Monday, January 11, 2016

Eighteen The End of Innocence by Sudham : A Review


BOOK TITLE: Eighteen The End of Innocence

AUTHOR: Sudham

ISBN/ASIN: 9789352013562

GENRE: Fiction

NUMBER OF PAGES: 237

FORMAT: Digital, Paperback

SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: The author sent me a review copy in exchange for a honest review. I thank the author for providing me with a paperback copy first and a digital one on request.

SUMMARY:

It is 1990, Raghu is in the final year of an all-boys school in Delhi. The monotony of attending school is broken by escapades with Aadi – his best friend – and the rest of the gang from school. High on hormones the boys are knocking hard on the doors of adulthood!

A slew of blank calls and a mystery caller bring intrigue into Raghu’s life. He is surprised when one fine day Shalini, a girl from his study group turns up at his doorstep. Raghu and Shalini join forces to nail the mystery caller and soon find themselves falling in love.

A coming of age fiction set in Delhi of the early 1990s, Eighteen: The End of Innocence traces the lives of three teenagers – Raghu, his girlfriend Shalini and his best friend Aadi. It is a tale about the choices young adults make, often blurring the line between fun and felony in the name of love or for the sake of friendship.

Eighteen: The End of Innocence is a journey from turning an adult to maturing into one.

FIRST IMPRESSION:

The title - while 'end of innocence' could mean a lot of things, most people often come to a common conclusion that it has to mean the end of childish innocence and one hell of a ride into adulthood with drinks, drugs and other 'forbidden' pleasures. This book speaks of these things - albeit in the 90's era. The cover, beautifully designed and aesthetically pleasing, was one of the reasons why I picked this book up.

REVIEW:

I am a '90's kid'. There. Confession made. It both saddens me and amuses me that '90's kid' has nowadays become a legitimate term to denote nostalgia, a wistful trip down the memory lane and feeling all the things that one would feel at 40 at the tender ages of 25 to 27, sometimes 30. I should begin my review by thanking the author for not stereotyping the 90s and instead making the book genuinely interesting.

Raghu is the regular 90s boy - someone who juggles school, romance, friends, happiness, strict parents and a middle class life - with hormone infused desires. But he endears readers by being a boy in control of his senses and not doing anything disastrously bad. Yes he makes mistakes, screws up certain things and manages to move on, grow up and become a man. Eighteen The End of Innocence is the story of adoloscent kids - friends who get together and experience life. It is simple, clean and narrated with very few twists and turns.

The story is everything the summary promises. There is the mandatory love and the small confusions that arise when the best friend is sometimes given less priority once love happens. Other than the lead characters, the 'supporting cast' also have some blink and miss appearances - that says more about the way of life than the writing style of the book. The age of eighteen is usually when boys and girls move on from the friends they made since they were kids and instead search for new 'adults' to make friends with while they go away from the nest for higher education. The characters of Shalini, Adhi and the little intrigue of the identity of the blank caller were what kept me reading the book.

It took me down the memory lane - when cellphones did not exist and when blank calls over landline telephones were very much a noticeable menace. The author manages to capture the spirit of life in the nineties with elements like the tension surrounding the entrance examination, the habits and behaviour of teenagers back then and how life generally was before technology invaded every aspect of our lives. Special thanks to him for not making any of this sound stereotypical or over the top.

But, on the other hand, the book had the potential to be something more than this. While I did not really expect a moral from the story, I did look forward to a few twists that differentiated this book from other novels of this genre - and was, in most cases, disappointed. It was about the nineties - the time when friends just showed up at our doorstep unnanounced and the main phrase used was 'let us meet up and plan our outing' instead of 'let us plan and meet for a dinner'. The innocence, the unhurried hustle and of course the beauty that is the nineties had a lot more scope for spinning a yarn.

The good and the bad said, this book is a nice read. It stays true to the summary, delivers what it promises - without many twists, and has good language. Though some parts might seem like additions to the story to tell you more about how life was back then, they add to the overall charm. If you are a '90s kid' and want to read an honest book, this one would interest you.

WHAT I LIKED:
  • The characterisation of Raghu - a good blend of uncertainty, moral fibre, daring and confusion
  • The narration - at places
  • The beautiful cover picture


WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER:
  • This book had the potential to make one very nostalgic. But somehow, this does not offer much to take back except the occasional smile as we read certain things
  • The climax scene (the car chase) almost resembled an appendix - one that was added to create an interesting ending.


VERDICT:
A coming of age story that gives you nostalgia, if you have done the few things 'innocent' youngsters did in the nineties.

RATING: 3.75/5


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sudhām is a passionate marketing professional who has taken the proverbial leap of faith with this book to establish himself as a novelist. Before he left his job as the National Marketing Head of India’s largest FM Radio Network-92.7 BIG FM, Sudhām worked for over thirteen years with brands such as Nokia, Lenovo and TVS-E.

An avid blogger, Sudhām publishes two blogs. www.keyedinthoughts.blogspot.com, a blog that showcases his poems, short stories and musings and www.abrandviewstory.com, a blog on brands and marketing that views the world through a marketer’s lens.

Sudhām is married to Surekha and has two little girls Mithila and Antara who make his world! Sudhām lives in Suraj Kund near Delhi.

Sudhām can be reached at: writetome@ sudham.in

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Kindle, Paperback

PRICE Rs. 77 for Kindle, Rs. 135 for Paperback

BOOK LINKS: Amazon

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