The Book Worm : The 3 mistakes of my life by Chetan Bhagat

Hello and welcome back to another edition of “The Book Worm” which as you guessed it, would be my reviews on the books I read.

This time it’s a novel from Chetan Bhagat a celebrated Indian author known for his lucid style of writing, for depicting stories in an Indian setting which is relatable for Indians, especially for the youth. This was his third novel, but the first of his works that I read back when I was in school. For a school kid then it was a very new kind of read and for me and many others, a start into fiction meant for adults. But that was my take as a teenager. Now an adult, in my mid twenties my thought process has changed a bit. So here goes, and no there are no spoilers!

I do have a review of One Indian Girl by Chetan Bhagat also up on my blog, so you can go ahead and click the link for a read!

This book was adapted into a movie titled “Kai Po Che” , I have a review on the movie as well as a post comparing the movie and the book, to decide which is better. You can click the links to read those as well!

The cover page of the novel

Title : The Three Mistake of my Life

Author : Chetan Bhagat

Country of origin : India

Language : English

Publisher : Rupa publications

Publication date : 1 January 2008

Formats : Paperback, Kindle version, Audiobook

Number of pages : 258

Part of a series/standalone : Standalone novel

Alternative cover page for later editions

The novel starts with the author Chetan Bhagat receiving a rather dramatic suicide note from an unknown email address who has overdosed on sleeping pills. Realising the person is in Ahmedabad, Chetan Bhagat calls his professor and friends in Allahand and finds the man and then starts to tell his story.

The man in question is Govind Patel and the story centres around him and his two best friends Ishaan Bhatt and Omi.

Govind was a good student and now that he has finished studying wants to be successful and earn money. Ishaan is not a studious as Govind was and is more focused on watching and playing cricket than growing up, much to his family’s dismay. Omi doesn’t really have an opinion for himself and tags around with his two friends. To start becoming more responsible the three decide to start a small sports good store while Ishaan gives cricket classes to the youngsters in the area. They manage to get the space for it via Omi’s maternal uncle’s – Bittu Mama (another important character) help on the temple grounds. Ishaan finds a promising young and talented athelete by the name of Ali. Govind has high dreams of growing the business and also comes closer to Ishaan’s sister Vidya as he teaches her Math. Omi meanwhile is taken in by Bittu Mama who is an active member of the local political and religious parties.

The story then revolves around how the three friends struggle to survive the real world problems and disasters and the mistakes they make on the way.

I’ve read a lot of Chetan Bhagat books after I read this particular first one and this one happens to be my second favourite from his list of works.

At first glance the book has a strong relatability factor for a struggling youngster in India who wants to just fix his place in life. It was also nice to see how the author mixed in real events like the earthquakes in Gujarat into the story and how it affected our characters. The author also has a typical style that he incorporates into his novels that are mostly set in India – the small excerpts of the local language of the area which forms the setting of the story or the English words that have changed its manner of pronounciation after getting an “Indian upgrade”. For most of the people that read this book in the initial years of its release including me, these were the thoughts that went through.

Now, when I think about it, the book also had a certain predictability about it – a love affair with the main character’s best friend’s sister, religion, politics , and cricket which is arguably India’s biggest religion – is the perfect blend for a modern Indian drama and has been used in many facets of story telling – be it books, movies and other forms of art.

The intro and buildup of the story and characters were satisfactory, but when it came to the actual climax I felt the delivery from the author lacked a little more depth and detail considering the nature of the climax. In comparison to the intro it wasn’t as detailed as it should have been.

My final verdict – it’s not the most amazing read you might ever chance upon but it’s still a popular work of art that really increased the interest in the work of Indian authors and stories in Indian settings. If you’ve never encountered books in such settings this might be something that you might actually enjoy! For a lot of the Indian audience this is more of a nostalgic read, than anything else considering how it spread like wildfire at the time of its release.

What did you feel about this novel? Have you read this as well? Let me know in the comments!

I’ve also linked a review of the movie adaptation of this novel and other paper versus reel post on what differences the novel and the movie had, and which is better at the top of this post!


  1. […] The movie is actually based on the novel by Chetan Bhagat titled – “The Three Mistakes of my Life”. Bhagat himself helped work on the screenplay as well for this movie. If you wish to read more on the novel you can click here, or if you want to read about the differences between the novel and the movie, and which I liked better, you can click here! […]

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