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Book Review of “The Other Side of the Table” by Madhumita Mukherjee

The Other Side of the Table
Madhumita Mukerjee

The other side of the table

The other side of the table

When the book arrived, I was overtly excited to begin reading, given its soothing cover page and quite an appealing format (letters).

The book format quite unusual for a debut writer – in the form of letters, exchanged between two friends – Abhimanyu and Uma.

Spanning almost a decade, the letters reflect the friendship (and eventually the love) shared by the two protagonists. Uma is about 10 years younger to Abhi and is studying medicine in Calcutta, while Abhi is a practicing surgeon in London.

The ten years of their lives, captured through the letters exchanged, make for decent read. With each letter exchanged, you peep a bit deeper in to their lives and discover more about their personalities and surroundings. Their experiences, their joys, their sorrows, the challenge faced, the hurdles overcome, the dreams cherished and the ambitions brewed.

The format definitely is new and gripping but the language got me a little disinterested.

Given the fact that I can’t get myself to put a book down once I begin reading, saw me struggle through certain portions.

There were places where the language was overtly sweet, as if Abhi was trying to “impress” Uma. I personally do not like “sweet talk” or as you say “buttering-up”- for as far as I know, no one in the real world indulges in such verbose as used in the letters. No wonder I was immensely turned off to the extent of wondering if such people do still exist (and if they do, please steer clear of me!)

I agree that the premise of the story, though ordinary, does have a grip. I appreciate the fact that the author did not use medical terminology extensively at the risk of losing her readers. And the emotions, quite relatable, bring you closer to the protagonists.

Overall, it is a decent story of love, loss, friendship, overcoming difficulties and taking a stride in life to bring out the real you.

The story could have been more gripping, personally, had there been less of “jibber-jabber”.


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Book Review of “Potato Chips” by Anshuman Mohan

Potato Chips

by Anshuman Mohan

This one is a crisp and flavored (autobiographical) campus tale by a teenager.

The story is about a school going kid Aman Malhotra who shifts from a small school in Calcutta to St. Xavier’s School. His life changes. And not for the good initially.

The book reads like his journal with pranks, punishments, new friends, new teachers, new school atmosphere and everyday struggles to “fit in” and to balance the new peer pressure.

The childish cheerfulness reflects as the escapades of Aman, Rohan, Ankit and Sameer are described.

And it makes for an enduring read. And of course the story of Shubhoo and his dream of being a tennis star, and the sister with a bad boyfriend and a school buddy with difficult parents make up for a good read.

At quite a few levels you might connect with the story and venture into a flashback of your schooling days. But quite a few instances kind of bring in a reality check – the peer pressure kids face in school, the high tastes, the use of expensive technological gadgets, the social divide amongst the kids –is all a face of reality.

Oh, cut the boy some slack for the grammatical errors and clichéd bits. And the self-centeredness. And the overtly enthusiastic backing from parents. And him being the “hero” of the book.

Overall, ‘Potato Chips’ is a fun read. The title itself is catchy. And yes it is quite entertaining and takes you back to your teenage days. And yes, a good attempt by a young author.

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