As promised earlier, i am back with another book review.
Title : When She Smiled.
Author : Ritoban Chakrabarti
ISBN : 978-93-84878-25-2
Mrityunjoy Roy is a fifteen year old Bengali who has spent the last ten years of his life growing up in Shimla, India. 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.
First thing that comes to my mind as soon as i sit to write a review is that, i never read a book where Shimla forms a backdrop for a story.
Mrityunjoy Roy, though the youngest in the family, that doesn’t guarantee a pampered life, on the contrary, his parents are very strict. After being away from Shimla for a couple of years, Roy returns to his old school DAV.
Then comes Akanksha , the beauty in demand, the damsel in the dreams of every school goer(almost!) and the owner of the beautiful dimpled smile, which can be inferred from the title of the book.
Though Roy and Akanksha become thick friends, as the story progresses I was left wondering if both are meant to be together. Contrary to what roy may be feeling, the fate has other designs.
At one point of the story Roy comes across as a despo, who is craving for attention and Akanksha as the girl who changes from the sweet innocent girl to a girl who is ignorant of ones feelings!
As implied by the title of the book, the life of the protagonist changes with the smile of Akanksha at the very beginning and at the very end.
What i like:
Shimla described in all its glory making me want to go and visit it once , at the very least!
Even nature seems like a silent character,a friend, who continues to soothe and calm down the protagonist Roy, during the time of tragedy and heart break.
Reminded me all those beautiful days of school where we enjoyed cartoons, anime like Fushigi Yugi , dance rehearsals, combined studies, quizzes, debates and what not! My-my, let me also add, the tours in school and annual day celebrations,watching guys fight over WWF and cricket cards , pokemon and putting pocket money to good use . Those were the days.
The language is simple and easy.
What I don’t like:
The pace of the story gets slow at times.
Killing off the character of Ashima! It made me think that the character was created only to make the Roy brothers closer!
At some places the description eats up a page or two with very little progress in the story.I skipped a para or two in between at places only to compensate the slow flow of the story!
For a debut novel, When She Smiled is a good attempt, because the honesty of the writer is apparent. Proper editing would have made it even better. It is a one-time read. An Indian teen – love story is a rarity , so all the fans of Teenage romances can read it. I give 3/5.
2. Yes , I wrote my name Manogna on the first page in the book, above the autograph of the author. 😀