There are many novels that we can safely push towards the young readers’ shelves. Many works or simply all the works by Durjoy Datta fall into the same basket. You Were My Crush… Till You Said You Love Me is Published by Penguin Metro Reads in the year 2011. Though there are some of the best crime thriller novelists in India who have written meaningful and exemplary literature recently, most of the contemporary authors are lacking that depth. The book moves to forty chapters and has been written in a first-person narrative, having a central plot and then various subplots. The writers from non-literary background have targeted the readers from all walks of life and especially those who are young, school and college-going audience who can have a soft-corner for romance. Despite love twists during college days, the novel also succeeds in pulling out the card of sympathy as it brings out the catastrophe of a family that has not been getting together until the death of the protagonist’s mother. Consequently, the suffering of Benoy (protagonist) as an orphan shows the loophole of contemporary Indian Society… Despite love affairs and its adjustment in the college culture, the novelist brings us close to the family affairs in the materialistic society bringing further isolation by breaking family ties.
Talking about the technicalities in the novel, a reader can easily guess that the prime audience that the novelist Durjoy Datta has targeted are youths, teenagers and maybe the young people in their early 20s. And therefore, a serious reader of fiction will find that the language has been loosely used in the novel without any regard for the literary expression as there is nothing that could be called literary except the bare fact that this title, You Were My First Crush… Till You Said You Love Me, is a novel. On the other hand, one can argue that since the novel has been written for the readers who are not so keen about the literature quotient but just for the reading pleasure, there is no need to keep the language standard high and literary. Well, in both the cases, at least, the language should be at par with the standard level – being below it is not good for the novel and the novelist has made that mistake. A reader who comes from English literature education background cannot find anything suitable in this novel but for the readers who have still not decided on what to choose in life, will find it wonderful.
Benoy Ray is a college student, a spoilt brat who usually drinks and has no keenness regarding his future. His mother dies of cancer leaving him almost parentless. He maintained a strained relationship with his father. He has one cousin, Debu, and one friend, Eshaan, who cares for Benoy a lot in the college affairs despite Benoy’s ignoring attitude. Benoy has lost faith in his life just after the death of his mother. His life takes a sudden turn when he meets Diya and falls in love with her sister Shaina. Now she is proving to be the healer of a prolonged wound in his life. Her presence brings a positive transformation and strained relationship with his father gets better. Shaina’s presence and her going away gives the book a twist that is something you readers may discover if you read it!
You Were My Crush… is a typical story of typical Indian nuclear families. I would like to suggest this novel to readers who are simply interested in stories of college life as well as about the consequences of a child without proper guardianship going out in the public. It also will be interesting for those readers who are curious to know the role of friends and girlfriends in socialization in the changing pattern of Indian society.
Though the novel does not exhibit any serious regard for the literary qualities, it may be read just for the sake of reading it. The novelist has not offered any serious and promising cause that may entice the readers who are not in the strict brackets – youths, teenagers or romantically inclined to the text. So, if you are going to read it, be mentally framed and prepared before you jump into the text which is a dry pond of literary qualities and a slippery slope with seductive writing. All the best!
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review by Ravi Kumar (expert in contemporary Indian English Literature)