This was a wonderful space to hang out in and share our thoughts! But now we've all moved on and simply left our memories behind :-) ...

Monday, July 9, 2007

Book Review : Above Average (Sam)

Hello people..... I am taking over the book review for this month from Mala.

This particular book would appeal to all I believe, especially the engineers out there.. for their life is impeccably reflected in there.... Nostalgia.................

Enough said... over to the book!!


One glance at this book and I groaned, "Oh no!! Not another IITian penning down life at IIT. Chetan Bhagat was good but can't stomach the same stuff so many times." I looked at Mann, who had asked me to check it out, promising that it was a good one. Now, funnily enough I still went ahead and bought the book... may be because the one element that stood out there was Rock Music which is close to my heart. That was 27th June, 2007.

Today as I write about this book, I must say Amitabha Bagchi is not Chetan Bhagat. No.... they are different. The book Above Average is in so many ways the story of many a lives since say the mid 1990s.

The book is about an IITian, his dreams that were built during his life in there, how they fructified to some sort of a conclusion, how the entire friend group stayed in touch, where things went, how the undercurrents can spoil some good things, how life of an engineer shapes up!! Everything that happened around him made him sit up and take stock of facts. Life at IIT is not easy.... Life in it's full glory is a beauty not meant for the faint-hearted.

To identify with the story, the plot.... one need not be from IIT, or an engineer for that matter (though for this breed it's a life they know, they have seen, they are living!!)...... one just needs to be human. In fact, should one lok closely at it, just about every moment is being relived by loads of individuals be it some Dinesh from Stephen's Delhi, Arnab from Presidency Kolkata, Neha from Pune University, Diya from Sydenham Mumbai.... It's not the story about being an IITian.... it's about being a student, of dreaming, aspiring and..... living!!

The downside of this book, is perhaps the strange disconnected manner it might seem to proceed..... often one would be shuttling across time frames.... to the author's credit, the thread was still there.... one just needs to be really into the story to keep hold of it. Again, the pace is very relaxed... so take it up on a lazy Sunday afternoon. And what with the monsoon being in full swing (if not now, soon it would be), this might just help you pass by that weekend, with your favourite brew for company.

Happy Reading!!

After going through the book, I surmised the following:

Life was never fair........... But then they never said it would be unfair. To understand it and grow up is what constitutes the greatest of challenge... the most important education. For some it's at IIT.......... And for you??

P.S. This was my first attempt.. so please be extrememly critical in your comments
I have edited the post with due respect to the author's comments. To get the plot...... read the book :D


  1. Hi Sam,

    I liked your review of my book. It's obviously resonated with you and made you think. I have one problem with your review though: you've given out a lot of plot details which will spoil the suspense for other readers. I would be really grateful if you can edit your post to eliminate those.

    Thanks for writing about my book.


  2. my my ...! how about that sam.. the author himself and that too the very first comment :)

    that builds up my curiosity all the more..

    Plus the fact that my dad was an IITian...(second batch of IIT KGP and he never tires of telling me abt his days @ IIT...hmmm!)

    Thanks for the review and for putting it up earlier than scheduled :)

  3. sam,
    thanks for introducing a new book. but as amitabha says i didnt read that particular paragraph where u mention the plot cos the first few lines hinted that ur going into the very details. hence i skipped n went to the next para.
    looking fwd to read this book.thanks once again.

  4. Good one Sam!

    Altho it wud be better if u dun go into too much detail of the story...leave some for the readers to find out. And ur concluding lines sort of give us the whole picture of it...that too can be left for the reader to find out.

    Otherwise a great review I must say. Well-done!


  5. seems like an interesting read,,,will try to get a copy of the same. commercial success?

  6. Alright now, first things first.... I am really jumping up and down now!! Never expected Amitabha to land up here.... Who told him?? :)

    Now, I went through the review after teh comments and I must agree way too much has been said about the plot!! And that's bad.... to honour the author's wishes, I shall edit the post now!!

  7. @Amitabha: Thanks a lot for giving your views on this review... it really matters a lot!! :D

    @Ishi: ah!! well.... I told you, I had a few in the pipeline.... :)

    @Diya: Thanks for the appreciation..... Check it once again and lemme know, if that's ok!!

    @Keshi: hey girl... loadsa thanks to ya!! :) Implementing your suggestion!!

    @Raj: Aw c'mon!! wot's so intellectual about this??

    @Mala: Do get it!! By the way, commercial success????

  8. hi5 on this review to u namesake...i mean really the author himself commntd on this one...gr8 job.. :)

    newyz the reviews gr8...i read bth ur versions...but i guess the old one was bettr for me..

    then again i guess mr bagchi is ryt...

    hmm uv hit yet anuthr bullz eye namesake!! ;)

  9. sam,
    very well done.this time i read it fully , n its gr8!! n wow man. the author himself landing on our site n comenting on ur review.. wow wat more need u to achieve from a book review??cool

  10. @aashi: lol.. u never tire of praising me do you?? thnx again ma'am!!

    @diya: sock me next time i don't listen to my hunches!! i knew i was gng wrong wid dat part.. and well... it turned out to be so in the end!! good learning experience!!

    btw, am still a lil in a daze.. and can't figure out how amitabha bagchi landed here?? however he did... i don't care i guess... just keep visiting sir!! it wud be great!!

  11. wow!!!!i need to get one copy of it!!n sumu great going!!!

  12. now i got teh best reason to prance around... :D

  13. Hi Sam,

    Thanks for editing out the plot details, I appreciate it. I found your blog entry through a google alert I have set up which lets me know when people post about the book. This connected world we live in ...

    It's been great for me to see a lot of people talking about the book on their blogs. In a different era an author would just sit around wondering what people are thinking about the book, what they are saying about it. But in the era of blogs, the conversation can go on in both directions. Which is great.


    PS: I excerpted your review on my site and linked here.

  14. Hi Amitabha,

    I really appreciate your coming around and checking on what I have written about teh book. To be honest, I personally feel I haven't done justice... There were somany things that the book made me go through.. so many corners my mind travelled to.. if only I could record my thoughts!! Als!! It is not to be so..
    I am indeed, very much honoured that you have excerpted my review on your site (I hope it's no longer a plot spoiler). I have seen the others too.... excellent ones....

    A real story told in the grab of fiction!! Now, that's "above average"!! :)

    Thanks and regards

  15. Good review Sam. Noted the book for reading.
    I felt you have told much about the plot.. should have left something for the readers to guess... otherwise a good work.

    Looking fwd to some more. ;)

  16. i think i can empathize that wen i saw the book i was like...not another iit story...but i had to read it bcoz i knew i cud relate to it...and ya the rock part was definitely an added attraction :) liked your take on the book...very personal...i wish i cud be critical but i actually liked it:)

  17. Hey Sam.....
    I wudnt say nethng nw just dat i wnt to read dis book n wil my allow my commnts to flow out after i accomplish readin it n i might as wel drop a hint tht i guess u did deservingly good first attempt to write an review n herez wishng u keep gettin flooded more such review offers:D way 2 go buddy.welldone!

  18. @cuckoo: am so glad u liked it.. though i'll try to be more proper next time!! :)

    @neha: you've read it?? like wow!! this is so cool.... and thanx so much for the praise!!

    @keshi: lol... thnx!!

    @mads: hey thnx mads.. get over wid ur exams soon enuf girl!!