13 January, 2016

#BookReview :: Ananya: A Bittersweet Journey by Shilpa Gupta

‘I took the test and prayed for the colour of the lines on the strip to stay as they were. But they did not. The test was positive. I felt my entire world come crashing down around me.’
Meet Ananya Sharma, not your regular, teenage girl-next-door. Sure, she loves hanging out with her friends and engaging in whispered confidences at sleepovers, but when it comes to boys, she has competition on her mind rather than romance. 
At school, she is passionate about math and the sciences, 
and completely focussed on cracking the IIT entrance exams. 
But when distraction enters her life in the form of the handsome and charming Rohit, Ananya discovers love, longing and betrayal, all at once. Finding herself pregnant at the age of seventeen, she learns that the world is a very different place once you are on its wrong side. The discovery of the fault lines in 
her parents’ relationship—which until then had seemed perfect to her—further breaks her.

Will Ananya be able to reverse the downward spiral that her life has plunged into and find meaning once again?

From the blurb of the story it is difficult to guess which way the story would sway. This premise could be handled in so many ways and I was curious to know what the author’s take would be and that is why I accepted a review copy of this book from the author.

This is the story of our protagonist Ananya Sharma. She is just another teenage girl who loves to hang out with her friends and do what other kids of her age likes to do. But she stands out in two matters – One she likes Mathematics (really! I still cannot believe it) and is only interested in competing with boys. While her friends are nursing crushes on cute boys, she is busy studying for JEE exams. But in life things do not always go as planned and Ananya discovers that little fact by getting pregnant at seventeen. What happens next? Where will her decisions take her?

Ananya is a character who is easy to identify with. She is an average Indian girl who wouldn’t stand out in a crowd. That is until her trials and tribulations start. That is when her character really opens up and shows us the shades of her personality that were hidden before. It is also easy to sympathize with her because haven’t we all, at some point of our lives, felt like the society was choking us with its restrictions and the judgments passed on our life decisions? The author has given some reprieve by surrounding her with couple of characters who stood strongly by her and gave her the strength. Amit surprised me at a couple of places. I also adored Karuna, Nandini and Sanjana.

The plot and the premise of the story have been handled quite well. This story is a perfect example of how sometimes people discover their true selves after they have gone through some hardship in life. It tells them more about themselves than anything else. 

The author has kept her language simple and the narrative really picks up in the second half of the book. It is pretty easy to get into the story. I felt let down in the sense that I did wish for some surprises along the way, which did not happen. However, I do admire the author for picking up a sensitive issue like teen pregnancy and delivering something that is assuredly more than just another mundane romance novel.

Review Copy received from the Author

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