A disappointment

Stilettos in the Newsroom by Rashmi Kumar.   | Photo Credit: scanned in chennai

I'm not one to judge a book by its cover but when the author's name is spelt out in Jokerman (a font that reads well only on a cute seventh grader's powerpoint presentation on “What I did during my summer vacation”) and a cover design that is poor at best with shiny red patent pumps that are so 1990 I couldn't help but cringe. The book was walking a dangerous ‘not serious, not fashion-wise' plank right from the cover.

Superficial characters

Rashmi Kumar's Stilettos in the Newsroom has a premise with a lot of potential. Radhika Kanetkar is the beautiful and bubbly female protagonist whose struggle through life and love we follow. Or so the author would like you to think. To put it honestly Radhika comes across as a girl who has neither knowledge nor ambition to learn about good journalism, but is a journalist purely for the glamour associated with it and gets ahead by having affairs in the workplace. Even half-decent writing and a passable plot could have coaxed a delightful vixen out of this character but the author with her limited writing skills makes the character out to be a flimsy, average at best and sadly deluded girl with the character definition of a housefly. I've worked in a newsroom and there are so many wonderful ways to put across to the reader how an editor will ridicule your story, stamp upon it unapologetically and then unwillingly console you when you have a crying fit.

Bad writing

None of the promised insider's insight is provided in this book that is burdened with clichés and ridiculously bad grammar. The author right in the first line of the preface says “To say I can write — I don't know yet.” The fact that she's started the book with such a wonderfully profound and grammatically sound line will give you a peek into her writing skills. Ellipsis are meant to be used sparingly, oh so sparingly. In fact, every author should put a ten buck note into a sort of “Fine for using an ellipsis” piggybank every time he/she uses one. This book averages three ellipses a page with absolutely no regard for sentence formation and the author and editor seem unacquainted with the very basic rules of grammar.

Adjectives are used in such an illogical manner that one has to read a sentence twice to try and make some sense out of it before concluding that this is just a badly edited and badly written book. This is not even remotely good chicklit. Sample this. “A shade of light green on the salwar and dupatta were impeccable.” It's not an easy breezy read even since the book is burdened with too many characters with very little character to distinguish them.

I wanted to like this book Rashmi, I honestly did, but there's not one redeeming factor about your book. You've mentioned in your preface that you don't know if you're a writer. If a writer is defined as one who writes, you are. Any definition stricter than that honey, and you wouldn't qualify, I'm sorry.

Title: Stilettos in the newsroom

Author: Rashmi Kumar

Publisher: Rupa & Co.

Price: Rs. 95

SHILPA RATHNAM, V Year, M.Sc. Electronic Media, Anna University

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2021 3:22:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/nxg/A-disappointment/article16364694.ece

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