Thursday, May 7, 2015

Lemon Girl by Jyoti Arora

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Disclaimer: This review has not been commissioned by the Author even though I wish it was :D But Amazon! You have killed my profession.

I had completed Lemon Girl a week ago but was putting off from writing a review as I was not able to decide whether I associated with the character of Nirvi or not. I am a feminist and every female protagonist should stand up for herself, fight her battles and come out as a stronger person. Nirvi is not a black-and-white character where I can say that yes I like this about her and this is how I relate to her. She in fact reminded me a lot of Moll Flanders by Daphne du Maurier and then it striked  me- is this the reaon why I found Nirvi so different. Like Moll, Nirvi is a survivor too. The methods used by her cannot be understood and liked by many of us but that does not mean she's not a survivor. So when I could connect with her, this story opened up for me.

Lemon Girl by Jyoti Arora has all the complexities of love. Desire, want, lust, wanting the forbidden fruit and heartbreak. It's a story about a girl, Nirvi who started out as a simple girl, living with her parents in a protected environment. And then Jyoti hits us with a very poignant question, "how safe are we behind the closed doors of our home?" That unnerved me. That relationship is too close, too pious. But that does not mean we can live as ostriches burying our head in the sand. Jyoti has not overplayed on what had changed in Nirvi's life. But with a subtlety, she has drawn the gory picture of how relationships can change in the blink of an eye. It was very scary moment for me.

From that point of time, Nirvi is looking  for closures. Did she find it in the series of men she stayed with? The most prominent question would be why did she choose this path? Victim's guilt? Survival? At this point of time when Arsh enters her life she is no more the Lemon Girl he had met in the market a few years back. This not only intrigues Arsh but also me as a reader. What had happened in Nirvi's life that changed her so much? As I travel along with Arsh to understand the situation many things come in front of me which makes me question Nirvi's character. The feminist in me revolted and the woman in me understood. Conflicting emotions.

Another character which I particularly liked was that of Tiya. Strong, fighter and standing up for friendship. Her relationship with Arsh would have blossomed into something exquisite had not Arsh obsessed after another woman. I understood Arsh's conflicts but I could not understand why Nirvi would latch up to men when she had so much talent of her own? Why did she not believe in herself? Did her past shape up her character? Should she not  have hated men instead of going after them? These are the various questions that went on playing in my mind as I turned the last page of the book.

Complexities in the Characters:

I found the complexities of the characters very interesting. This is not a linear storytelling where you are rooting for the main character. She is very complex.Till the end I did not know whether I should sympathise with  Nirvi or not. Thankfully she had one saving grace which came out well at the end of the story.

A message to all the parents.

I want to use my this review as a platform to ask all parents to listen to the child. Do not play the blame game. Would Nirvi had a different life if her mother had listened to her? Would a life not been lost, if there was parental guidance? Why are we are quick to criticise, to judge and forget that in between black and white there exists a shade of grey.


Nirvi could have been stronger. She always seems to create a bad situation for herself and then run away. I found Sam snooty but his character was not bad enough for me to accept the fact how Nirvi treated him. What is stopping Nirvi from walking out at any point of time? Sam dispassionate enough not to fight for his love. To portray Nirvi as the victim, the other characters around her should have been villainous enough. This diluted the conflict in the story by small margin.

"She leaned towards Sam, crossed her arms around his neck, ending her words with an emphatic kiss. As her lips touched his, her eyes turned to look at me."
There are moments when I just was about to sympathise with Nirvi, she was introduced to us as-

"And then my mother found me a nice guy. Nice guy for a girl she herself had blamed for wanting in all that was nice and decent. Nice guy for a girl who aimed at dating every guy of her acquaintance. Nice guy for a girl whose favourite challenge had been to steal the love of her own best friend.Well, he indeed was a nice guy. Your lemon girl might have found him a dream. But Nirvi didn't."

Would you recommend this book?

This is not a  one time read. It has many shades which might make you love or hate a character at different points of time. Questions will arise which makes you ponder about the story. But a must read for those who love drama. 

Line that stayed with me:

"When it's time for you to fall in love, even a lemon can become the cause of it. In my case, there where a full dozen of them."

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At May 8, 2015 at 12:14 PM , Blogger jy0tiar0ra said...

Hi,Rubina, thanks so much for the review! I'm delighted to know you found so much depth and food for thought in my book Thank you :)
You know, my experience as a writer so far has been that once I create a character, I have to guide it only for the initial steps. After that, the characters take up a life of themselves and make their own decisions.
Honestly speaking, it took me a long time too to fully understand Nirvi.
Nirvi is someone who has been told to be control her voice and be submissive. She does so. She becomes 'quietly submissive'/ But her spirit is rebellious. And even if unconsciously, she rebels against the oppression by 'quietly submitting' even to the men who only want to use her. I think, this is her revenge. She disobeys by obeying.

At May 8, 2015 at 12:53 PM , Blogger The Book Club said...

Thanks for dropping by Jyoti. Hope to read more from you in the future. Nirvi is a character who made me think a lot and she will remain with me for a long time. And Happy Birthday.. Have a very blessed and prosperous year ahead.

At May 8, 2015 at 11:14 PM , Blogger Sundari Venkatraman said...

Lovely and detailed review as usual Rubina. Enjoyed reading it. Not sure about the book though. I don't read this genre. Maybe sometime in the future when my tastes change... :) Your review is riveting and just might change my mind for me

At May 9, 2015 at 12:27 AM , Blogger The Book Club said...

Thank you Sundari :) I liked the book. Its truely different however cliche that sounds. The POV went back and forth between the protag so it was quite well paced.

At May 10, 2015 at 9:40 AM , Blogger Swathi Shenoy said...

Such a detailed review this was Rubina! Yes, I do agree with you. I wished Nirvi was stronger. I wished Lemon Girl would come back soon and take control of the situation. But I did like the novel. The concept was different and I enjoyed reading it :)

At May 10, 2015 at 11:43 AM , Blogger jy0tiar0ra said...

Thank you, Swathi :)


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