance! If you know the correct literature definition of it, do comment and let me know. The story is based in my city i.e Pune so I will be a bit more defensive about tiny things like one of the street names being misspelled in the book – not done editing team 😦
To move on, the story is about 4 people or like I see it 2 couples who meet at a café and are attracted to each other. The lead couple is Vivaan and Meera and I see the other two characters thrown in as supporting cast. Vivaan is the quintessential young successful banker who instead of reveling in his success has other dreams and yearnings. All he wants to do instead of number crunching is to travel the world. He has always dreamed of it and his newly formed flirtatious relationship with Meera at the local café is what finally makes him catch a flight around the world leaving everything and everyone behind. He simply ups and leaves one day without informing anyone of his travel plans.
Meera is a aspiring writer and is constantly searching for a story to write which will not only make her successful but also change millions of lives. Her chance encounter with Vivaan at the café during an author event lands her the story she wants to write. She is also instantly attracted to him and even before becoming friends she expects this handsome stranger to reveal his deepest secrets and life story to her; which is exactly what she demands from him when they first sit down and get to know each other properly. Slowly they become close and Meera basically starts writing her interpretation of Vivaan’s life and ends up falling in love with him.
Then there is Kabir, the café owner who has his own story reflected in the pain in his eyes, which Vivaan gathers through his observation and prompts him to reveal it. While working in the café he falls in love with a customer, Nisha who used to find solace in the café where Kabir keeps bringing her coffee. Kabir sees the pain in her eyes and makes her forget her pain for a little while but when he confesses his love she storms off and doesn’t come back for a while.
Nisha, a student has an ugly painful secret and Kabir’s coffee is what keeps her from losing her mind and keeps her coming back to the café. Kabir’s confession of love for her only scares her further and she tells him about her pain.
Vivaan is a smart, intuitive character he spots people’s emotions easily which I expected from Meera, what with her searching for stories and being the writer. Vivaan has all the reasons to be wary of love but Meera takes offense in that, instead of being a little compassionate she gets upset with him. She made Vivaan’s disappearance sound like his a grave mistake he has made which was not. There is a point in the story where Vivaan regrets following his dream of seeing the world which put me off. Why was he made to feel guilty about going for it and seeing the world? His uninformed exit in the story is a bit wrong but then people have their reasons for such things, why make them feel guilty about following their lifelong dreams?
In the end it is the same travel and world wandering is what brings him back to Meera and makes him gives love a second chance, so I definitely see his traveling as necessary. Meera is a character I tried to like but did not warm up one bit; she was emotionally volatile and unappealing to me. Right at the start she expected a lot from Vivaan which I found silly. You just don’t meet someone, get attracted to them and demand or expect them to reveal their life to you. I mean think, unless the person is highly motivated or clouded by passion it’s a process of getting to know each other slowly. Meera disappointed me.
Kabir and Neesha were good support characters and their friendship with Vivaan and Meera was warm. The good parts of the story is it being concise and quick paced, less than 150 pages gives you a start, middle and finish, like an effective summarized version of 4 lives. I finished the book in less than 2 hours, so its gets points for being a crisp narrative. The lives of the characters comes a full circle which was narrated well but it lacked soul and depth for me. I can see the appeal and know there are readers who will enjoy the brevity and pace of the story. I wanted more soul in the characters, more of their personal quirks and lives involved but that’s how I like my stories to be.
The author has done a good job keeping in my mind the busy lives of people today and the little time they can dedicate to reading. I hope to see more from the author in the future perhaps with a bit more depth and soul.
About the Author
A simple girl from Surat, Savi Sharma is the co-founder of the motivational media blog Life and People. Everyone Has a Story is her debut novel inspired by stories around her. You can find out more about her on www.savisharma.com.
Reviewed by Bharti