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Book review: 'Who Am I' - a debut novel by Sumit Karn
Since copy-editing is a major flaw with the book, one can argue that there is a need that better publishers are accessible to young writers like Karn and help them realise their dreams perfectly. After all, writing a 135-page book isn't an overnight job; it takes lot of hard-work and perseverance to complete it.

AT A time when most of us have the attention span of a child, Sumit Karn, a 24-year-old design graduate is a person who pursued his dream of writing a book and finished it too - a pat on his back. The book written about a protagonist on the verge of growing up is definitely inspired by none other than our very own Chetan Bhagat. The story and the various problems that the protagonist faces seem similar to that of a Chetan Bhagat hero.

Applauding Karn's efforts one cannot but point out the obvious flaws and the loopholes in the book, 'Who Am I...' Being a first time author, he is entitled to make mistakes and grow as a writer but it seems that the published copy has not seen the desk of a copy-editor. With gross grammatical errors and big words garnished on sentences like dhaniya on pasta (which is not needed), most of the times the reader feels bored because of the tedious nature of storytelling.

The author needs to get well versed with EM Forster's 'Aspect of Storytelling', which tells us how important it is to formulate a plot so that readers are forced to think, 'what happens next'? In the absence of such narrative, one  feels like reading a diary about a person who, like thousands others, wants to do something big in life, but for the circumstances that take him in a different direction.

The debut novel lacks a proper storyline other than the struggle of the protagonist, who is pursuing an engineering degree, but wants to become a model. This could have been a good topic, but lack of sub-plots like struggle, identity crisis and various battles that a person fights everyday with himself, make the overall plot look flimsy.

While people love reading about love affairs (mostly ones gone wrong), sex and deception; the author has very rightly added to the storyline his infatuation with a girl. This aspect, again draws inspiration from Chetan Bhagat, who excels in such topics, but with forceful one-liners and better language. Although Karn has tried to make a good attempt by adding this aspect, but absence of strong English words, has again failed to make the storyline more captivating.

The loo jokes and the disgusting scenarios, which are the realities of our life, are best left alone in life and not included in a book. Also, referring to woman's body parts as 'assets' may bring smile on the faces of some readers (mostly men), women could generally take offense to such terms. Besides describing women as 'weaker sex' doesn't fit in today's scenario when you have women working beside men in every sphere of life, be it politics, sports and technology etc.

Since copy-editing is a major flaw with the book, one can argue that there is a need that better publishers are accessible to young writers like Karn and help them realise their dreams perfectly. After all, writing a 135-page book isn't an overnight job; it takes lot of hard-work and perseverance to complete it.

While reading the book was not a pleasurable experience for the reasons already given, but yet I felt the need to get in touch with the author before publishing the review. While speaking to him over the phone, Karn explained the obvious - 'it was not easy to find a publisher and current publisher didn't find it necessary to run the manuscript through the copy-editor, which explains the errors.'

While I certainly don't score the book high on your reading list, I welcome a budding writer on the block and commend his efforts to at least take up the pen and finish the copy.

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