Cheap content, cheap jacket, cheap printing.
Cheap on the inside and cheap on the outside, that’s Five Point Someone for you.
Cheap in everything except the price ($14.95 for our copy of this junk at Amazon).
Five Point Someone is the kind of quickie trash that opportunistic hacks routinely churn out in fond hopes of making a fast buck on a passing or lasting fad.
In this case, the lasting fad happens to be the Indian obsession with IIT, short for the prestigious engineering school Indian Institute of Technology (of which there are 15 now).
For over four decades, Indian high school students in the north and south, east and west have considered admission into the portals of one of the IITs as the the ne plus ultra of their school years and the ultimate passport to success in life.
Ask any literate Indian and he’ll tell you that admission into IIT is synonymous with good prospects – A good job, a good salary and even a good marriage to a pretty/rich girl!
Is it any surprise then that hundreds of thousands sit for the IIT exam each year but barely a few thousand manage to get in.
Over the last 50 years, the government of India has pumped millions of dollars into the various IITs but these elite engineering colleges have little to show for in terms of applied research, major scientific breakthroughs or Nobels.
And yes, significant chunks of graduates from the different IITs have turned their back on India and headed West in their urgent quest for mucho dollars.
It’s against this background (obvious to most desis but not to foreigners) that one reads Five Point Someone.
Five Point Someone traces the lives of three IIT Delhi boys – Hari Kumar (also the narrator), Ryan Oberoi and Alok Gupta – from the time they get into the engineering school, the early ragging days, their friendship and all the way through graduation four years later.
Unlike the overwhelming majority IITians who are given to endless hours of cramming in pursuit of the holy grail of a high grade point average, the troika is indifferent to academic work, laze around, watch movies, blame the system, play squash or spend time frollicking in ice-cream parlors with their girlfriends.
So what do you think happens?
The inevitable. They score low GPAs in their exams and stand at the bottom of their Mechanical Engineering class.
Well, the shit hits the fan in the final year when the desperate boys try something stupid.
Folks, that in a nutshell is the not-gripping story of Five Point Someone.
We found the story drab and often implausible. The principal characters lack depth, appear listless and never once jump off the page.
There are no great twists in the plot. Nothing you don’t see coming.
Author Chetan Bhagat’s writing style is for the most part uninspired and dull. As sophomoric as the three youths he writes about.
Except on a few stray pages, there’s not much humor in the story either though the author seems to make a desperate stab at it in the voice of the narrator Hari. Some of the characters and situations are stereotypes – the friendly professor, the stern professor, the bad hostel food et al.
Worse, the author can’t even bring himself to avoid the happy ending, so beloved of all Indians even if it seldom happens in real life.
And this happy ending comes in the face of eggregious misconduct by the three friends, a reprehensible act that would surely result in explusion in any college on the planet.
Except in this book.
Folks, if you haven’t read this 267-page book all we can say is that your time is well-spent avoiding such junk.
Similar but Better
A few decades back, we picked up Erich Segal’s The Class, which tracks the lives of five students from the time they are admitted into Harvard and for several decades afterwards.
Now that’s a good read.
Just in case you are one of those rare dodos unfamiliar with Erich Segal, he’s the author of Love Story.
Remember the famous line Love means never having to say you’re sorry?
Bet you schmucks don’t.
Well, that line is from Love Story.
Sad but True
True to form, Bollywood, that quintessence of all things second-rate, has made a film (Three Idiots) based on this mediocre shit Five Point Someone.
The movie features a bunch of 40-something clowns playing young engineering students.
Given the book is so crappy, we expect the movie will be no different.