Saturday, May 29, 2010

Book Review: The Blue Notebook

Book Title: The Blue Notebook
Author: James A. Levine
Genre: Literary Fiction
ISBN: 978-0-385-52871-9
Pages: 206
Source: Local Library

My Thoughts:

I picked this book after a I read its review at my friend Ramya's blog. Let me warn you at the outset that this book is a very powerful and disturbing read!! It gives you a peek into the life of a 15 year old child prostitute, Batuk, who lives in the city of Bombay in India.

 The book describes various incidents from Batuk's childhood-her happy times with her family and also talks about the circumstances which led to her being sold at the tender age of 9, to an "Uncle" in Bombay  by her own dad. The story then goes on to talk about Batuk's life in Bombay between the ages of 9 and 15.  

An interesting aspect about this book is that it is written in 1st-person narrative, unlike most books/articles on such topics, wherein the author gives us a 3rd-person view of the situation. The 1st-person narration lets you have a look into the protagonist's day-to-day life as is, without it being clouded with too much of sentiments and emotions. Also, since the book is written from the perspective of Batuk, who is a smart young girl with basic schooling, there is a lot of innocence in her language but at the same time her experiences in life has given her a maturity which far surpasses her age!! It shows you how resilient and adaptable we humans are. For example, in the book, Batuk equates the act of having sex with her clients to that of baking a cake - she says, timing is very important to obtain a cake of the right consistency!

Overall, this story is not an easy read and has graphic and violent descriptions of sexual scenes!! But eventually, when you do finish reading the book, the brutality of the entire child-prostitution scenario will hit you hard and will make you more aware of whats happening in the world around us!!!

My take on this book: It is a recommended read for adults with a strong-heart...



Anonymous said...

I've heard a lot of good things about this book but that it's really heavy. It's been sitting on my shelf for awhile; I'm hesitant to read it, but you've made it sound really good despite the subject matter.


Arch said...

@ Anna: The book is indeed a heavy one but if you ask me, it is a book which everyone should read so that we value our lives more and think twice before taking it for granted...Also it gives us a picture of a world which sounds so unreal to us but sadly does exist... sorry, I didn't mean to make it sound so grim.. I hope you get a chance to read it sometime...

Anonymous said...

I don't mind grim books, and you're right, they really do help us see how good we have it and opens us up to what is going on elsewhere in the world. One must take the bad with the good, I suppose.


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