Friday, 25 July 2014

Book Review: A Deliberate Sinner

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Bhaavna Arora’s The Deliberate Sinner is her debut novel and I had much expectation from the book. With a cover that catches your attention instantaneously (also responsible for increasing my expectation quotient) and a prologue that seems both promising and emotional Bhaavna Arora does assure that her story clinches your attention. But the plot and the protagonist, Rihana Bajwa, unfailingly disappointed me at every turn in the book.

Rihana Bajwa, described as the so called smart, educated progressive Indian woman (to top that she is ‘ravishingly beautiful’ too), seems more prone to falling victim to her mother’s emotional drama than standing up for herself. She meets Veer on a trip to Thailand and agrees to marry him after he proves his prowess in the swimming pool doing a hundred laps at one go (yes that’s downright ridiculous). After a point she starts questioning her own decision and falls in love with her best friend Raj (the typical hero supposed to be her saviour). A steamy one night stand and a few love-struck moments later Raj develops cold feet and ditches Rihana who puts the incident behind her in hopes of a better future with Veer.

  Soon Rihana finds Veer unresponsive to her emotional and physical needs. Their tumultuous marriage further deteriorates when Rihana finds out about Veer’s affair. She again succumbs to social pressure (her independent personality hardly finds expression anywhere in the book) and agrees to give Veer a second chance. Veer (the perfect jerk from every aspect) rapes Rihana in hopes of getting her pregnant and all Rihana does is cry and whine over the phone.

Rihana Bajwa is the perfect damsel in distress who stands up for herself only towards the end of the book. Yes, Bhaavna Arora does try her hands at a bold book written to question the society as a whole and unabashedly explores the female sexuality, yet I expect more delicacy from a writer out to handle such a delicate issue. I was finding it immensely hard to sympathise with Rihana. What woman agrees to marry a man whom she had hardly known for a few months at most? Why does an independent and progressive woman like Rihana find excuses to stay in a marriage after she gets raped by her husband? And was the act she staged with her friend Avinash (Veer finds her making out with him) really necessary to break off the marriage? I mean didn’t she have reasons enough already?

Sadly, though the content is full of potential, the writer handles it messily. If you have a couple of hours to spare, you may want to read it. But read it without any expectation. Most importantly, do not expect to connect with Rihana for she is a weak protagonist, a protagonist who shall disappear from the recesses of your memory after you have finished the book. I look forward to stronger protagonists from the writer in the future.

Verdict: If you are willing to risk it!
Rating: 1.7/5

(To know more about the author Bhaavna Arora visit

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  1. Ugh.. I hated the entire thing... a sheer waste of three hours of my life. So much for an alluring cover and a promising blurb!


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