My book journal #8 – Day and Night on a Milestone by Anand Krishna Panicker

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Writing an honest review for a book is sometimes as strenuous as writing fiction (for me at least 😀 ). When you get a free copy of the book, that too from the book’s author who is your friend, the responsibility is higher. Nonetheless, I’m not going to take all these facts into my head and bloat it.I’m going to write the review anyway and have some fun.:)

My first thought after reading ‘Day and Night on a Milestone’ was – what was I doing back in schools? I remember the school hours, but what did I do after that! ‘Coz most of the bonding with friends especially after school hours, crushes and fights were things I discovered and ran into back in college. My school memories started and ended within school timings. After that I was always back at home,my nose buried in books, rarely socializing outside school. So I felt a bit envious of the characters Anand and his friends, the brotherhood and the adventures they shared, ‘coz I didn’t get that back in school. 😦

But I did have an orkut account and scrapbook phase back in 11th standard, which was refreshed fairly well by this book. I could see a good detailing of what teenage lives was back then – that phase when you top-up your mobiles with your pocket money, you have mobile phones your parents are not aware of, you start having crushes and school romances, you fight with each other over almost anything, and studies (most-of-the-time-this-is-like-a-side-business) etc. I missed the 11th-12th entrance class traumas in this book since both the central characters Anand and Melissa had plans to pursue BA in English literature. But early morning physics tuition classes were symbolic enough.

While the male protagonist Anand comes across as both friendly and lively most of the times, there are times when his teenage immature thoughts gets a bit too annoying – for example the scene where he generalizes and passes comments about Pentecosts to Melissa or when he gets into fights just because his gf asks him to. In some scenes he behaves like a typical angry-young-man-hero. But there are scenes where he is a scene-stealer, when he lends his umbrella to his friend and cycles in the rain alone, or when he defends Melissa to a boy who disturbed her via phone by saying he wouldn’t have called and disturbed a girl just because he got her number.

Melissa, Anand’s love interest in the story gives us the image of a rational teenage girl in her first scenes. So when she falls in love with Anand suddenly and cries when he refuses her proposal in their first meeting,her rational image is broken fast in an unconvincing manner. Her constant requests to her bf to manhandle her eve teasers also is a bit cringing, because definitely she could have handled a good percentage of those issues by herself.So I started sharing Anand’s doubts about her character. But her traumatic childhood in the story will stand as a fair reason for this weak side in her. So instead of seeing these as fatal flaws in the characters, I like to think that the characters in this book,like us, are real and flawed.

Romance is not a genre I read a lot. Nonetheless I found the book entertaining in that aspect. But there were scenes I felt the writer could have been a bit more restraining in order to avoid cliches and the cheesy elements. For example the constant sweet ways in which the lovers address each other even in casual conversations or the bubble gum scene. But I liked the twists in the story line and how the story ends in a poetic and optimistic note. The narration flows smoothly, the book is an easy page turner/ entertainer. It also discusses some serious issues like child abuse, sexual assaults.

Even though Melissa handles her issues on her own before being on a relationship with Anand, this empowerment aspect is lacking in her when they are in a relationship. But towards the end of the story she does evolve and emerge stronger. So does the character Anand, from an I-am-ready-for-fights-anytime-teenager to a more matured man. This element of evolution of characters is also an area I enjoyed. The characters were not stagnant or stunted.Even though by giving the reader minute details in Anand and Melissa’s relationship, author shows us the ups and downs of a teenage romance there were areas that didn’t need so much detailing.

Overall it was an enjoyable read for me, with some areas,in my opinion,needing more restrain and editing to avoid trivialities and cliches.

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