Category Archives: Book Reviews (FaB 1)

To All Techers with Love

ToSirWithLoveTo Sir With Love’ by E. R. Braithwaite is an inspiring book which mainly deals with the behaviour of teenagers who are treading the path of being extreme rebels just because they have been exposed only to miserable situations and poor neighbourhood crammed with more of social rebels than civilised beings. The book also talks about racism, about student-teacher relationship and the truth of the age old conviction that if a teacher shows respect and love to the students, they reciprocate the same feelings in more than double the measure.

This autobiographical novel set in the East End of London and based on true events tell us of the experiences of E R Braithwaite, a British Guyana born engineer who after having served in RAF as aircrew and demobbed in 1945 ends up as a teacher in a school in the East of London. Inspite of being highly qualified and experienced he was rejected from all engineering jobs often on explicitly racial grounds. Eventually, as advised by a stranger he applies for a teaching post and is assigned in Greenslades School, a Secondary School in London’s East End about which he says ‘There is something rather old about this school, something rather frightening and challenging at the same time’. When he took up the job his students were just a bunch of barbaric savages, unclean in their appearance, indisciplined in their behaviour and with a hostile attitude. Gradually he tries to win over their minds with his stern, but wise and passionate dealings. He tries to wipe clear their minds of prejudices, over comes their initial hostility and teaches them the value of education, good manners and above all self respect. With sincerity and hard work he turns his class of unruly children into a class of dignified young men and women with class.
Braithwaite’s novel is a fascinating look at the effect a good teacher can have on their students. It is an inspiring tale of how minds and attitudes can be changed if people are willing to listen to and treat each other with respect. I would recommend this book to everyone especially those who are engaged in teaching profession.

Jayalakshmi L.

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Mockingjay: A Wonderful Conclusion To An Amazing Series!

Mockingjay is a teen fiction by AmerDSC06336ican author Suzanne Collins. It is the last book of The Hunger Games series, following The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. The book continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, who agrees to unify the districts of Panem in a rebellion against the tyrannical Capitol and its ruthless president.

The book is divided into 3 parts on the “Three Acts” of the book. It picks up where the last book left off. The book revolves around how Katniss adjusts to District 13’s lifestyle and becomes the ‘Mockingjay’ and how she struggles to keep her friends and family safe. The book emphasizes on the effects of war, no matter for what reason it may be. In the beginning Katniss is blinded by hatred to the Capitol and love for her family. The pain of loss is not sugarcoated as she loses many things she holds dear through the story.

Katniss unknowingly provided a spark to the rebellion which turns into a wildfire when she is broken out of the Quarter Quell arena. Katniss is wanted to be the face of the rebellion by providing footage of her acting against the Capitol throughout all the districts. She agrees to follow their plans if the government of District 13 ensures the safety of Peeta, Annie and others and also if they reserve the right to execute Snow to Katniss herself. The rebellion gets all the support it needs and a team of soldiers including Katniss, Gale and others are sent deep into the Capitol to capture it. Meanwhile Katniss has to face an unstable and changed Peeta who has been influenced by the Capitol to believe that Katniss is the real enemy.

This book is an action packed thriller which keeps the reader on the edge of their seats at all times. The author describes the scenes perfectly. The book had me thinking about a lot of things for days. The Hunger Games series and especially Mockingjay is a book I would surely be reading a number of times.

Joel Sam John

Three Bullets and the Story of Perseverance

“I come from a country which was created at midnight. When I almost died, it was just after midday.”

80ba698508f76288e82c306520908022The book titled ‘I am Malala’ is the autobiography of Malala Yousufzai, the 14 year old girl who has drawn worldwide attention for her journey through 3 bullets fired by Taliban, while striving to ensure access to education as a birthright of all children. She hails from Swat valley, a remote valley in northern Pakistan.

The book is actually written by Christina Lamb, a foreign correspondent, during direct interviews with Malala on her hospital bed after her miraculous recovery out of death in Queen Birmingham Hospital, London. Published in 2013, the book is worthwhile for both adults and children and especially for the entire youth with its vibrancy to get determined to bring about changes in this beautiful world for the better.

Even when her land is in turmoil due to the dwelling of Taliban, when she writes about her native valley, she describes it as the most beautiful place in the world. It is her intense love towards her land that is evident when she says, ” Swat Valley is a heavenly kingdom of mountains, gushing waterfalls and crystal clear lakes.”

Even at this age, she holds clear awareness and mature opinions on the political, cultural, social and economic situations prevailing in her country.She has convincing and pacific arguments when she fights for education to all children. Her father Ziauddin Yousafzai, a man of virtue, has played a major role in transforming Malala’s life.

The most inspiring trait that I felt about Malala is her perseverance. Even when she was sure about being attacked by Taliban, as she was attending interviews in a Pakistani local channel, she confidently spoke against the rule of Taliban and denial of access to education to girls. rather than engulfing as such how people interpret their children, she teaches us to interpret our religion by repeatedly approaching our conscience and answering its questions. In this world, when even when elders do not insist on being educated and on educating all children, a 14 year old was ready to sacrifice her life while championing universal access to education.

While being seated in our classrooms, listening to our teachers, it is worth remembering that thousands of children are forcibly denied education and are not able to sit inside a room and read their books. The fact that pleased me the most was her wisdom when she says that if she comes to meet a Taliban militant who comes to kill her, she would first patiently talk to him about the misunderstandings that he holds and make him understand the importance of ensuring education equally to boys and girls.

There was never an instance when she was traumatized, instead each of the 3 bullets that pierced her body really multiplied her courage and will-power. As the youngest ever nominee for Nobel Peace Prize, she believes that Taliban has actually made her struggle global. She is a modal for what every girl in this world should be. The heroine in her kept me close to this book. There can never be a better statement to end the book:

“I am Malala. My world has changed but I have not.”

-Aswathy Venugopal

Huckleberry Finn: The Adventurer

DSC06309This book is like a diary of Huckleberry Finn and has  43 chapters and 232 pages. It’s also a novel by famous  Mark Twain- the author of the book.

If you want to know the story of this book… then you have to definitely read the story written below….. 
The book is something like this –
 
There was a child named Huckleberry Finn who was adopted by a widow Douglas and Miss Watson. One day a thought came to Huck’s mind that one day somebody would come and take all the Huck’s money so he went to Judge Thatcher, with  whom  invested his money.   As he thought, in  the evening itself  his pap  who was always drunk,   came to Huck after visiting Judge Thatcher and forced him to hand over the dollars which he had got and threatened  that he had  to give money by  next day.    He  came  to Huck the next morning asking  money, but  Huck did  not give him any money.  His pap captivated  him into a log cabin. At first  Huck enjoyed  the cabin life, but he decided  to escape.
He set  a  campfire in a forest and after three or four days,  he met  Jim (Miss Watson’s nigger).  They became good companies to one another and they enjoyed  a lot.  While  Huck and Jim lived in the island, the river rose  significantly.  At one point, a  house floated  past them,  as they stood near the shore. Huck and Jim climbed  aboard the house  to see any useable thing inside , but found  a dead man lay on one  corner.   Jim went  over to inspect the body but Huck stayed back.    At a particular moment  they are separated.  He was invited to live with the Grangerfords, there  Huck was treated well.  Afterwards  he  discovered  Jim, hiding in a nearby swamp.  Everything was  peaceful   until the Grangerford’s and the Shepherdson’s had started cross firing.  Grangerford’s  family was perished  in the firing.  Huck  and Jim resumed journey  in a raft downstream.
 Downstream, Huck rescued two humbugs known as the Duke and the King.  Immediately, the two men too control of the raft and started  to travel, making money by cheating people in various towns along the river. They learned about  large inheritance meant for three recently orphaned girls. To steal their  money, the men pretended  to be the uncles of the  orphaned girls.  The girls are so happy to see their “uncles” . Huck decides to protect the girls  from the  men’s will. Huck  stole  the large bag of gold. He hid the gold in Peter Wilk’s (the girl’s father) coffin. Huck confessed  the entire story to Mary Jane and she was  hurt, but was with Huck.  She left  the house so that Huck could escape from there.  Right  after Mary Jane left,  the real Wilks uncles arrived  in town. However, because they lost their baggage on their voyage,  unable to prove their identities. Thus, they have a quarrel and the rapscallions manage to escape and rejoined the raft.
Further downstream, the King and Duke sold  Jim into slavery, claiming he is a runaway nigger  from  Orleans. Huck decided to rescue Jim, and daringly walks up to the house where Jim was kept. Luckily, the house was  owned by Tom Sawyer’s Aunt Sally. Huck immediately pretended  to be Tom. When the real Tom arrived, he pretended  to be his younger brother, Sid Swayer. Together, he and Huck contrive a plan to help Jim escape from his slavery, After a great deal of planning, the boys , one night collected  Jim and ran away. Huck, Jim, and Tom managed to escape, but Tom was shot in the leg by a group of farmers.  Huck met  a doctor, whom he sent to Tom . The doctor returned  with Tom and Jim. Jim is treated badly by Aunt Sally’s family,   until the doctor described  how Jim helped him to take care of the boy.  The doctor demanded to  let Jim free.
At this point, Aunt Polly (mom of  Tom Swayer) came.  She realized something was  wrong after her sister wrote to her that both Tom and Sid had arrived.  Aunt Polly told  them that Jim was indeed a free man, because Miss Watson had passed away and freed him. Huck and Tom give Jim forty dollars for being such a good prisoner.   After all this Huck thought about him telling that “I have got no money, because its likely pap’s been there before now, and got it all away from Judge Thatcher and drunk it up.” 


Jim  revealed  to Huck that the man in the floating house was his pap!! . Huck said  in  the novel stating  that he would never have undertaken the task of writing out his story in a book, had he known it would take so long to complete

Poorna Jayalal

 

 

Godan: A Story of Struggle for a Living

DSC06341Godaan is a novel written by the famous author, Munshi Premchand. Munshi Premchand is a writer whose novel takes us through the realistic lives of people. He is considered as a beginner of a new trend in Hindi literature.

This novel which is set in the pre-colonial period,takes us through a trip through the lives of peasants in India.Godaan,which means ‘the gift of a cow’ is a novel that revolves around the lives of Hori and his family, who represents the peasant society of India. Throughout the novel, we feel that Hori is bearing barriers for carrying a noble and pure heart inside him.

The story starts with Hori buying a cow from Bhola, a cowherd. The arrival of the cow is a symbol of prestige. Hori, with the help of the cow, additionally earns a few annas by selling its milk. Jealous of Hori, his brother,Heera poisons the cow. When police comes enquiring about the cow’s death, Hori bribes the police and is able to remove his brother’s name.Jhunia, Bhola’s daughter gets pregnant by Gobar, Hori’s son. Fearing of the villager’s action,Gobar runs away. Dhania,Hori’s wife, shelters Jhunia and again Hori has to bear the burden of debts because of sheltering a low class girl.Everyone tries to burden Hori.Then Hori lays all his hopes on his son ,Gobar. But Gobar refuses to help him and Gobar settles in the town with Jhunia.

The novel brings out the problems faced by the rural society due to the political system. In the middle, the novel tells us about the love hate relationships between two people of different thoughts –Miss. Malti and Mr.Mehta. Miss. Malti believes on the equality between men and women while Mr.Mehta thinks that women should be given a higher post than men in the society. Hori is trapped in a debt trap.

Through this story Premchand makes us see the problems faced by the peasant society during colonial period. In this story, we can see struggling for a living, till his end. This lead tears to my eyes. This made me to appear in the story and pay off the debts of  Hori and to present them a living of peace and comfort. This story can be described as ‘mind blowing sentimental story. This is a novel which took my mind into the life of the story after the book ‘Kite runner’ which I read long back.

Sandra Joy

Mahashweta: Raising above Prejudices

DSC06312This book  is  about  Anupama  who  with  determination  rebuild  her  life  fighting  against  leukoderma. Anand  and  Anupama  falls  in  love  with  each  other  and  with  blessing  from  their  elders  they  both  gets  married. As Anupama is  from  a  poor  family  and  Anand  from  a  rich  latter’s  family  was  not  so  satisfied  by  her  daughter-in-law.Then a  month  after  their  marriage  Anand  goes  to  England  for  further  studies  and  Anu  was  also  going  to  accompany  him  after  Lakshmi-pooja  and at the  time  of  lakshmi  pooja  a  hot coal  fell  on  her  foot  and  severely  burnt  it. Then  a  couple  of  days  later  something  she  saw  she so that she has white patch on her feet. She was worried. She suspected if it was the symptom of leukoderma. To verify this she went to a doctor. At that time, leukoderoma had ruined many marriages, shattered many hearts, broken many engagements, it was consider a curse of god for that lady. Anu then decided that not to tell anybody and continue treatment. But one day by coincidence her in – laws saw her from coming out of the clinic. And she was forced to return to her parents house. Her father had remarriage after her mother’s death and her step mother dislike her. As she is in their house her step mother barbed her that she has become a burden for her parents and she was forced contemplate suicide. But suddenly she gets will power and goes to Bombay and works as a clerk. Then days passed and she gets a job as a Sanskrit teacher. Then she meets with an accident and has two doctors as enduring friends. After an year Anand realizes his mistakes and searches for Anu. Mean time her friend – doctor proposes her for marriage. After a week Anand finds Anu and ask for forgiveness to him. And asks her to come with him. But after finding the truthfulness of  life she rejects both and decides to live alone.

This book is an inspiration for all whose suffers prejudice in society. And I hope by reading this book all will raise like Anupama.

 Arsha Suresh

In the Divergent World

DSC06302“Fear doesn’t shut you down it wakes you up,” mixed with every element of suspense, love, thrill, terror, vivid imagination and loss, DIVERGENT is really a beautifully cooked heart pounding debut. Set in post apocalyptic Chicago ( the so called divergent world ) survivors are divided in to five factions : Abnegation for the selfless, Amity for the peaceful, Candor for the honest, Dauntless for the brave and Erudite for the intelligent. At the age of 16, one had to undergo an aptitude test, which finds out the faction in which they are best suited to. The main character 16 year old Beatrice is born to an Abnegation family. On getting her test results as inconclusive ( divergent ), she can be in any of the following factions – Abnegation, Erudite, Dauntless. On choosing day, Beatrice decides to leave Abnegation to join Dauntless, while her brother Caleb chooses Erudite. Their Dauntless instructor, Four will explain that the only the top ten will remain in the faction. During her initiation in to the new faction, Beatrice renames herself Tris. She soon finds her friends in Christina, Al, Will and ends up in conflict with Peter, Drew, Molly.

The initiation is divided in to three stages :
  1. Learning how to handle guns and knives as well as hand to hand combat.
  2. Involve simulations, which forces the initiates to face scenarios symbolic of their fears.
  3. Fear landscape.

In this period Tris falls in love with her instructor Four, who himself is a divergent and whose real name is Tobias. Tris ranks first in the initiation. later she discovers that the Erudite had used the tracking serum to force Dauntless members to carry out their plan of invading Abnegation. During the night following, Dauntless soldiers attack Abnegation. She loses both her parents in the fight. At last Tobias helps Tris shut down the Erudite simulation. Later they boards a train to Amity along with her brother to find the rest of Abnegation survivors. The rest is continued in the next book INSURGENT. Divergent is surely an asset to the English literature world and is worth reading.

Akshaya Panicker