Thursday, September 27, 2012

Review: The Krishna Key


Title: The Krishna Key
Author: Ashwin Sanghi
Published: 2012 by Westland Ltd
Pages: 464
Price: Rs. 250
My Rating: 4/5!

Blurb from Goodreads

Five thousand years ago, there came to earth a magical being called Krishna, who brought about innumerable miracles for the good of mankind. Humanity despaired of its fate if the Blue God were to die but was reassured that he would return in a fresh avatar when needed in the eventual Dark Age—the Kaliyug.

In modern times, a poor little rich boy grows up believing that he is that final avatar.

Only, he is a serial killer.

In this heart-stopping tale, the arrival of a murderer who executes his gruesome and brilliantly thought-out schemes in the name of God is the first clue to a sinister conspiracy to expose an ancient secret—Krishna’s priceless legacy to mankind.

Historian Ravi Mohan Saini must breathlessly dash from the submerged remains of Dwarka and the mysterious lingam of Somnath to the icy heights of Mount Kailash, in a quest to discover the cryptic location of Krishna’s most prized possession. From the sand-washed ruins of Kalibangan to a Vrindavan temple destroyed by Aurangzeb, Saini must also delve into antiquity to prevent a gross miscarriage of justice.

My Thoughts
I’m admitting, having read only a few Indian authors, that too contemporary, I held a general, biased view for Indian authors. The old ones used to be good, the new ones with those college-type stories? Nope. But oh-my-god! Ashwin Sanghi is so not like that! I had heard a lot of great stuff about Chanakya’s Chant, maybe even added it to my TBR, but hadn’t really got around to reading it. So when The Krishna Key was up for review at blogadda.com, I thought, why not? He created an interesting-sounding bestseller, this one might be good too. For a change, I was actually right. This is one serious author!

The book is based on ancient history, primarily that of Krishna, mixed with the present day scenario where there are historians, researchers, nuclear-stuff-researchers, maniacs and lawyers, having an in-depth knowledge about this history. Some of them are working on proving that Krishna wasn’t just a myth, but had really existed and boy-oh-boy, does that make this book so interesting! I had actually never been able to understand a single thing about ancient history before, and I guess if books like this are made for school kids, they’d never forget it. Okay, coming back to the topic. One, the book’s filled with a lot of information. When it begins, there’s a murder, a very scary-looking mystery, some fascinating facts and a chase begins. The celebrated historian who was murdered, Anil Varshney, had been successful in discovering four mudras, or seals that supposedly related to the time of Krishna. He decided to provide the four seals to four of his friends and well-educated men in their respective (and related) fields, one of them being Ravi Mohan Saini, who plays an important role in the book.
 
The best thing about this book was the wonderful findings about history, about all those places related with Krishna: Dwarka, Mount Kailash, Mathura, the Somnath temple, about the Indus Valley Civilization Saraswati civilization, the Mahabharata, the Vedas, the wonderful and jaw-dropping information related to the history of various clans and religions and about different religious symbols and their actual meanings! I felt astounded with all that information. But as the book progresses, I think the reader might start getting confused, unless he’s been reading it very carefully. I found myself having to refer to the previous pages to re-check some facts and then move on. Towards the last 100 pages or so, I kind of thought ‘too-much-information’!

The second unique thing about the book was that there were 108 chapters, each of them beginning with the story of Krishna, from Krishna’s POV, beginning with how Vishnu decided to stay on Earth as Devaki’s eighth child. The snippets in italics from Krishna’s POV are interesting, as for me, it gave a lot of information and I read a story I never before understood. Now I can say I do know something about that too! However, these only added value in the beginning. True, what part of the story relates to the present was somehow related with the parts of the story narrated about Krishna’s life, but when the book’s going at a strong pace, like, a scene with interesting turns and your heart’s beating wild, these snippets break the flow of your reading. Towards the later part, I mostly skim-read those, didn’t make much of a difference. Though it did help (in the beginning) in understanding the story better, as we get adequate background to the real story/myth. And oh! The number 108: it’s been emphasised a lot and there are a hell lot of things about the ancient significance of this number!  

The pace of the events and the thrill, keeps readers hooked. It’s very well researched, like very. It’s evident, even if you don’t look at those pages and pages of references! It’s actually impressive, and I’m personally a great proponent of books that are intellectually stimulating. :)

Now, coming to the thing that popped up in my mind, that was there quite a lot of times and in the two reviews I read about this book, they mentioned it too. As I began reading, after a few pages I thought, ‘This is so like Dan Brown!’ Really, Dan Brown talked of history relating with the Bible, Ashwin Sanghi talks about similar stuff using the Bhagwad Gita! There were definitely a lot of similarities, but I don’t mind that much, I realize. Because even from all those researched works, you realize that all that history is intermingled. What all those ancient Jesus-related symbols meant are just the same as Indian ones, only with different names. Apart from information overload, too much of the real epic breaking the flow of reading, this was the only thing I thought could have been improved. But even then, it's okay!

I was too focused on all the fascinating pieces of information to focus on characters, though I was definitely shocked to see the change that happened. They weren’t much predictable. The other thing I didn’t much like was, too many murders! Gruesome, somewhat. Anyway, it’s still a great read, if you want to learn more about ancient history and believe me, as boring as these two words sound, it’s actually very interesting! Also, if you’re into reading books with a lot of knowledge and those that have a thrilling plot, be sure to read this book! Highly recommended! Just make sure you have a lot of time with less breaks, in case you’d forget what you read before.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Blogadda.com. Participate now to get free books!

Review: Jump!

Title: Jump
Author: Elisa Carbone
Published: 2010 by Viking (Penguin Group)
Pages: 258
Price: Rs. 250
My Rating: 4/5!

From the book's cover
P.K. wants out. Out of town before her parents ship her off to boarding school, and out West where she can rock climb to her heart's content. Trouble is, she needs a climbing partner, and none of her friends is up for it.

Critter wants out, too. He's had enough of the mind-numbing drugs in the psych ward. And he's ready to climb anywhere with a girl drop-dead cute as P.K. Trouble is, he doesn't know her.. yet.

They begin as strangers, but life on the run and their shared passion for the rocks draw them closer everyday. Not only are they climbing in awesomely beautiful national parks like Yosemite, but they seem totally made for one another. Then the cops show up, with an arrest warrant, and P.K. and Critter have to decide whom to trust with their lives- the families they left behind or each other.

My thoughts
Jump, for me, turned out to be a book that would be responsible if I actually go out and learn rock climbing, after mountaineering. Or is it included? I'm not sure. Anyway, as I'm already in love with the idea of mountaineering, I naturally picked this book up from the library as soon as I saw the lovely cover! I was about to return it back without reading (less time :| ) but the library was closed that day. I started reading this on my way back and just adored it in the first few pages itself!


P.K. is a lot like me in a lot of aspects. Except of course, I'm not into rock climbing since the age of 12 nor do I have the guts to run away from home, before I'm sent to boarding school, to actually 'live your life the way you want, free from the stupid society shackles'. But I do share her view of how education and school's system makes us more stupid and closed than what we could do if we have more practical kind of a knowledge. Like, consider this from the book: 'Although compulsory schooling was begun in this country mainly in hopes of educating people worthy of democracy, other goals also imbedded themselves in the educational system. One was the goal of creating obedient factory workers who did not waste time by talking to each other or day-dreaming. ~ The Teenage Liberation Handbook by Grace Llewellyn'. Just about sums up my own thoughts.

Otherwise, P.K.'s actually smart, a solid rock climber, too much into her dream of climbing the great rocks, an adventurer, and worries like any normal teenager. She actually grows to like Critter, however annoying he may be. Critter's 'problem' seems like something scary at first, but as you get to know more about him, you realize that what he knows and believes in is actually very interesting and just like the Law-of-Attraction-made-famous-by-Rhonda-Byrne thing, apart from the philosophical stuff about living life to the fullest. Liked that thinking!

In general, I loved the descriptions of all the events, especially the zest about the climbing. It's been described so beautifully, I so felt like just being there and doing that climbing with those guys! The sequencing of events was fun, the chase felt realisctic, though I did feel surprised at the amount of trouble they're ready to get involved in for an adventure. I guess love for something makes you do that. To make it a bit realistic, P.K. does get scared, but Critter's always there with his continuous stream of 'live in the here and the now' thing. In fact, I've started looking at stuff that way too! :P

The different POVs in the book make it slightly different, as in, the book's more like a diary of sorts, with one P.K.'s POV then Critter's. It does help see things from the points of view of two different individuals with their own share of troubles, but sometimes it gets confusing. Also, I hate to say it, but the ending!!! It-SO-could-have-been-more! We knew Critter was going to have a problem later and I expected something about him too, as was the case for P.K. But no, there was a short happy ending, kind of abrupt and what exactly would Critter's future be, no idea! I didn't like that, I'm more of a 'give-me-a-complete-story-with-a-well-explained-ending sort of a reader. Anyway, it is a fun read, gives you a lot of info about rock climbing and is funny! 

Recommended for readers looking for a light, love-cum-sports-adventure story, those who can handle differing POVs after every page and not get confused and adventure lovers in general! 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Review: The Cubicle Manifesto ...

Author Mainak Dhar

Title: The Cubicle Manifesto
Author: Mainak Dhar (click to know more about the author)
Published: by Random House India, 2012
Pages: 113
Price: Rs. 150
Genre: Self-help
My Rating: 4.5/5!

The book starts with the definition of ‘To Cubicle’: ‘The act of sitting in a confined workspace for extended hours, stifling interpersonal communication, creativity, and any other expression of individuality, which makes the individual forget life beyond the immediate demands of the job’.

The Cubicle Manifesto is essentially a self-help book for pure workaholics, who’re stuck in their cubicles voluntarily or due to the demanding nature of their jobs. Written as a narrative, it’s a story about how a young and harried manager, Mayukh, discovers a new way of life beyond the cubicle- thanks to what Mayukh thinks is a virus. He’s always been a primp when it comes to work, he finds it hard to settle and think of anything much beyond his work and office. Leaving for home late at night and in the process missing dinner with his wife Sudha and three year old son, Aadi, checking his BlackBerry every night, had become a lifestyle for Mayukh, until his laptop’s been taken over by a mysterious (and sometimes funny) virus.

When the virus first strikes, he’s agitated. There’s a very important presentation coming up in the next week and he’s hell bent on making it a success. But his laptop wouldn’t show anything apart from a single message on a white screen ‘The spectre of cubicle tyranny is haunting you’. While he tries to decipher the message, make his laptop run again, new messages flash based on what he’s been thinking. For instance, he scheduled a meeting at 6 in the evening, but without his laptop, he’s forced to shift the meeting to the next morning. That’s when he notices his team feeling relieved and happy and enthusiastic in the morning meeting. The virus seems to understand Mayukh and does what should be done, even when Mayukh feels the opposite. Gradually he realizes that he’s been able to have more dinners with his family, enjoy outings and increased his happiness in the process. Mayukh starts believing in the virus as he sees positive changes in him and in his team (he started interacting more with them, by going out for lunch with his team rather than grab a hurried bite sitting in his cubicle). In just a week, he’s living a life he couldn’t have believed he could, just by altering a few minutes and habits from his ‘schedule’.

My Thoughts
I actually enjoyed reading this book so much, it really took me by surprise! I never thought a self-help book could be this interesting. The best thing of course, is the narrative aspect. Stories attract and help you retain some useful pointers. The even better thing was the idea of Mayukh’s laptop (and BlackBerry) infested by a virus that seemed stubborn enough to want him to live his life better. When the virus first struck, it was scary. I mean, the thought of having your computer come up with messages related to what you’re thinking is scary enough! As the story progressed, I started liking the timing and messages the virus gave, they’re actually so useful and really workable. Anyone can apply those pointers in their lives and change the way they’ve been living, controlled by their work lives. Also, the virus did have a sense of humor! Some messages were really funny. ;)

The book gives practical, easy-to-apply ideas that can change anyone’s life for the better. As Mayukh realizes the power of his new living, the virus encourages him to help others suffering from the same cubicle tyranny as he was affected. I really liked the idea of ‘You Corp’ proposed in the book. It says that your life is the company you own and it’s your job to bring its performance to the top, to make sure the stakeholders in You Corp (your loved ones) are the ones you benefit the most. The virus regularly shows Mayukh the graph of his You Corp, which was sloping downwards for a while, ever since he had been too busy to spend time with his family. It peaked up little by little as and when he did something for his wife or son, like have dinner with them, attend his son’s annual function, spending a weekend just with them without thinking about work, starting exercise, etc. It’s just so good!

Another interesting point was the NPV of Happiness, that said that the happiness you’ll derive out of the present moment will be much more than the one you’re postponing, thinking you’d enjoy it later. In other words, a day enjoying a picnic is better than waiting for time to go to Europe for a holiday. Don’t postpone happiness. It really made the whole concept more interesting. Also, it doesn’t just preach what you should do, but also helps you understand how it can really be applied in your life. Meaning, the virus helps Mayukh do all that he needed to do, by adjusting stuff in his schedule. It indirectly talks about time management and really, it’s so simple. 15 minutes for reconnecting brings new ideas and breakthrough deals! I also greatly enjoyed the ending. You’d think with a short book, the ending would be abrupt, but it was just right. :)

 The author has a really good writing style, being able to make the reader understand the concept in such an easy manner. I couldn’t stop reading, to be really honest, it had such a nice flow to it, so that I ended up reading it in one sitting! It’s also a short book and I see it as the kind that even reluctant readers would be able to read without whining much about it.

Overall, it’s a great read, thoroughly enjoyable, gives an amazing message in the simplest and beautiful way possible, a must read for those who can’t think of a life beyond work! Seriously, you’d know how easy it is!

Thank you Random House publishers for sending a copy of this book!


Monday, September 10, 2012

Review: Love, Peace and Happiness

Title: Love, Peace and Happiness: What more can you want?
Author: Rituraj Verma (Author website: http://www.riturajverma.com/)
Published: 2012 by Jufic Books
Pages: 223
Price: Rs. 145
My rating: 3.5/5!

Goodreads blurb!

Stories surround us. Stories about people like us who make difficult and often complex choices that sometimes astound us. You must have come across some people in your own life who closely resemble the characters in these stories. Maybe you have gone through trying moments in your life too. For instance, have you ever been bugged enough with your partner to want to leave? Have you ever had to choose between love and money? Have you ever had to compete with your partner? Have you ever felt that your family weighs you down when it comes to choosing your partner? At times like these, havent you wished that things happened differently and that you could change how they ended? Now you will control how the stories in this book end.


Each story centres on the life of an urban middle class character caught in a set of circumstances beyond his or her control. A Hindu girl living in with a Muslim boy is suddenly in the glare of global media in a reality TV show, a divorced cynical man faces the prospect of committing himself to a prostitute, a highly talented small town girl must choose between life and death. All must resolve the conflicts within their beliefs. Read the way the stories end in the book, but if you dont agree with the ending, visit the website riturajverma.com for alternate endings. If you dont like the way the stories end there either, write your own, and if your ending is selected, see it in print in the next print run with your name in the acknowledgements. Hoping to change the world, one story at a time.


                                                                      My thoughts!
Love, Peace and Happiness is a collection of 9 short stories that explore in depth the lives of urban Indians, different people from different backgrounds, having different stories. The unique aspect of this book is that readers have the choice to change the endings of the stories and go with the ones they find more interesting. No, it isn't like those mystery books where you're given a couple of options as page numbers to choose from, and take the story wherever you want. Rather, you have a couple of urls given at the end of each story. You just need to follow the links (on the author's website), read the alternate endings and if you're not happy with even those, you can write your own! I've just seen one alternate ending for the one story I totally loved and found the alternate one better, somehow!

The best thing about these stories is the depth with which the author has explored the human psyche, of those living a middle class urban life, the problems they face, the emotional dilemmas brought out due to their personal or societal beliefs, the aspirations of those who find themselves caught in the web of social norms and practices, feelings and lives of men and women, rich and poor, happy and unhappy. As is written in the book's 'Introduction' and author notes, the author certainly has spent a great deal of thought and time on understanding people and that's the reason the stories are quite realistic. You know it happens, you've maybe seen something familiar or even been in the midst of something like it. The point is, if you're an urban Indian, you'd know and you'd like reading these stories. 

The stories I personally enjoyed more include:
- A high, like heaven: It explores the details of the lives of a couple recently married, who go for a mountain trek in the Himalayas (and no, this opinion isn't biased based on my personal love for the Himalayas, but because the descriptions, which I find extremely important, were really good!). The husband's obsessed with the idea of finding a certain flower in the mountains and carries on ruthlessly without caring for what his wife wants or even the guide, for that matter. The wife's emotions, the husband's ruthlessness are not just stated, you get to understand it from the text and that's why I think it's so well written!

- The intimacy of space: About a couple in a five year old live-in relationship, this is the story of a Hindu girl and a Muslim boy, who decide to take part in a reality TV show organized by BBC as part of some research work. The girl as it is, finds the boy quite dominating as he denies her her freedom in a lot of ways. During the reality show, there's a lot of emotional turmoil and the girl understands that it's not in her best interests that she stay with the guy. I liked the way the reality show turned the story inside out!

- The practitioner of austerity: If I can be blunt, I'd say this one is the best story in this book and definitely worth a read! It explains the very practical and real dilemma of a girl born poor, but determined to do something to end the poverty at home. With many siblings and elders to take care of, she manages school and at the end, cracks the Civil Services exam! However, it's never been easy for her. With fights among siblings, conflicting interests, low finances, there are problems not just with the protagonist, Aparna, but also with her family members. She's faced with a huge emotional dilemma when she's offered marriage by the man who loves her (and she too, loves him back), but she chooses to stay with her family and help them live. She believes they need her more. The ending here wasn't exactly joyous and that's why I looked up one alternate ending and found that it was much better! (Though, shorter than I would have wanted).

Later in the stories, to my surprise, I found them as extended stories to the ones that were there before. That had both, a positive effect (as we got to know even more about them and the way their lives were after the initial story ends) and a negative effect (when they picked up after many years -where the previous story ends and there it was a bit tedious to make the connection). Nevertheless, it's a new kind of a book and kind of refreshing too. The primary message that comes out of the stories is how satisfied you are in your life. You need love, you need peace and you aim for happiness. The stories revolve around these three things and  explain how different people strive for different things! Can be read while traveling and stuff, as it's a light read!

Sometimes I thought the endings were abrupt, as it wasn't written as much in depth as the rest of the story was. Maybe that was because of the alternate ending thing? That's what I felt was missing. Then there were a couple of stories I didn't enjoy as much as the ones I've mentioned, but that may totally be because I'm not usually reading those kinds of stories. As the author says, different readers would read the book differently! I wouldn't complain about the writing style, it's really good! It's detailed, it's easy to understand, it's a light read and it's quite descriptive. All good! 

Recommended for: Short story lovers, fans of contemporary Indian authors.
This book was received for review.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Review: Legally, Lovingly Yours

Author Abhishek Bose

Author: Abhishek Bose
Published: 2011, Mahaveer Publishers
Pages: 167
Price: Rs. 125

From the Book’s cover
Love-hate-jealousy-admiration-amity-animosity-friendship-enmity- for people in general may be only words, but for eighteen year old Abhishek Banerjee these words turned out to be life-changing experiences over the next five years.

He harboured dreams of studying in a good college, to make new friends there, to have a girl by his side as his girlfriend, and above all, to carve out a niche for himself and leave his mark. He started realizing his dreams when he got selected to study in the Animus Law School, one of the premier private law schools of the country. But, on the very first day he realized that Lady Luck was not on his side.

Could he make new friends as he had yearned for? Did he meet and get the girl he dreamt of? Was he able to make his mark? If no, then why not? If yes, the how?

My Thoughts
I found this book to be a fun read. As the author himself points out, there are contemporary Indian authors who’ve been to engineering and management institutes but we haven’t really heard of those with a degree in law. Abhishek Bose is a student at ICFAI University Law School in Dehradun and his book is all about the five college years of the protagonist, Abhishek Banerjee’s life.

The first thing I felt good about is the story. It’s actually a very interesting one, especially about how Abhishek bumps into a girl first day in college and falls in love with her. The girl however, is furious and after a series of pitiful misunderstandings, she hates Abhishek like anything. The story revolves around Abhishek and his group of friends who call themselves the ‘DU’ (for ‘Diversity Unified’), as they do what all college students undertake during those years. They have fun, mess around, participate in competitions, do their internships, crush over people, perform like geniuses or like total nutcases, get appreciated or get reprimanded and try to win over their respective ‘loves’. If you just see the story, it’s interesting and funny and something we can all relate to.


Initially I was hesitant about this book, particularly because one, I usually don’t read contemporary Indian authors and two, I’m not very fond of love stories. But my experience with this book was better than I had expected it to be, though I do have some (personal) qualms about it.

Coming to characters, Abhishek is a smart one, he’s a great speaker and orator, intelligent, wins a lot of competitions (and people) and an honest, sincere guy. At some parts however, he comes across as someone who’s clueless about stuff, especially some things related to Lavanya, the girl of his dreams. While reading you know what’s happening and it’s actually obvious, but when Abhishek shakes his head, you feel like, ‘Oh God, how can anyone not know?’ That was the only thing about the protagonist that I didn’t much enjoy. The other characters were pretty much in the story but the readers couldn’t connect to them as well as with Abhishek because we didn’t have adequate background about them.  The second thing I thought could have improved the book is descriptions. In some places it was good, but in others, we were moving in and out from different scenes very quickly. But then, as this book’s a light read, it’s not a big issue. The story’s good anyway! ;)

The message that this book puts across is that one should have a ‘never-say-die’ spirit, as shown by Abhishek who takes on all sorts of challenges imposed by default or by deliberate action by others and with this will-power, he pretty much overcomes the inhibitions. There are all sorts of experiences evenly balanced out, so you don’t feel too influenced by either the positive emotions or the negative ones. The writing style is quite simple, very simple, if I put it bluntly. This opinion may however, be influenced by the fact that I’m not used to reading these light books. For those who do enjoy such reads would find it easy and good! Overall, it’s a fun, light read and recommended for those who like reading Indian contemporary authors with stories about life and love and college!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Review: Handle With Care

Author Jodi Picoult
Title: Handle With Care

Author: Jodi Picoult
Pages: 477
Price: Rs. 580 at Flipkart
Publisher: Atria Books
My Rating: 4/5 !


Handle With Care is the second Jodi Picoult (pronounced as 'Pee-koh', by the way) book I've read. The first one was My Sister's Keeper (which I haven't reviewed, thanks to the new gruelling schedule) and that had me hooked (and emotionally charged up). Thus it was only natural that I'd pick up another Jodi Picoult book if I see it on the shelves in the library. God, it looked so inviting and I'm totally glad I read this one! It was simply, purely, just an amazing experience. Like, I'm officially now a big Jodi Picoult fan! *clap clap* ;)

Goodreads blurb!

Things break all the time.

Day breaks, waves break, voices break.

Promises break.
Hearts break.
Every expectant parent will tell you that they don't want a perfect baby, just a healthy one. Charlotte and Sean O'Keefe would have asked for a healthy baby, too, if they'd been given the choice. Instead, their lives are made up of sleepless nights, mounting bills, the pitying stares of "luckier" parents, and maybe worst of all, the what-ifs. What if their child had been born healthy? But it's all worth it because Willow is, well, funny as it seems, perfect. She's smart as a whip, on her way to being as pretty as her mother, kind, brave, and for a five-year-old an unexpectedly deep source of wisdom. Willow is Willow, in sickness and in health.

Everything changes, though, after a series of events forces Charlotte and her husband to confront the most serious what-ifs of all. What if Charlotte should have known earlier of Willow's illness? What if things could have been different? What if their beloved Willow had never been born? To do Willow justice, Charlotte must ask herself these questions and one more. What constitutes a valuable life?


My thoughts!
This book is based on five year old Willow, suffering from a rare disease caused by genetic mutations called 'osteogenesis imperfecta' or OI for short, diagnosed during Charlotte O'Keefe, Willow's mother's ultrasound done at around 27 weeks of pregnancy. When the magnitude of the disease is revealed after that ultrasound, the O'Keefe family (Charlotte, her husband Sean and daughter Amelia) is in a state of shock. However, Charlotte is certain she wants the baby and promises to do whatever it takes to make Willow's life as comfortable as possible.


At the time the story's narrated, Willow is five years old, but looks like three. However, it's common for kids with OI to have a short stature and Willow's smarter than most people much older than her. She's funny, emotionally strong (as far as five year olds go) and a lovable kid. Charlotte spends all her time taking care of Willow, while Sean's trying to earn enough for the expenses that insurance won't cover. Amelia loves her sister, but when parents are focusing on one child, the other feels neglected and takes upon themselves to find a way to attract attention, which is what Amelia does. Apart from the small troubles Amelia gets into, she gradually turns bulimic (bulimia is an eating disorder. Read more about it on wikipedia), which is addressed towards the end of the book.

It's a heartbreaking, yet beautifully narrated story that takes the readers completely into the plot, into every single character's life, in great detail. It's not just Willow, you get to understand all that a mother goes through, seeing one daughter break so many times, struggling to keep the another into focus. A father's anger and dilemma as he struggles to earn enough, a girl seeing her sister and her whole family live a life where everything's done with 'care'. You read about a beautiful friendship break because of a lawsuit, a lawsuit that's the central focus of the book. In an encounter with a lawyer, they get a new insight: if Willow's condition could have been diagnosed earlier (during the ultrasound done at 18 weeks, where there was a tiny difference that the physician should have checked, but didn't), Charlotte could have had the pregnancy terminated. With this argument, if Willow's parents succeeded in winning the lawsuit by suing the doctor for medical malpractice, they could get millions that could be used for Willow's future medical expenses and equipment that would help her lead a comfortable life. 

However, here's the catch: The doctor in question is Piper, Charlotte's best friend, and two, that Charlotte would have to argue that she'd have dropped Willow had she known about it earlier (while in reality, she never would have done that). Charlotte sees the future, but Sean sees the relationships that this lawsuit could harm. Willow would listen to her mother saying she wished she wasn't born, Amelia would lose her friend, Emma (Piper's daughter), the relationship between Piper's family and the O' Keefe's would sever. Agitated at his wife's decision, he goes against her. All through the book, there are dilemmas, both moral and ethical. And relationships. It's simply a beautiful, detailed read about a family and its tribulations, how they live if one member of a family's disabled. Though there are some controversies and issues in and out of the book, I still liked it. Loved it, rather. :)

I felt a mild turmoil inside me while and after reading the book. There are so many things we take for granted in our lives. True, our lives are not perfect, but it's still better than many. The way it was written is so profound, it takes your breath away, literally! And I'll admit, I cried when Jodi Picoult's book, My Sister's Keeper ended and I thought this one would be similar. This might have been true, had I not felt extremely sad and slightly angry with the ending. I don't want to put any spoilers, but it really didn't work for me. :| 

There are some quotes from the book I loved a lot: 

“People always say that, when you love someone, nothing in the world matters. But that's not true, is it? You know, and I know, that when you love someone, everything in the world matters a little bit more.” 

“I think you can love a person too much.
You put someone up on a pedestal, and all of a sudden, from that perspective, you notice what's wrong - a hair out of place, a run in a stocking, a broken bone. You spend all your time and energy making it right, and all the while, you are falling apart yourself. You don't even realize what you look like, how far you've deteriorated, because you only have eyes for someone else.” 


“People changed. Even the people you thought you knew as well as you knew yourself.”

“Things break all the time. Glass and dishes and fingernails. Cars and contracts and potato chips. You can break a record, a horse, a dollar. You can break the ice. There are coffee breaks and lunch breaks and prison breaks. Day breaks, waves break, voices break. Chains can be broken. So can silence, and fever... promises break. Hearts break.”

Recommended for: Everyone, actually. Especially if you love family stories. 

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