Hostelitis: Book Review by Asha Seth

Author: Srinivasa Addepalli | Genre: Fiction | Pages: 190 | Publisher: Notion Press

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Manish has looked forward to living in a hostel ever since he was a child. Finally, his dream has come true. As Manish sets foot in the room that will shape his next four years, his heart sinks. How will he cope with the smell of urine, mess food and, of course, first love?

Join Manish, Thomas and Swami in their adventures of exams, politics, elections, potatoes, bathroom fights, heartbreaks, shaayari and more. Hostelitis is a coming-of-age story of Manish and his friends. It is also the story of every engineering college hostelite from the nineties and, perhaps, even today!

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I have never experienced the famous hostel life and thus any creative piece that focuses on this aspect of life intrigues me immensely. It is for this reason that I picked up ‘Hostelitis’.

Before we delve into the review, I want to talk about the book cover. The plot aside, it really is the cover that casts a spell on its reader with it’s very minimalistic yet smart design. It evokes a feeling of being light and engaging and that works well if one is looking for something interesting but not laborious. That and well, the play upon words with the title which looks in similar leagues with colitis or cellulitis, was quite intriguing.

Hostelitis is about 3 friends – Manish, Thomas, and Swami – who become acquainted since day 1 as hostel mates and their journey through the adventures, heartbreaks, pleasures, and perils, hostel life brings. They live through the days and grow into people of the world through these experiences.

The plot is fairly simple and not unheard of and to some extent predictable too, but the fun lies in the little escapades and adventures the trio go through together. The content is a good mix of humor, stern, stoic, sweet, and sour moments, that is a part and parcel of any student’s life who’ve had hostel imprints upon their heart. The writing and language captures the instances and issues centred around hostel life clearly. Whether that is a tiff with room-mates or ill-appealing mess food or trouble-making seniors or plights of love, remain relatable for students across the globe; irrespective of the faculty or stream. The concerns that are paramount in the minds of Indian parents when it comes to hostel life along side their high expectations, are captured well too.

Few funny characters keep the matter flowing and flashes of personal touch are evident right from the beginning. That the author has designed characters inspired from his own hostel life makes them even more substantial and believable. They bring regional quirkiness to the plot which makes the reading a fun experience. The language of the book is quite simple. The regional lingo makes the dialogues and story interesting; which again are well-demonstrated toward the end of the book. The best part of any writing is a crisp plot, that doesn’t over do the fun, and that’s the greatest takeaway for this book. At 190 pages, it is a perfect platter of fun and serious, light and engaging, simple yet memorable reading. There’s apparent lack of freshness or newness, but should that dull its light? No.

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Read ‘Hostelitis’ if you’re looking for a light fun read and wish to relive your own college days. You’re bound to call those old roomies and old flames, and that’s a promise!

Have you read ‘Hostelitis’? Do share your thoughts in the comments below.

Happy reading till we meet next. Until then, carpe diem! 

P.S.: I received a review copy from the author but the review remains unbiased.