My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
My So-Called Bollywood Life follows a girl named Winnie who adores Bollywood movies and wants to be a film critic. Her whole life, Winnie has been told that she would meet her future soulmate by her 18th birthday, his name would begin with an ‘R’ and he would give her a silver bracelet. Alas, the stars do not seem to be cooperating and this story follows her as she struggles with the power of choice versus destiny.
I loved the idea of this book, although I never fully connected with the execution of it. It was cute to have Winnie ‘review’ various Bollywood movies at the beginning of each chapter, but they ended up being relatively vague one-liners that did not bring anything to the reading experience. It was sad because I love Bollywood and wanted to know more about the various movies that she loved as well.
Although I cannot personally speak to the representation in this book, it felt incredibly familiar to me. I went to school in New Jersey and was friends with an Indian-American kid from the Princeton area – just like Winnie. Seeing the way her family was, the quirks and love, the references to popular Bollywood music just felt exactly like my experience with their family. So at least from an outside, yet familiar perspective it was an enjoyable and authentic read.
I rooted for the romance in the book, but I wasn’t heavily invested in it. I wanted more development from the characters, as it was a character driven story and sometimes they felt one-dimensional. I felt that Winnie acted younger than she actually was and that was off-putting at times. Dev was by far my favourite character in the story.
Overall it was a cute story with very little depth but was a fun, easy summer read.