Monday, 2 March 2015

Book Review: When She Smiled

Author: Ritoban Chakrabarti
Genre: Romantic Fiction
Publisher: Notion press
Pages: 217
Price:  Rs 215


The book jacket having a woman in the backdrop of the beautiful Shimla mountains smiling goes well with the title!

The novel begins in a warm, nostalgia-inducing setup of the protagonist Roy's school days. It brings back memories of school. The characters of Roy, Akanksha, Ashima, Megha are cut out from every child's past.

What I initially didn't like was the first few pages, which appeared to be bit slow-paced. The book takes us back to the era where technology had not taken precedence over humans, where family values were important. It describes people living in a different time-zone in remote areas, aloof to mobile connectivity and social networking. How getting pocket money was a rarity and those spent on candies or video games, where having a car or eating in hotel was a luxury.

The language is simple and lucid. The endeavour is honest. The book is engaging but not thrilling. The author had poured real emotions in it and has been easy on the elements of drama. The incidents are well described and the humour is delightful.

'When She Smiled' is a fresh story of a young boy and his struggle to realise his life's true direction. The struggles to meet up his parents expectations and also lead life of his own.

The other characters in the story are introduced very well. The descriptions about the scenic beauty of Shivalik in Shimla are very refreshing and detailed. The author seems to be a nature lover. The beauty of Shimla and Kasauli and the mesmerizing walks along the roads cast a surreal effect on the reader.

This book could be a good pick to revive the memories of the teenager life. The childish love shown between the two protagonists will surely make you giggle. If you are not a teenager, then it will make you remember your school days and first love.

There were many lengthy-not-so-important conversations between the leads. Few dialogues seemed repetitive. This could have been filtered out!

While narrating the various confused state of mind, the protagonist in the story goes through, it makes the reader relate to the situation of all the troubles that one faces in his life and how in such situations, what one expects is just a few gestures of love from someone he really adores, admires and loves.

The sweet charming evergreen friendship, attraction, love and heartbreak and academic with career growth pressure are all described so systematically that it seems that the same experience is being occurring in the real life!

Also, the message in the book about moving on with life and the positivity that comes to light towards the end is a good one. The protagonist’s thought about how smallest incidents change the destiny and that one should move on in life if things fall apart rather than wasting  time repenting are worth appreciating. It feels good that the author wanted to leave his readers with a thought to ponder on.

What I liked most is the simple way the book describes a teenager life, his emotions, his struggles, his grief, his confusion, in other words all the emotions that usually creates turmoil in a regular teenager’s life.

Though the ending was quite hasty and abrupt, the title is justified and you will know why at the end of the story. According to me, the end could have been more interesting and few grammatical mistakes could have been avoided. 

'When She Smiled' by Ritoban Chakrabarti is a heart warming story which makes you feel nostalgic for childhood days of thrill, romance and excitement. Irrespective of age or genre you prefer, go for it, but with no expectations. Read it just to have a light and youthful delight. A must read for romantics.

Ratings - 3.5/5

P.S: This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

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