Book Review- Beyond School

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DETAILS

Title : Beyond School
Author : Chitra Anand
Publishers :Frog Books (An imprint of Leadstart Publishing Pvt. Ltd.)
Genre : Fiction

THE AUTHOR

A postgraduate in Physics with a degree in education too, Chitra Anand is an educator from Mumbai. ‘Beyond School’ is an idea born out of her journey as an educator. It is her début novel.

THE BOOK

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The cover is striking. It is a riot of colours and things that one can easily relate to mental as well as physical fitness. The cover compliments the title.

Blurb of the book

Beyond School centers upon the weeks leading up to 17 year-old Shail’s final board exams, as his world becomes a pressure cooker and the weight of preparing for the exams sends him fleeing rebelliously in theater direction. Along with Shail’s journey from boyhood to manhood, Beyond School vividly weaves between the narratives of four main characters, seamlessly uniting the past and present of Shail, his parents Urmila and Sushil and his mentor Gladys, in a story that is honest, funny, heartbreaking and ultimately, incredibly human.

WHAT I FELT ABOUT THE BOOK

HIGHS

Story-line – A very relevant and honest account of the happenings around us. Shail stands for that rebellious adolescent who feels he is grown-up and capable of taking care of himself. The concern of his parents towards his studies is to him irritating. We all have gone through this phase in our life. Hence it is easy for us to relate to Shail’s feelings and his rebellious nature.

The story of Urmila and Sushil cleverly woven into Shail’s story is also realistic. The parents in them wish the best for their ward. The stress they undergo as Shail’s Board exams near is understandable. We also get to see the fiery nature of Sushil the committed journalist and the overly anxious motherly concern of Urmila here and there in the story. Aaron and his stern, bullying father, Shruti and her hyper-sensitive, abusive mother are not new to us. They are characters we meet often in our daily life. In fact some of them may mirror us.

The story of Gladys the computer science teacher cum student counselor is brilliantly woven into this story of a boy facing the pressure of the board exams. It is a story of the rise of a wronged girl from a state of helplessness and depression to a warm and strong individual.Gladys comes across as a warm-hearted person with an acumen to deal with adolescents. Her handling of Roha is brilliant. Here we also get to know a father who helped his child tide over a difficult phase in her life and become a strong person.

In short, ‘Beyond School’ is an eye-opener. It is a wake –up call to all those overly ambitious parents who wish to see their dreams fulfilled through their children conveniently forgetting that they too have a dream. It is all about handling the fragile adolescent nature with care and concern.

Characters- The characters are well etched with all their imperfections. The author has done justice to every single character that finds a place in the book.

Language – Simple, lucid and engaging.

LOWS

Editing – A few typos here and there.

A FEW QUOTES I MUST SHARE

“Never brood and submit to a limitation imposed by life.”

“No man is born without some strength. Work according to your strengths.”

“Life can always change for the better.”

“Death is a dubious mirror. It does not show itself, it shows what it left behind the life that was, the lives that are. Through intentional or unintentional acts, foolish humans bring death before its date.”

RECOMMENDATION/ RATING

A thought-provoking book, ‘Beyond School’ is a must read for parents of school going adolescent children. I give this 4/5.

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I thank the author Chitra Anand and Ms.Nimi Vashi who blogs at The Readers Cosmos for being kind enough to send me a copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. This book review is a part of ‘The Readers Cosmos Book Review Programme.’

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Buying Links
amazon// rediffBOOKS // flipkart

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Let me know you have been here. Do leave your comment in the comment section.

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