Once Upon An IAS Exam – Book Review

  • Author: K. Vijayakarthikeyan 
  • Genre: Romance/ Humour
  • Paperback: 142 pages
  • Publisher: Rupa Publications India (20 October 2018)
  • Language: English

SYNOPSIS as on Goodreads

Vishy’s worst nightmare-failing the UPSC’s Civil Services exam-has come true. He is plagued by insecurity, fear, and doubts. The mother of all competitive examinations has rejected him and he needs a reason to live. So, what does he do? He tells his best friend Rithika, ‘I love you. Will you marry me?’

In Once Upon an IAS Exam, twenty-five-year-old Vishy tries to overcome the uncertainty and confusion about his future and figure out ways of convincing Rithika to marry him. Things turn even more interesting, funny and emotional as Vishy reattempts to conquer ‘Mount IAS’. As he tries to take his academic and love life towards safety, he seeks refuge in the world of IAS coaching centers.

Set in the bustling Civil Services exam coaching hub of Anna Nagar in Chennai, this book is a hilarious account of the actuality, stress, and struggle faced by millions of candidates who prepare year after year for one of India’s toughest exams. Join Vishy as he sets out to prove his mettle to the world and himself. Will Rithika accept the love of her best friend? Will Vishy overcome his sense of failure? Will there be a happily ever after?

My Review

The protagonist Vishy dreams of becoming an IAS officer and works day in and day out for the same. After a failure, he takes his disappointment in his stride and resolves to clear one of the toughest exams with flying colours. In his journey, he never forgets to wear a smile through all the ups and down and moves ahead with zeal and confidence. He is smart, loving, and an amazing friend. Thus, he is undoubtedly my favorite character in the whole book.  His childhood friend Rithika is a wonderful example of a true friend who supports Vishy always. The book also tells that if you have the courage to face your failures and the unrelenting faith of your loved ones in you, nothing can stop you from achieving your dreams.

The book has a simple storyline and an easy to read language. In a humoristic manner,  it primarily throws light on the business of coaching institutes prevalent in India. On the name of providing quality guidance and education, these institutes mint a huge amount of money. A lot of them are coming up in some or the other nook and corner of our country with a primary objective of commercializing education and selling the dreams. How they seek to buy the aspirations of people is something the book has at its focus.

The book presents a true picture of the lakhs of aspirants putting their heart and soul into preparing for the UPSC exams in India. And thus, people might find it relatable. It is pretty hilarious and entertaining.

In all, the book is a short and breezy read to go for this winter.

MY RATING: 3.5/ 5


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