The first thing you notice about the book is the spelling of centre. Its the American spelling, reflecting what the book is about.
Spoiler Alert! I may give out any juicy details about the book. An excerpt from the story can be found on Chetan Bhagat’s website.
1. One dimensional stereotyped characters.
From the under-performer Shyam, to the aspiring model Esha, to Priyanka looking for security in life, all the characters are one dimensional. This is probably because Bhagat doesn’t want to complicate his characters too much and lose focus.
2. The so called informal language used.
Bhagat’s amateurish writing comes out clearly right through the book. He doesn’t use abbreviations consistently and oscillates between formal and informal lingo every other page. It makes the whole experience very jarring.
3. The improbable sequence of events.
For all the build-up about a book based on heavy research, the sequence of events and the climax in particular (the call center is saved from huge job cuts by a resourceful employee) are improbable and hard to digest. It cannot be called fiction. Fantasy would be a better word.
The only character I liked in the whole book was Vroom. Right from the pursuit of material happiness to the idealist dialogue he spouts towards the end, I see some of myself in him. That, I feel, is the success of the book. It shows one angle of the call center story and shows it well.
Some lines I liked from the book (mouthed by Vroom)
‘Yes, this salary has hooked me. Every night I come here and let people fuck me,’ Vroom said and picked up the telephone headset. ‘The Americans fuck me with this, in my ears, hundreds of times a night, every night. Bakshi fucks me with his management theories, backstabbing and threats to fire us. And the funny thing is, I let them do it. For money, for security – I let them do it. Come fuck me some more.’
On the whole, a good read. If you have ever spent time at a call center, you will know what Chetan Bhagat is trying to say.