Tag Archives: book review

Have you finished reading Bound by Life?

Hope you’re all well in these trying times. Personally, I am going through a tough time, given someone very close to me is hospitalized. A good night’s sleep has now become a privilege. It was only last night, after a good part of the week, I finally caught an okay amount of sleep.

I’m trying my best to move on from this crisis and keep my life as normal as I can. I am trying to spend time doing the things that give me joy. If you’re currently in this situation, know that even if you feel alone, there are millions who are undergoing the same excruciating emotional wave right now. Know that I’m praying for everyone’s recovery because in this war, we can each be safe when everyone of us is safe.

Anyways, looking beyond all the negativity, I wanted to check in on something with you guys. If you’ve been on this blog last month, you might know that I was running a free book promotion of my first book of stories, Bound by Life. If you happened to get the book during the promotion, then do let me know if you’re enjoying reading the book so far. If you could, do leave me a review on Amazon. It would help me take your feedback and build onto that in my new book, a WIP at the moment.

Thank you in advance!

Book Review | Mahashweta

Last week, I was going through Kwench library. I happened across a book by Sudha Murty, the name of which I do not remember now. The blurb interested me. However, the book was in circulation at the time and I had to opt for a different book.

I chose Mahashweta by the author, which is the story of Anupama, who contracts vitiligo (a skin condition in which the skin becomes white in color). The book narrates how she is abandoned by her husband because of the condition and how, after a lot of struggle, she finds a place of her own in life.

The book was potent for me. Having had vitiligo for close to ten years now, I know the ordeal. While reading the book, I remembered the horror of the initial days when I contracted it. I would go to sleep every night, scared that when I woke up in the morning, some other portion of my body would be white. As a ninth grader, it was not easy to accept this about myself. I was in my teenage years, when boys and girls start to become conscious of their looks. In just one day, life had changed for me. Concerned elders spoke about how things would get difficult for me during marriage, because who would want to marry a girl with white patches?

Public knowledge about vitiligo is quite vast these days. People (at least the ones I have come across) understand that it is a cosmetic disease. The disease is not contagious, not has it been proved that it is hereditary (no one in my family had it). Many people have more serious diseases and get married off easily because these diseases do not happen to leave external proof.

However, understanding the mechanics of the disease is something and to emotionally accept it is another. In reality, like Anand in the book, we all look for perfection. We want our wives and our husbands to look beautiful. Lot of us want to show off our spouses as symbol of perfection – it just strokes our ego.

Every time a relationship that could have worked out for me but did not, I have wondered if somewhere, the white patches on the skin contributed in any manner to the decision taken. Throughout my teenage years, and even today, I am still conscious of them. I still prefer wearing dresses with high collar.

However, unlike my teenage years, now it is easy to accept this fact about myself. Now, I can go about my day doing multiple other things, without even thinking once that I have vitiligo. But I am at a juncture of life when marriage does not look too distant. I do wonder, from time to time, how my skin condition affects my marital prospects in 21st century. I guess I will find out!

Mahashweta, at mere 150 pages, is a wonderful story. It realistically narrates the sentiments of myriad sections of people: a mother-in-law who is willing to overlook lapses in moral conduct of her own daughter, but treats her daughter-in-law like a piece of shit because she has white patches on her skin. A doctor, who in spite of knowing the medical implications of vitiligo, ignores the social implications of the same for his wife and chooses to abandon her when she needs him the most. But the best part about the book was the epilogue by the author where she describes how her book made a man change his decision to not marry the bride who had just contracted vitiligo. It moved me to tears.



‘Getting it’

Life hasn’t been particularly nice since I returned to Bangalore two weeks back. Work has been crazy. I got into a couple of fights. The fights I had came from a place where I was trying to make things better, for myself and for other people. But in this universe, it is really difficult to communicate with someone the exact motivations of your actions.

I have started being more accepting about some things, a little defensive about some other things. Feels like I am reaching a point where I am really ‘getting it’. I am getting what all the politics, all the TV shows are about. It is like I am seeing things through a new lens. I am finding it easier to relate to symbolism and metaphors. Even though the last two weeks have not been spectacularly nice, I am gaining a rare clarity in my life.

I am also realizing a braver side to me which I did not know existed. It is interesting how certain losses impact us, make us stronger. I feel like I have shed a self. I am standing up for my beliefs more often now. I am learning to be more straightforward, because the situations are making me do things that I couldn’t possibly have done before. There are still pangs of guilt for when I feel I have been a little to blunt. But sometimes, there is a point of no return. It is not a happy place yet, but I am getting there.

Nothing much is happening on the writing front as of now. I have not even got the time to properly promote my second book. So here goes:

If you have read How I tamed the dragon named fear, please leave a review on Amazon. It helps me see through the flaws in my writing and become better at it. It also allows other readers to decide whether they really want to read the book or not. So exercise your right of expression and let your thoughts be known. Even if you absolutely hated the book! 😀

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“How I Tamed the Dragon Named Fear” is an interactive self-help book with an autobiographical element designed to guide individuals in dealing with fear and anxiety in everyday life. Engaging, encouraging, and easy to follow, this book motivates the reader to live a fuller life by changing their outlook towards fear and the negativity induced by it.



How feminist is Gone Girl?

I remember looking at the picture of the slender Gillian Flynn beside the description of Gone Girl on Kwench and wondering, ‘Wow, how pretty she is!’ To believe something such sinister could be plotted and made into a book by someone so beautiful seemed unlikely, but having seen the movie, I knew what to expect. The sheer wickedness of this book stuns you and makes you wonder if this could really be true, and how insane it would be if it were true. I understand people go through nightmares in their married life – often in the form of abuse – but for someone to be so sinister-ish sends chills across the spine.

I wonder if Flynn is the modern feminist who likes to take a dig at men by making Amy, a girl with a name as cute as Amy, the ultimate anti-hero – someone who’ll make you sick to the stomach, so sick that you dare not be unkind to her. Dare not abuse her.

ggAmy is brilliant, and she seeks validation in everything. I somewhat relate to her, because I have a similar streak – I seek validation and it is something I am working on. So when she wants revenge, I understand her motive. When she wants to punish, I feel her anger. You cannot, like Nick, but be amazed by the sheer brilliance of Amy’s mind. What are you thinking? What have we done to each other?

Flynn, on so many levels, brings out a clear picture of compromised married life. Boy meets girl, or vice versa – things seem great for a year or two and then begins the same old drama of being pissed out, being angry at all times at each other’s annoying habits, tired of the smooth sameness that everyday life brings. I wonder, as I think of a married life ahead, if it is possible to be happy all through life, to promise yourself and someone else that you will not be like the average couple who start picking on each other after a couple of years. When you are young and in love, marriage seems a blissful thing – a new beginning. To have your own home and one person who is really, truly yours. But can you really be content with the same person all through your life? What if some weird habit of his irks you to your toenail and he does not give up on that habit, even after being repeatedly told by you to? Then I think of my parents and the close to quarter century of married life that they have lived together and remember the fights they had while I lived with them, on the simplest of issues -my father not being able to bargain well at the grocer’s, my mother being constantly worried about her aged parents, which pissed my father off at times. And I think, it’s all good. At the end of the day, when your family is gone, your father and mother are dead and siblings, if you had any, are settled somewhere else, you think it is okay to compromise a little and live a okayish married life. Your parents have done that. Your grandparents have done that. And I don’t want broken homes for my kids either.

So, I will never be as sinister as Amy. But as much as you hate her, you cannot but appreciate the nastiness of her scheme and praise her for not giving up. In the end, like Nick, you feel sorry for her, because you wonder how hard it must be to wake up every morning and be Amy.

I enjoyed the biased, parallel two-character narrative that Flynn followed. When the first part gets a little monotonous, Flynn strikes back hard with a completely changed Amy POV, which will shock any first time reader. And I liked it better because unlike in most books, the girl is the real villain. Once in a while, I think it feels good to see others do things that you will be never be able to do. Just to know that there are other possibilities to deal with a situation, as in an Amy way, as opposed to your way. In their own gruesome, scary way, Nick and Amy make a perfect couple.

I also love that Gone Girl is so much more that simply adultery. I like how Flynn captures the effect of joblessness and childlessness on marriage.

Ms. Flynn, respect!


Subject: [Urgent] Require volunteer bloggers to review my first book, Bound by Life

Dear fellow bloggers (especially those of you who blog about books and books by new authors),

I am most delighted to inform you that I have finally finished my first book, Bound by Life. It contains ten short stories based on themes of unrequited love, social issues, diseases, friendship, love and superstitions. It is going to be published soon (June 20, 2015) on Amazon Kindle. You can still pre-order it here.

The first book is always special. Bound by Life familiarized me with my writing style. It taught me a thing or two about what hooks the reader into a story (I thank my wonderful beta readers for this) and overall, made me a disciplined writer.

I am excited to share my stories with the world and am eager to receive feedback. I am open to honest criticism that helps me better my writing skills. After all, I am an engineer by education and English is only my second language, so I am sure there’s room for a lot of improvement.

Over the next few weeks, I will be giving away free reviewer copies of Bound by Life. I want you, dear blogger, to read my book and review it on your blog, thus spreading a word about it on the blogosphere and beyond.

If my proposal interests you, please leave a comment in the form below mentioning why you’d like to read and review my book and I’ll get the book sent over to you in a jiffy! At present, I am giving away pdf copies only. It you’d like another version, please let me know.

Waiting eagerly to hear from you!

Warmest regards,

Arpita Pramanick

Author, Bound by Life.

P.S.: Do check out my other stories on this blog to get an idea about my writing style.