The Bridge Across Forever: Richard Bach

This book is a favorite of, or at least has impressed, many people I know. When I first picked up this book, I thought I was too young and I postponed reading it. The second attempt was when I was in college. For some reason, I had to put it down. Now, in the third and final attempt, I finally succeeded in finishing this book. Now that it is over, I wish I had read it in my younger days, when I used to fantasize about my soul mate, my Mr.Right, where he was and whether he too was wondering about where his soul mate is. After nearly 3 years of marriage, all notions of Mr.Right and Prince Charming are out of the window and this book sounds like a big joke. Just to clarify, I don't mean to say I am not happy with my husband, I just want to say that nobody is perfect, there is no Mr.Right. We all have to make some compromise no matter who we choose as our life partner.

Let's come back to the book. As the preface says, "it's about a knight who was dying, and the princess who saved his life." In general, it's about a guy who almost always day dreams about his soul mate and fantasizes about making a perfect couple. It would have sounded credible if the guy in question hadn't had a failed marriage. The book is the author day dreaming aloud.

The book begins on a good note. It starts with the author realizing that it is high time he looked out for his soul mate. He wonders the whereabouts of his soul mate and these few pages sound like they are straight out of a teenager's personal diary. Mine would have been similar too, if I had kept a diary. On one hand he is searching frantically for his soul mate, while on the other he loves his freedom over anything else and does not want be to tied to one woman. These are contradictory, I know, and I kept asking myself how much sense that makes.

He finally meets a woman and he is completely mesmerized by her. He decides to have a platonic relationship with her and starts calling her his 'sister'. When I read this, I just cringed. It brought back memories of all those incidents in my college, where every other guy and girl became brother-sister because they wanted a license to go out with each other. And most of these bro-sis pairs are married now, happily or otherwise. No guesses here, the sister doesn't remain a sister forever and he finds himself in bed with her. I knew I should have stopped reading the book at this time, but I pushed myself to carry on.

The couple spend time doing nothing but exchanging mushy-mushy words and general gyan on life and love. They are supposed to be learning and growing up. A book cannot have just a few romantic scenes and fights. You need a story, right? So, throw in a few incidents like the protest against cutting trees and author going bankrupt. No where in the book does the author come across as someone who is about to lose every penny he owns.

"What's written here happened in fact very nearly the way it's turned out in print" says the author in the preface. I have my own suspicions because certain incidents are quite unlikely to happen. The out-of-body experiences, the author's dreams in which he meets his past and future, the couple dreaming together, the deja-vu's - I mean, how can one believe all that? They say, a book needs a problem which the readers want to see solved. The problem about this book is it doesn't have a problem. Everything is sugar sweet, the author never takes off his pink glasses and uses his heart more often than his head.

If mushy-mushy, lovey-dovey, melodramatic Karan Johar movie is your taste, you will love this book. If you are too burdened with practicality of life, want to be lost in a world where there is no problem, pick this up and escape into the author's world.

Edit: I just now read that the so-called perfect couple of this book are no longer a couple; they have separated. I hope Bach does not end up writing another book to justify this act.