17 September, 2014

#BookReview :: The Helpline by Uday Mane

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. As his story reaches its conclusion, Rachael will know the true reason behind his suicidal tendencies. But this suicide helpline is not any ordinary service. There is more to the mysterious and yet so convincing voice of Rachael. As this new mystery begins to unfold, Samir is going to discover three things: 

What is The Helpline? 
Who is Rachael? 
What is Samir’s own identity? 

Our first protagonist is Samir, a typical youth of this generation who is struggling with his life. He feels lost and blames himself for the tragedies in his life. Out of desperation, he calls The Helpline for the suicidal and connects with our second protagonist, Rachel. As he narrates the story of his life to this stranger over the phone, and more importantly a stranger who seems to understand him, the story unfolds… What is the Helpline? Who is Rachel? And most importantly, does Samir manage to get out of his situation or does he finally succumb to his suicidal impulses.

Suicide is a common element of our lives. Each day we read about or hear about suicides on the telly. Recently the number of suicides among the youth has gone up – be it as a result of ragging or failed relationship or academic pressure… There are people who would say that suicide is a coward’s way out, but I do not agree. It takes guts and desperation to go against human’s basic instinct of self preservation. So, I was attracted to this book in the first place because it handles this topic.

The character of Samir is such that everyone will be able to identify with some parts of him. He is the most well fleshed out character in the story and we get to know him slowly and steadily as he narrates is his life’s story.  Then there is Rachel… Well, I will not say much about her here in the review, other than the fact that she intrigued me from the very beginning. There are several other characters who play some role in Samir’s story. Riya and her brother Siddhartha play a significant role. The plot discusses various issues out of the pages of our lives – from depression to suicidal impulses to the various forms of pressures that a person has to endure in our society. The author takes us on Samir’s journey of self discovery. Both the plot and the characters showed huge potential that the debut author has delivered them both quite well. Uday Mane uses simple language that is easy to get into. The story is well narrated and the pace is set just right.

Overall, this book presented for an exciting read that I did enjoy a lot. It is really nice to realize that not all young authors of today’s generation is going into the well practiced commercial romance stuff and that some do stand out with their novels with some serious content.

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