Review: Love is Vodka: A Shot Ain’t Enough

BY IN A, Young-Adult NO COMMENTS YET Amit Shankar

By  Amit Shankar. Grade: A 

Being a love child, Moon is anything but a conventional teen. With a leading TV news anchor as her mother, an aspiring entrepreneur as her boyfriend, the word LOVE baffles her. The whole idea of having one partner and love being eternal intrigues her.

Love Is Vodka

Life turns upside down when she falls for the CEO, who happens to be her mother’s boyfriend too. Destiny further complicates things by blessing her with a big-time modelling assignment. She becomes famous and popular overnight. A war wages between her head and heart on a lot of issues – exposing her to various forms of love – online & offline. Will she decipher the true meaning of love? Embark on an exhilarating rendezvous with Moon and discover love like never before.

Love is Vodka: A Shot Ain’t Enough is not just another love story. True, love, and the search for it, does form the basic premise of the plot. However, the tale progresses beyond the boundaries and norms of societies and redefines the four letter word, giving it a meaning that we know existed, but never really pondered upon. Is love all about finding the right person and spending the rest of our lives with him or her, often neglecting our desires and wants for that person’s happiness? Or is it about self exploration, the idea of complete freedom, of listening to our hearts and being led and guided by our souls.

 “Why can’t there be freedom of choice in life? I mean, share when you want, close the doors when you don’t want to. Why do we complicate life unnecessarily by adding superfluous layers to it and then painting them using liberal doses of garish emotions? No wonder, at the end of it, it sucked.”

The protagonist clearly expresses her views in the above lines. Moon, a nineteen year old girl, goes through the turmoil and upheavals associated with adolescence and the desire to be loved and wanted. She considers herself a responsible person, and thus hates it when she is referred to as a teenager and not an adult. Being a love child, Moon never really got to spend quality time with her biological father, which perhaps explains her search for a man who can love her truly and selflessly.

Moon is the daughter of a leading TV news anchor, who has made a mark for herself and loves to lead her life on her own terms. Moon inherits this trait of her mother and on occasions more than once, takes decisions that her mother finds rebellious. However, she believes she isn’t doing any wrong, and listens to what her heart says.

Author Amit Shankar delivers a profound tale of love and relationships in his third novel. After capturing a million minds and hearts with his earlier titles, Flight of the Hilsa and Chapter 11, Amit once again treads the path of unconventional story telling. His writing questions the norms, seeks and explores discomforting answers. Amit loves his space and is fond of coffee. He loves music. Had he not been a writer, he would surely have been a musician.

 Love Is Vodka questions the traditional meaning of love, dissociating it with loyalty. If love is all about freedom and honest expression, how can it be associated with loyalty? Moon falls in and out with numerous men with different personalities. When she is in love with a man, she believes him to be her true love. However, fate turns cruel and Moon soon realizes that selfless love is a concept too vague, and it’s better to remain independent and love one own self rather than finding the same feelings in the embraces of others.

Amit’s characters live with us through the pages, as our eyes, and hearts flow over the lines and words that form this beautiful story of dreams and hope. Moon comes out as a lady, strong in will and determination, but naïve at times. It is this lack of experience that leads to her downfall on numerous occasions. However, as she falls and walks again, we cannot stop ourselves from holding her hand and guiding her towards her destiny. Yes, there is a Moon in every one of us.

Moon’s mother, Ms Payal Malik, is a famous news anchor and an imminent TV personality. She gains her confidence from the power she holds. However, she is often torn between maintaining her high status in the society and conveying the right amount of care and affection to her daughter. There are times when her daughter defies the societal rules, which leaves Payal fuming. She doesn’t know how to handle those situations. The relationship between mother and daughter, though full of love, is stressful. The beauty of this relationship does take this story to the great heights of realism and excellence.

Moon falls in love with several men, and Amit doesn’t leave any stone unturned in sketching each one of them differently. On one hand she has an aspiring entrepreneur as a boyfriend, while on the other she gets intimate with her mother’s ‘friend’. She also feels comfortable with an office colleague, and a net friend, at different points in the story, often misinterpreting these friendly feelings to be equivalent to the four letter word. Finally, she meets the man who she believes to be her true love.

The opening chapter of the book scores really high, as well as the conclusion in the final pages. This novel wouldn’t stand idly in my book shelf; rather, I will read it over and over again, whenever I am in need of revisiting the intricacies associated with love. Amit Shankar does a remarkable job, and that makes me think, “Why the hell I haven’t read his previous titles yet?” It’s time to add them to my reading list now.