Reviews of “Bala Takes the Plunge”

Bala frontUpdated May 22, 2012

Here are some reviews of my novel “Bala Takes the Plunge,” both positive and negative. Click on the links to read the full reviews.

“As someone who’ve loved Melvin’s quirkly style of puns largely centered around mad word play for over 10 years now, I got to say, the book doesn’t disappoint at all. Do NOT read this for a great plotline or a twist in the tale or as a great literary classic, it makes absolutely no such pretentions. The book is meant to be a fun joyride on a lazy afternoon while lounging around in a cozy sofa.” — Gopi Krishnan at FlipKart

“Humourous, the book hits the nail on the head in so many different ways. It is totally not my style and I ended up enjoying it inspite of myself. It’s got a very Kolaveri feel to it, if you know what I mean. Very clearly laughing at itself, taking itself lightly.” — The Mad Momma

“This fiction should delight all intelligent readers, and the rest of us too. Bala takes the plunge, and readers should plunge into this story and then surface to much laughter. Since the 1980s this is one of the three best novels of humor!” — Robert Clyde Moore, author of “Oddball Squadron” at goodreads

“The book is a welcome relief from the myriad books penned by different newbie Hinglish driven Indian Authors. The book is funny but sometimes the jokes get overboard. … Personally, I liked this book. A perfect travel read.” — Divenita in Mota Blogs

“Bala Takes the Plunge, written by Melvin Durai, is a very funny and sweet book! This really will make a great romantic comedy movie as well! Love it!” — Connie Devadoss at goodreads

“It’s a pretty short book, and I devoured it in less than a day after I got it, and it was one of the few books that has actually made me laugh out so loudly that other people around me started giving me odd looks and asked me what the hell I was reading.” — Sakhi Shah in In My Bookshelves — Book Reviews

“Melvin Durai is a extremely witty blogger and he has done justice to his first book. Bala takes the plunge is entertaining and extremely funny without going overboard with the humor.” — Ruchira in Nirjharini

“I read most of this book while travelling by train to work & back and it made pretty easy reading, the humour was clean and smooth and I often had to re-read a part of the text because Melvin slipped in his jokes so subtly I’d skim the surface before it actually registered. Something in the book makes you connect with Bala and you’re unwittingly drawn to his quest.” — Melvin D’Souza in theadventuresofmelvin

“The Tamil Nadu born and Canada based writer Melvin Durai has probably interspersed a large part of his own life into the story. So one can definitely say that he has lead a very funny life. At the end you are almost sorry that the book at a short 192 pages gets over a little too soon.” — Kishore Shah at goodreads

“This delightful hilarious novel chronicles Bala’s search for the perfect bride at a time when he has made a success of his career and settled comfortably into his life in the US.” — Gargi Mehra in Gargi’s World

“If there was a genre called guy-lit, Melvin Durai’s debut novel Bala Takes the Plunge would easily qualify as one. A few pages into the book and I was guffawing at Melvin’s play of words and funny observations. Rajinikant-lovers will be thrilled to encounter some of his famous dialogues in this clever and extremely witty book.” — Bedazzled

“The plot is as thin as the paper the book is printed on, but the puns and chuckles keep flowing.” — Amritha in Playing the Critic

“On the whole, ‘Bala takes the Plunge’ is the kind of book which you can make use of on a boring Sunday afternoon.If you are not looking for a light read, please stay away from this one.” — Nikhi Menon in Random Thoughts

“Written in a lighthearted tone, the book Bala Takes the Plunge by Melvin Durai is a hilarious read. Bala’s account of his father, his mother, his home and relations are utterly humourous.” — Dr. Vaidehi Nathan in Organiser

“A short and sweet novel. This book is extremely funny in parts; huge numbers of Indian men of marriageable age will identify with Bala’s predicament really well.” — Nishita in Nishita’s Rants and Raves

“Bala Takes The Plunge is labelled ‘Fiction/Humour’ by the publishers. The former is really an excuse for the latter. It falls into  the  joke book genre. The plot is very thin but the one-liners and puns come thick and fast, a few of them laugh out loud, most others puerile. In any case, the book suffers from an overdose of jokes.” — S.A. Karthik in Deccan Herald (Spoilers galore!)

“An otherwise simple and straight forward story is made very interesting to read, by clever usage of  Shrinidhi language by the author. Smartly induced words and lines bring smile on your face at regular intervals as you read this.” — Shrinidhi Hande in eNidhi India

“FUNNY in places, hilarious, rollicking, rocking in some, and kind of overstretched in some other portions, Bala Takes the Plunge is an amusing book. However, there are some no-holds-barred moments of joyous laughter which the reader must beware. Why must you beware? Because it’s best that you do not read it while sipping a coke (or tea or coffee or water or any beverage) lest something tickles you so bad that it makes you splatter the coke (or whatever you are drinking) right on to the pages as you erupt in laughter.” — Aradhika Sharma in The Tribune

“it’s a fun, light-read book full of witty puns.” — Vibha Sharma in Literary Sojourn

“Melvin banks on his strength – word play. In fact the initially 50 pages are the best and worth the price tag hopefully you will be paying for it.” — Sanjeev Kotnala in Impressions and Inferences

“Funny, witty and entertaining! When someone says ‘Indian Authors’  the writers who come to my mind Vishesh are  Ghosh, Rushdie, Seth and the like. But this book is something completely new (at least to me) and what’s more I really liked it!” — Vishesh Unni R. in Book Reviews for Booklovers (and also The Light Shines the Brightest)

“B.Balasubramaniam is undoubtedly a character who keeps you going page after page. What more would a reader ask for in a protagonist. He had me cheerfully turning pages. The book is a thoroughly entertaining light read and is a “one-go” type book, start to finish. It’ s breezy, witty and creative and definitely well crafted.” — Manjulika Pramod in Friends of Books Blog

“The strength of the book lies in the humorous narrative done by Melvin, who has exploited the common incidents which happen in life a funny take.” — Prateek Gupta in Ginger & Cardamom

“Bala takes the plunge is a bagful of laughter at every page. The book is a brilliant piece which packs in a lot of satire on the American society at large and gives the reader a view of what turns an American on.” — Julia Dutta in xebecbooks.

“Humor is a difficult genre (didn’t I say the same thing in my last review) and Durai scores well here. He is witty and humorous. His play with words leaves you laughing your heart out.” — Anamika in What I have been reading …

“I found two very different kinds of humour in the book – situational humour, aKunalnd the word play. I’ve  always been a fan of word-play and really enjoyed those small strokes of genius.” — Kunal in Something About Nothing

“Thoroughly entertaining, wildly creative and accurately placed puns that made it a laugh riot, it was refreshing indeed.” — Joshua Karunakaran in The World As I see It

“Durai shines through the funny dialogues between the son and his parents. Sample this. Bala says that he and his parents should take a cab to the prospective bride’s home to impress them. His father retorts, ‘You are in Amricka. What more there is to impress?'” — Janani Rajeswari S. in New Indian Express

“Humourist Melvin Durai’s riveting, snazzy debut novel, Bala Takes The Plunge, explores with wit and insight the age old struggle of middle-class Indian kids — to convince and seek their parents’ support — when it comes to choosing a profession or a partner.” — Jaya Biswas in The Bengal Post

“‘Bala takes the plunge’ by a very talented humor-columnist – Melvin Durai – is … not just a good read, but also a work full of wit.” — U. Mahesh Prabhu in Folks Magazine (Spoiler alert!)

“Had a stressful week? Suggested crack-me-up funny book-Bala takes the Plunge by Melvin Durai …hiLLAriOus!” — FriendsOfBooks (You can buy or borrow the book from them.)

Saaz “Who says Indians have no sense of humour! The last time I laughed aloud so many times while reading a book was about 15 years ago, with Bill Bryson’s Notes from a Small Island.” — Saaz Aggarwal, freelance reviewer

“Durai is a humour blogger and … amusing … way beyond … witty … You may smile …” — Hari Menon in Outlook India (You can’t turn every review into a positive blurb, no matter how many elipses you use!)

“Bala Takes the Plunge” is available at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites.

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through and You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.


  1. Sudha Rao says:

    I really enjoyed the book – was witty, amusing and kept me smiling and laughing through…….! Good job, Melvin!

  2. Thanks, Sudha. Glad you liked it.

  3. suresh taneja says:

    I haven’t yet read your book and hence, I can’t comment. I have written a debut book’ We can pull it off’ and I am struggling to have it reviewed. How did you mange to get so many reviews in such a short time. I hope you don’t mind sharing the trade secrets. It appears that my publisher is not actively publicising the book. You may also mail me at

  4. Elizabeth Sheila Gajendran says:

    Hi Melvin, thanks for one of the most humourous books I’ve ever read. The play on words and the funny situations are fantastic. And it’s all so clean – no bad language, no nasty people. The scenes set in Madras are very familiar to us as are those in the US.
    You are a genius to spin such a tale out of normal everyday situations. I hope there will be a sequel. We’d like to know how Bala fares. Thank you.

  5. Thank you for your comment, Elizabeth. I’m glad you liked the book. I hope to write a sequel. We’ll see.

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