By now you must have guessed that I am an ardent reader and have read countless novels till now. Reading is one of the best ways to disconnect yourself from the real world yet it gives you a new outlook on the daily life and objects in this world. I just finished “When She Smiled” by Ritoban Chakrabarti and now I have started with “Shantaram” by Gregory David Roberts. That review will follow soon.
“When she smiled” is a touching story of a young Bengali boy called Mrityunjoy Roy who falls in love with a dimpled young girl called Akanksha. The Story revolves around their teenage love story in the serene hills of Shimla and Kasauli. He comes from a well educated and academically oriented family but everything goes out of the window when Akanksha joins the school. To make things worse, she joins his tuition and thus begins a tale of puppy love, first heartbreak and self-discovery.
The things I loved about the book are the passages which describe Mrityunjoy’s love for Akanksha, his adventures with his brother Sid, the simplicity of Mrityunjoy’s lifestyle and his family, and how the family pressure of getting good grades drives a child to the wall. Somewhere deep within my heart, I felt sad for Roy when his teacher slaps him for cheating and when his father beats him for his academic performance. The story of how a friend stays with you during the difficult times is well narrated when Roy’s friend offers him advice and listens to all his obsessive love tales about Akanksha. The tragic death of Roy’s elder sister is heart-breaking. At the end, Roy is over Akanksha and has a new view of life. You will be catapulted back to your school days where first crushes and trying to turn them into “love” was so common!
This book, despite being targeted towards teens, teaches all of us things which help us live our lives in a better way. There is one quote which says “It gets better with time. I know you feel like this is the end of the world, but it isn’t. Time heals all wounds. The scars remain but you can always live with them” which teaches are of us that everything is written and at the end you will realize that it was never random!
Overall, a one sided love story of puppy love, heartbreak and the journey towards self discovery. This book will mostly appeal to teens and mature readers like me will not like this book. I read this book reminding myself constantly that this is for teens and wrote this review from the perspective of a teen. This is a very light and fresh book and if you want to go back to your early days when you used to wear your heart on your sleeve and this is a perfect throwback. But overall I feel that it could have been written with a more mature point of view since the writer is not a teenager.
Rating: 3/5 as me, 4/5 if I was a teen!