It is the Valentine month and for once I was absolutely sure about who I wanted to read. I already had the book and a huge plus, the author’s birthday was on 1st February.
I guess that’s the side effect of the 2019 Reading Challenge– checking the writer’s birthday before glancing inside the book.
Anyway, say hello to Meggin Cabot also known as Meg Cabot of ‘The Princess Diaries’ fame. I remember reading one of the Diaries long before the movie came out. Wham! I was an instant fan. I loved her easy – breezy writing, tons of pop culture reference that I immediately understood and some very quirky but relatable characters.
So you can imagine the relish with which I attacked this particular novel, enticingly named ‘The Boy Next Door’. I mean the possibilities were immense- the book could go from a serial killer next door to true love. Either way, I was in for a treat.
Let’s begin with the good stuff.
It was a quick read as expected. The breezy writing helped, especially for those suffering from a diminishing attention span, like yours truly.
The theme was primarily love.
A dashing Prince Charming is arm twisted into masquerading as him, the friend with questionable morals. He moves in next door to our feisty heroine, a gossip columnist with a heart of gold. Cupid strikes over Chinese food, walking a Great Dane, discussing mind melding stuff such as weather disasters.
I say, this was a plot straight out of a Bollywood rom-com.
You see, Prince Charming is not only drop dead gorgeous with the chops to be a fabulous crime reporter, which he is, he was also from a royal rich family.
The heroine on the other hand grew on a farm, is pretty and spunky with a strong moral code, caring enough to jeopardise her job to look after the neighbour’s menagerie of pets.
This is the original neighbour, she is in a coma after being thumped by suspected transvestite killers. She leaves two cats and one Great Dane behind to be cared for.
Seriously, I’m not making this up, it is all there in the book!
A major chunk of the book is devoted to the heroine’s massive support group made up of a best friend, the best friend’s fiancé, well meaning as well as catty colleagues, a suffering yet patient boss and a set of clueless parents. The hero has his family of brother, sister in law, grandmother and the arm twisting characterless friend to fall back on.
Now for the most astounding part of this tale- it is a story told via e-mails.
That’s it! Apparently everybody texts, conversations are through emails and we are privy to all of them.
Truth be told, it does get tedious reading all that mail after a while. Yet that isn’t what casts a shadow on this otherwise cheerful tale.
It was the grand identity reveal of “Who conked the neighbour into a coma?” This was a plot twist we could do without. Well, it weren’t the transvestite killers although heaven knows why have them around in the first place.
Hint– keep your friends close, your enemies closer and the black sheep of the family closest so that you can dodge the deadly blows.
Nonetheless, love rekindles over a police raid to catch the coma inducing culprit and the heroine forgives the prince for keeping his royal identity a secret.
The plot is saved before it is completely lost and everyone lives happily ever after.
Too sweet right? I guess true love wins all!
Now that begs a question, what are you reading in this season of love/ spring ? Light and frothy or deep and thought provoking, better still a mix of the two?
Spread the word, share away.