Looking for Love?

December 4, 2014

Book Review - 178 : Play with me

Author : Ananth Padmanabhan
Publisher : Penguin India

If writing about sex was that easy, there would never have been bad sex awards in existence. Play with me by Ananth has right intentions to create an erotic novel, and mostly succeeds in creating those heavy duty sex scenes, but ultimately ruins it by concentrating only on sex and rarely on the feeling of these protagonists turning it marginally into a pornographic novel.

The book is about Sid, a successful photographer in a boutique ad agency. He is single and has everything he wants - a good job, great colleagues and a hassle-free life. But if there is one thing that has eluded him it is love. Until the gorgeous, free-spirited Cara walks into his life. Sexually obsessed, the two begin a charged affair that disrupts all his notions of love and transforms the way Sid thinks about erotic pleasure. But then something strange happens - Sid finds himself falling in love with another woman.

The biggest issue with the book is that it hardly a 'real' novel. Slowly, scene by scene, it turns into a fantasy novel because author hardly invests time in building some kind of connection between these characters. In the fantasy world of Sid, it is easy to have a threesome on beach in Goa and it is extremely easy to get laid on the first night out with a Turkish colleague. Problem you see, is in details - What makes Sid attractive to them? What circumstances or feelings bring them close? Why Sid prefers to have such a lifestyle? There are many questions and narrative offers very little answers. This is book written with amateur zeal and more to attract people with kinky stuff.

The pace is brisk and thankfully, it does not overstay than required. Cut into short, punchy chapters, it is decently structured and well edited. I personally enjoyed the moments of introspection in Sid's life when he is free of sex thoughts and more concerned on what he is doing with his life. The distinction in characters between the two ladies in Sid's life is more cosmetic than build into an organic flow. There are hardly twists and turns and the climax is deliberately kept open with loose ends, most probably to make a sequel out of it.

I am going with 2.5/5 for Play with me by Ananth. Enjoy the book like you enjoy porn. That is, without thinking too much. Because there is hardly anything of literal value here. Read at your own risk and keep your expectations extremely low.

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