Author: Swati Kaushal
Publication: Penguin India
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Minal sharma, MBA. Five foot ten. 29-year-old with a hyperactive conscience and a ton of attitude. Minal wants it all- a successful career at International Foods, a lifestyle to match and a 'totally' cool guy who'll buy her diamonds, bring her flowers and laugh at her jokes. But given the unending record of her life's embarrassment it's not going to be that simple. Especially when her mother's decided to take charge of the matrimonial front and the choice Minal has to make is between a wild and sexy radio jockey and a brilliant but boring oncologist. And it doesn't help that her new colleague on a make-or-break 'Cakes' assignment is a nasty, grudge-bearing kid from her childhood who just might be out to sabotage her career.
You know, the basic problem i find with these chic-lit (or stud-lit) novels in the Indian fiction these days is that there is too much of 'coolness' shoven down our throats without either being funny or sensical. The tone and build up in this book is OK, it does reach a high point but after that it just falls apart because there is very less happening and too much blabbering. It is painfully dull in parts and fails to engage the readers. And on top of that, it is just not entertaining enough to forget all its flaws and turn it into a time pass reading.
There are some serious loopholes in the narrative, explanations of which i have found extremely impossible to understand. How on this world will you explain Minal taking responsibility of a work-related disaster without even cross verifying the details with the Radio Jockey she is attracted to, who incidentally is doubted to be the reason behind the goof-up? Not only this, she takes a demotion and move into sales department in a rural region. Let me be frank, no one is a saint these days in the corporate world. I can still understand owning up to your mistake if you are the guilty party but when you are not sure yourself, how can you take THAT plunge? How can she not bother to talk to the RJ even once and clarify the misconception in her professional life? why she can't go around and talk to a person who lives 2 floors below her own flat, and so what if he is out of town for couple of days...it's your bloody career after all !!
It's even difficult to fathom all these corporate blunders from the author, who is an IIM graduate and have previously worked with Big MNC's. It's a pity because even though the boardroom scenes are well written, the narrative just falls apart when the professional and personal lives of the protagonist collide, mainly due to convenient ways of resolving conflicts.
How can you explain Minal not even showing an iota of interest in RJ's life even when she has dumped the oncologist and ultimately falls for a simpleton working in the same company (by the last chapter). And where the hell her mom disappears every time... after suggesting a man for her, it appears her sole motivation is limited to just come for half a chapter and propose a groom for marriage.I even found myself second guessing the dialogues before hand at certain sub plots, they are THAT predictable and superficial.
There is one genuinely funny chapter in which she deliberately sets fire alarm of her own flat on coming to know how a perspective groom sent by her mother is actually giving her marks on every "asset" of being a wife. Even the scene in the charity function, even though misplaced in the narrative is well written and oozes warmth and affection. The tone of the book is light but it never picks up and has a flat feel to it. At 364 pages, it is about 100 pages too long and leaves you exhausted by the time you reach end of it. And if you are a reader of my kind, who generally finishes a book in 1-2 sitting(s), you are doomed.
I am going with 1.5/5 for Swati Kaushal's debut novel, Piece of Cake. Read it if you are in the mood over going a mindless ruminations of a "successful" professional girl seeking companionship at the wrong side of the 20's. It's an exercise in excess, with some tight editing it could have been a better read than in it's current form. In the end, the feel good moments are few and far between in what is ultimately a slow, silly book. The sweetness in this cake is missing!