Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Manan - Book Review

By Mohit Parikh
Review By Ila Garg 

Mohit Parikh’s ‘Manan’ has been published by Harper Collins. So one can easily trust this book as a quality product, both in terms of printing as well as paper quality. The cover design fits aptly in the storyline. It is simple and not distracting. Also, the illustrations inside add to the brownie points of the book. The blurb too is precise and serves well to arouse readers’ interest.
The blurb reads as, “He closes his eyes and finds today’s date floating towards him. Shimmering in the darkness, swivelling – like the text on the Windows 95 screensaver. It seeps in through his forehead and gets absorbed. 23-04-98 is now a part of him. Today’s date, a Saturday, when the first sign of what he so eagerly awaited has appeared…

It is the summer of 1998 in a sleepy Indian town that is jut awakening to the age of information, and young Manan has acquired his first official sign of puberty. The world around him, though, refuses to understand the magnitude of the moment. Instead, it teases him by offering all sorts of temptations, posing all sorts of quandaries. And it doesn't help that his friends are taller and larger than him, that his parents fight all the time that his sister no longer has time for him that the love of his life barely knows that he exists.

With an earnest voice that is colourfully candid about middle-class India and the tyranny of family relationships, authority figures and peer pressure, Manan is a tragicomedy of growing pains and the triumphs of a stoic heart.

As I began my reading journey, the book seemed interesting. It held me for a while as I tried moving along with the protagonist, a guy named Manan. He is a class tenth student and looks way younger than his friends and that's because he hasn't hit puberty yet. He describes how he was constantly mocked at by others and things like that. He hates the fact that his friends are taller, hairier and mature than he is, but on finding the first official sign of puberty, he knows that soon he will be able to understand all that. He sees the world in a different way and most of the time is lost in his imagination. He sees the world through his own vision which is way different from others.

Further, he has a crush on a girl named Hriya and has an elder sister, with whom he is very close and they often play, fight, pull each others' legs etc. like every other brother-sister duo. He is often found on the terrace of his house where he spend hours staring at the sky, lost in thoughts about Hriya.

By the time I reached the middle of this book, my heart was hopeful. ‘Manan’ thus gives hope. A greater hope to the lovers of written word. At some points, it does get dragging but the author has managed to overshadow the flaws. It’s a blend of humour, pain, feeling of loneliness, weird moments, jokes, and pure fun.
The language is seemingly simple, making the book a light read for regular readers. However, the book tends to lose its flow on and off. It gets a bit too slow at times and thus boring and often monotonous. A lot of incidents could easily be chopped off from the book to maintain the readers’ interest.

This 200 page book, ‘Manan’ by Mohit Parikh, belongs to a very different genre. An adolescent is searching for his identity and nothing more is much talked about. I liked the climax as we see Manan finally taking a stand for himself. He gets assertive and voices his opinions.

I must say the author has a good grip on language and has written an intelligent piece of writing. The second half was more interesting. The author has marvelously woven a brilliant climax into the story that will keep the readers glued till the very end.

Best wishes to the author for future endeavours.  

Ratings: 3/5

This (Unbiased) book review is a part of "Indiblogger and Harper Collins Get Published Opportunity".

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