Wednesday, 3 August 2016

The Helpline - Book Review

If this book wasn’t recommended to me by a friend, I would’ve definitely missed out on it as this is not the kind of book I usually pick off the shelf. The first look of the book, its title and the introduction, give a grim impression of the story. On the cover, words like depression, dreams, pressure, pain, failure, void, form the silhouette of a young guy pointing his hand above his ear in a gun-like gesture; blood splash on the wall; "THE HELPLINE" written in blood red.

The back blurb…

Samir is suicidal. Rachael works for a suicide helpline. Fate connects them through a phone call. And so begins Samir’s story of love, longing, errors, regret and a girl who changed his life.

The helpline Rachael works for is said to be mysterious. What can be so mysterious about a helpline I wondered. So, Samir is a frustrated young lad and Rachael is the girl who changed his life. Simple? No.

The story keeps alternating between present and flashbacks. The start is a bit slow but the story gradually picks up speed. I finished reading the second half of the book in one go. As the writer makes you juggle between the past and present of Samir’s life, you will realise that you know him. You have at least one person in your knowledge who is or was in a similar situation. An increasing number of teenagers are attempting suicide for unfathomable reasons and not many have been brave enough to explore this topic.

Never judge a book by its cover. In this case, don’t judge the book by its editorial mistakes. Yes, there are some easy-to-spot grammatical errors in the book which can be easily ignored if you concentrate on the story. At least I did.

Though this is his debut book, the writer, Uday Mane, seems to be a natural storyteller. He has very intelligently, with his story-telling, given insights on behavioural patterns and emotional wants of a suicidal person. I had taken up this book expecting it to be another teenage love failure story by an upcoming Indian author. And boy, I was proved wrong! This book has made me want to start reading books by Indian authors that are good but not lime-lighted to their worth. 

So before you go and find out Samir’s story, do recommend if you know of any such books.

You can buy the book here: 

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