Play with Me – Book Review

I crossed this book in the recent Hindu Lit for Life event where the author was featured along with a few who write Erotica. The author of the book Ananth Padmanabhan is also the CEO of HarperCollin and that the book is published by Penguin.
Genre – Erotica
First Impression – The title was not catchy, and having the read the book, I also feel that the title is not the apt one for this book. The cover is classy, but again it says nothing much about the book. The blurb definitely caught my attention. The last line of the blurb says that the protagonist falls in love with another woman which was intriguing enough.
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Overall Impression – This is my first Erotica read, so I went back to goodreads to read the definition of Erotica genre and the definition is below:
“Erotica is any story that places sex at the center of the story. They tend to use more frank language and usually include more sex scenes, often focusing more on the sex act rather than being a more traditional love scene, and may include more unusual positions or acts. Unlike romance or erotic romance, erotica may or may not deal with love or relationships and may or may not provide a happy ending for its protagonists.”
Has the author made justice to the above definition – Yes! But…
Rating : 2/5
What did I love about the book? 1) I liked the language – sophisticated 2) Editing – near perfect. The editor has done a great job, kudos!
Wow Factor: 1) Perfect erotic descriptions and detailed intercourse scenes with words that doesn’t make one frown. There are passages that sends electric shrug to the reader.
Frown factors: 1) Going back to the definition by goodreads – “Erotica is any story that places sex at the center of the story” – Where is the story? Nowhere in the 245 pages is a story that one could say. The novel is a sheer sex manual and nothing else.
2) Protagonist Sid is a sizeist – he won’t do chubby and fat. He is so lucky that all five girls around him are hour glass lookalikes. So what he does? Sleep with four out of five. Why not the fifth? because the other colleague is sleeping with her.
3) If one filters the words like Fuck, cock, breasts, boobs, nipples, bikini, cum, balls, sex, long legs, between the legs, her dress rode up revealing her thighs, cleavage, etc.. The book would merely be 50 odd pages.
4) the most frowned upon factor is that the novel has huge potential to explore about what makes one love the other woman as written in the blurb. That was left unexplored, like totally. The novel has 2 different affair pepping up and the reasons are that first affair is because the guy is unhappy in her wedding and he second is because the woman can’t conceive – like seriously? If these are any reasons at all? The transition and battle in one’s mind when falling in love with another while being in a relationship is left as such.
5) Though Sid is found guilty and thinks whether he is cheating, he tends to use every opportunity to sleep with the next woman he hits on.
6) Too many loose ends – Roy’s life is left unattended, For the sake of it there were details about Sid’s company
7) Sid finds himself falling in love with a married woman because she took care when he was admitted in the hospital. This is the only difference at all used by the author to say he “makes love” with this woman but “had sex” with Cara, the other protagonist. I don’t understand whether Indian’s are not ready to take flings or something, the author wanted to play it safe stating that Cara is half-turkish.
8) The story has bisexuals and a threesome which again serves no purpose. It is shaped as if the protagonist is perplexed and falls in his colleague Nat’s lap who is married but is feeling low about not being able to conceive a baby.
9) Cliche’d moments where sex happens in Goa, NY – why? Why these places are predominantly used just for sex scenes?
Of all the frown factors the unexplored potential of the novel which could talk more about how one falls for another when being in a relationship with one makes the reader crib. Also, the difference between making love and having sex is not defined. The story moreover says sleep with any if you feel like, even-if-you-are-married. It’s still ok if the transition is explained, but none.
I definitely appreciate the attempt with Erotica, but falling short of a story cannot be accepted.
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4 thoughts on “Play with Me – Book Review”

  1. I quite liked this book though the climax was a bit disappointing. I read that there will be a sequel of this book. ‘Think of Me’ will pick up where Play with Me left off – as there are incomplete sentences and unresolved relationships.

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