Title: When she smiled
Author: Ritoban Chakrabarti
Publisher: Notion Press
Though I had promised myself that I would read more this year, reading has taken a backseat in these first two months and so has writing. There were a lot of things to be done and very little time to do them. But now that everything is settled, I am trying to get back to both reading and writing. And that is why I signed in to review "When she smiled".
"When she smiled" is a story of how a teenager comes to terms with this destiny. This is the story of Mrityunjoy Roy, a fifteen year old Bengali. He has spent 10 years of his life in Shimla studying in the DAV School and then he studies in a Sainik School with the dream of joining the army. An accident makes him unfit to join the armed forces and he returns to Shimla. The story is set at a time when he returns to Shimla to complete his higher secondary studies in DAV School. Mrityunjoy is better known as just "Roy" among his peers. He is brought up in a household where studies mean everything. He has a strict father whose temper has at times serious injuries to the three siblings. Roy's siblings are good at studies and he is expected to follow their footsteps.
Roy's ordinary life changes when he sees Akanksha who is the prettiest and most popular girl in class. She attends the same Physics tuition classes as him and Roy is eager to make an impression on her. Be it dressing in the best of his not so good casuals or solving difficult Irodov problems, he tries his best to woo her. And then she gets closer to him and he is happy. His classmates are jealous of him. But all that Roy cares about is the time he spends with Akanksha mainly the walks among the scenic beauty of Shimla.
And then things go downhill. Akanksha doesn't treat him the way she used to and she starts hanging out with others and that makes our hero jealous. He tries to make things better but things become worse and he feels lonely. The dance, the picnic make him realize that Akanksha is better off without him. The sudden death of his sister make it more difficult for him. The story continues about the realization that dawns on Roy and his decisions thereafter.
The novel is the first novel by the author and looks to be a decent effort for a first timer. The part about the book that I liked was the description about the scenic beauty of the hills. Few of the incidents mentioned in the book connect with the readers as it is something that each one of us goes through as teenagers. The author has done justice to the beauty of the hills but not to the beauty of the emotions. That feeling of first love, the emotions that one goes through during a breakup, the jealousy that follows have not been brought out well. The pace of the story is too slow. After Akanksha goes away from Roy there is nothing left to add to the story. The climax is abrupt and could have been ended in a better way. The thing that I didn't like about the book was the many typos and the grammatical errors.
Hope to have some better stories from the author in the future.
My rating: 1.5/5
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