A review of Once Upon A Crush on All In A Day’s Work

Book: Once Upon A Crush
Author: Kiran Manral
Genre: Fiction
Published by: Jufic Books, 2014
No. of pages: 224
Cover price: Rs. 195

The cover design of ‘Once Upon a Crush’ with slightly smudged heart and red-coloured lipstick, sets the mood for the fun, light-hearted pleasure that this book is.
The red and gold cover is playful – the lipstick, the heart, the smudge and the colour.

Rayna De is the main protagonist of ‘Once Upon a Crush’. She’s independent, about to turn 30 and has not love life. Her parents are after her to get married.
She has a crush on Deven Ahuja – Rayna compares him to Edward Cullen and Mr Darcy. Oh, and he has cheekbones comparable to Benedict Cumberbatch.

The stage is thus set for the emotions and the insecurities of being attracted, of getting to know someone. The hesitation of not asking a question frankly, and then looking for answers in gestures and random statements.
And especially our minds making mountains out of every molehill of gesture, statement and even silence.
The choice of not marrying, yet the insecurities of being alone.


I had just read the first couple of pages when I knew I would enjoy reading this one.

I was hooked when I read Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings mentioned in the same sentence. Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland, Fifty Shades of Grey, Phantom, When Harry Met Sally, Twilight Saga, and many more make this book a reader’s delight. Even the Queen of sarcasm and outspokenness, Aunty Acid finds a place.

Rayna’s day-nightmares make for great mental visuals – her shriveling ovaries and open pores on her face spouting geysers of oil.
So do her day-dreams – wanting to feed her boss bit by bit to very hungry crocs.

Favourite quotes from ‘Once Upon a Crush’

  • “What do butterflies get in their stomachs when they get nervous…”
  • “Maybe we humans needed to take lessons from the animal kingdom where all females were busy playing Prove Your Love with the Hapless males of their species before they consented to get down and dirty with them.”
  • “Maybe marriage was a communicable disease.”
  • “Complicated happens when bodily fluids are exchanged on a regular basis.”
  • “… the funny wigs that airhostesses wore as part of their uniform, making them look like they were the airhostess version of Oompaloompas having emerged out of some cookie cutter airhostess factory run by Willi Wonka…”
  • “The scariest thing about growing up must be the realization that one’s parents are closer to their date with mortality than one would like.”

I wish there were more about Pixie in the book. Pixie is Rayna De’s friend. Obviously I can’t tell you much about her, as I don’t want to fill up this review with spoilers. As the book ends, it left me wanting to know Pixie better, I want to know her story now – more about her past, and a lot about her future.

May I suggest to the author a sequel with Pixie as the protagonist. Tentative title ‘Once Upon a Marriage’ – depending on what path Pixie chose for her life.

The way the author plays with words is fascinating.

After reading this book, I find my head telling me to ‘Carpe the Diem’ instead of simply telling me to ‘stop lazing around’.

The book is great for easy reading with lots of humour thrown in.

There is not a moment of boredom reading this book. The story may not throw up any great surprises, but the words are strikingly expressive.
There’s a serious risk of having a smile on your face while reading this book and thus, attracting questioning stares.

Read the original review here

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