Sunday, March 15, 2009

"Family Planning" and "One Night @ the Call Center"

Over a longish stretch we decided to read two very different books, for somewhat different reasons. Many thought that Family Planning looked promising, and the interest in One Night @ the Call Center was to see what all of the hubub in India was, being that this was such a bestseller for so long.
In a surprising turnabout, it seems that FP was less well received than ON@TCC, but this may be due to the expectations preceding each title. I think only Kate P. was an out and out supporter of FP. KP felt that the book was written excellently in the voice of teen boy(s), and found there were many laugh aloud moments throughout. Others felt that there was not enough plot, that the writing was immature to some extent. One readers (or group's) jejune writing is another reader's brilliant stylings, I guess. It might also bear noticing that many people did find it fun to read and very funny at many points, and it brought out one question in this reaser's mind- can humorous writing ever be taken as seriously as tragic or dramatic writing? It has been noted that the Oscar for best film has not ever been given to a comedy, for example, even though comedy is perhaps the most challenging form to work in, and so easy to fall flat.
Regarding the second title, Call Center, there was some discussion of the political or social content of the book, and regarding its popularity, what seems to be a tiny bit of soul searching per what is being bought and sold in India's "best and brightest". None of us went in expecting literary fiction at any rate, so this will sound overblown, but there were a few surprises nevertheless. It cannot be seriously recommended as a work to read, and there are moments where the telenovella style writing make it unintentionally funny.

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