I have been reading a lot of non-fiction lately. While I love delving into the world of inspiration and awakening, these books often leave me feeling exhausted and craving for light reads in between.
With experience, I’ve learnt to avoid reading breaks by picking up books that are relatively short reads to prevent interruption of my reading mojo.
One of them is the Letters to My Ex by Nikita Singh.
I first spotted the book on Twitter and was immediately drawn by its catchy title and beautiful cover. The blurb on the book doesn’t help much because it barely shares a quote and a hint that it is the story of a heartbreak and things left unsaid.
Another reason why picked this book was that, having suffered a heartache, I was confident, I’d be able to feel a connection with the protagonist. In my pursuit of re-learning to enjoy romantic fiction, I laid my hands on this rather short, 144-page book.
The book has a gorgeous cover and as the title hints, it is written in the letter writing format (for the most part). Divided into 12 chapters titled after the months of the year. This is the story of a young girl, Nidhi, in her early twenties. Nidhi is heartbroken after being madly in love for years because she chose to walk away on her engagement day for no concrete reason.
In her quest to gain an understanding of what had pushed her to make this devastating move, she chooses to pen down letters to her ex with no intention to ever post these letters.
As the premise of the book became clear in the initial few pages, I was prepared to go down the rabbit hole of confusion, self-pity and thoughts that aimed at idealization of the protagonist’s ex because I too have been down that road not very long ago.
“As much as I’d like to move on, I can’t feel anything about anyone, even if I tried. I don’t know if I ever will. When I try to imagine a time where I would be able to place all of my faith in another human being, and trust them with everything I have, I simply cannot see it happening again.
I gave you everything I had, every piece of me was yours, but you didn’t want it. It seemed like you did, you know, when you told me a thousand times that you loved me, and wanted to build a life with me and couldn’t imagine living without me. When we fought everyone and everything that came in our way in order to be together, but then, it turned out that you didn’t actually want any of that.”
However, my preparedness didn’t come to any use because the book fell short in keeping me engaged for long with its uninspiring prose.
The good editing and reader-friendly font helped hasten the pace of reading. Tough the poor narration and repetitive, self-loathing and lack of in-depth evaluation of the feelings that are the characteristic of a depressed mind, made this book come across as a rather hasty, superficial, unplanned piece of writing.
My biggest criticism is that the book doesn’t follow the promised pattern of saying it all in form of letters. The book failed to impress by the over-use of clichés and allowing no room for the characters to grow. The book moves at a swift pace in the first half but falls flat in the latter half when the events and character traits of the protagonist appear to be forced to suit the plot.
The unrealistic turn of events and leaving out the hurt families add to the dullness of the plot that fails primarily due to poor execution.
The expectation hype built by the promise of letters painted in shades of a bleeding heart only added to the feeling of being a letdown, both during and after reading the book.
The book would have benefitted by avoiding the letter format and steering clear of a predictable ending.
I’d like to summarise by quoting the author from a chapter in the latter part of the book:
“However, the reality of the situation is that this…checklist doesn’t make me happy. I appreciate all of these, yes. I understand that it may be more than what most people can hope for, which makes me ungrateful, but I can’t shake this feeling that I am living in someone else’s skin. I’m playing a character, living someone else’s life. It’s a very unsettling sensation.”
About the Book:
Title – Letters to My Ex
Author –Nikita Singh
Publisher – Harper Collins Publishers India
Genre – Fiction
ISBN – 978-9-3527-7658-0
Pages – 144
Price – INR 199
About the Author:
Nikita Singh is the bestselling author of ten novels, including Every Time It Rains and Like a Love Song. She is also a contributing writer to The Backbenchers series and the editor of two collections of short stories, 25 Strokes of Kindness and The Turning Point. Born in Patna and raised in Indore, Nikita worked in the book publishing industry in New Delhi for a few years before moving to New York for her MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction) at The New School. Nikita lives in Manhattan, where she does digital content and marketing for a solar energy company.
Head here for more book reviews and guidelines for reviewing books on my blog.
Love my pictures? Follow me on Instagram
P.S: Have you subscribed to The Era I Lived In PLUS newsletter?
Know all about it in the Newsletter FAQs and make an informed decision to be a part of the growing community of readers!