You guys would seeing more of book reviews in the forthcoming weeks as I have a pretty huge TBR (To-Be-Reviewed) list lined up on my bookshelf. While we are on it, let me tell you about the book for the day (well, there is another book review coming up later), “When She Smiled: By Ritoban Chakrabarti”.
Blurb of the book: Mrityunjoy Roy is a fifteen year old Bengali who has spent the last ten years of his life growing up in Shimla. While his family is completely academically oriented, he wants something more. Finally he meets Akanksha in school, who turns his world upside down with her gorgeous looks and mind boggling smile. As fate would have it, she joins his tuition, and thus begins the torrid year of puppy love, romance, heartbreak, tragedy, and self discovery. Set among the scenic Shivalik hills of Shimla when mobile phones and internet were non-existent, this is a story of how an average young teenager comes to terms with his destiny.
About the author: Ritoban is an entrepreneur, author, internet marketer, and bathroom singer. He ran an internet marketing company for five years, before trying his hand at writing. His first novel, When She Smiled, a coming-of-age fiction released in 2014. He is an He is a freedom fanatic and an avid traveller, and believes in a life without boundaries.
Plot: Set in Shimla, this story is an year in life of Roy, who had joined back to his old school after being away from there for two years. What starts as an promising year for him, with old friends, a new crush, and lot of expectations takes a big roller coaster ride with numerous hair-pin bends that shake his life. While he is busy wooing his “love-interest”, little did he knew that he is going to gain some great life lessons by losing some very valuable things in his life.
1. The whole set-up of story is simple and sweet. It’s been a long time now that I read an Indian author writing a book out of a simple thing like a high school crush. While the concept might not be new, the way the author wrote the story is fresh and joyful.
2. The writing style of the author gives a very energetic and novel look to the otherwise simple plot.
3. No exaggerations done, and the reality was just put out on your face. Unlike many commercial writers, Ritoban didn’t try stunts of using commercial or exaggeration elements in his story. This kind of boosted the overall appeal of reading the book.
4. No M&B material: While most of the Indian writers now think that they can sell a romance novel by adding some steamy, passionate, first-time sex scene, Ritoban had taken a bold step of showing some innocent love and some nasty fate intrusions in it.
1. There were way to many lengthy-not-so-important conversations between the leads, which could have been easily edited out during the editing phase of the novel.
Bottomline: Old wine made into a frenzy new cocktail, yet retains the sophisticated taste of fine. Well, for the non-alcoholics, the book is a age-old-love story with some fresh writing style and screenplay, yet it still maintains the innocence of love.
Special mention: The epilogue or the closing paragraph did resonate a lot about high-school love and life.
Do I recommend? Yes, irrespective of age or genre you prefer, go for it, but with no expectations. Read it just to have a light and youthful delight.