When She Smiled
Title: When She Smiled
Author: Ritoban Chakrabarti
Publisher: Notion Press
Number of Pages: 217
Price [INR] : 215
Mrityunjoy Roy is a fifteen year old Bengali who has spent the last ten years of his life growing up in Shimla. While his family is completely academically oriented, he wants something more.
Finally he meets Akanksha in school, who turns his world upside down with her gorgeous looks and mind boggling smile.
As fate would have it, she joins his tuition, and thus begins the torrid year of puppy love, romance, heartbreak, tragedy, and self discovery.
Set among the scenic Shivalik hills of Shimla when mobile phones and internet were non-existent, this is a story of how an average young teenager comes to terms with his destiny.
The story in When She Smiled is set in a quaint little hill station of Shimla. Mrityunjoy or Roy as he is called by his friends joins his old school DAV in class 11 after a two year stint in an Army School. He meets Akanksha, his classmate and falls in love with her. When She Smiled is a coming of age story of this fifteen year old boy. It is his journey from being naive to wise as he navigates through studies, love and life.
Shimla is very close to my heart. I loved the sights, the places, the food and the beauty of the land that came live in front of my eyes, through the author’s words. In fact, Shimla is an integral part of this story, it is almost like a character of the book. The realistic representation of the times during the 1990s is interesting. The story takes you back in time when the parents were really strict with their kids and their sole focus in life was their academic success. It is story of a period when entertainment was only through television and pocket money was less; when internet, social networking sites and mobiles had still not entered our lives.
While the incidents and anecdotes in When She Smiled make for an engaging read, there is virtually no story line in the book. There are hardly any twists and turns and the story mostly reads like a young boy’s daily journal. I could not understand Akanksha’s character, she seemed like a sweet nice girl in the beginning and was made into a negative character towards the end. As I was reading the book, I was looking for the rationale for the title of the book. And I found it on the last page (OK, second last page) of the book and it didn’t seem convincing enough. Another oddity that I found in the book was the usage of ‘Ram sake’, instead of ‘God sake’.
The climax was totally unexpected and very abrupt and one that leaves you disappointed and disconnected.
When She Smiled is an okayish one time read… not great but not boring either.
This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers.Participate now to get free books!
March 18, 2015 1:47 pm|
Thanks for sharing the review Shilpa..
March 18, 2015 10:24 pm|
My pleasure, Nabanita! Thanks for reading it 🙂
March 18, 2015 4:28 pm|
Another good review SG. 🙂
March 18, 2015 10:26 pm|
Thanks Bikram! 🙂 How have you been?
March 19, 2015 3:13 pm|
I am doing good .. SG thank you so much.. How are you doing 🙂
March 19, 2015 7:52 pm|
Good to know that, Bikram! Yeah, all good this side too. Thanks 🙂
March 18, 2015 7:35 pm|
Thanks for the nice review.
March 18, 2015 10:27 pm|
Thank you SG! 🙂
March 18, 2015 8:44 pm|
Be it movies or books I prefer the ones with good happy endings 🙂
March 18, 2015 10:44 pm|
Same here. 🙂
March 19, 2015 12:36 am|
Good review. The title and cover page looks good and interesting.
March 19, 2015 12:30 pm|
March 19, 2015 6:24 am|
Always love your honest reviews 🙂
March 19, 2015 12:31 pm|
Thank you Raj 🙂
March 19, 2015 12:05 pm|
Very interesting and detailed review as usual Shilpa Garg. Looks like I will give this book a miss. Though what you mention about details of Shimla does sound interesting 🙂
March 19, 2015 12:34 pm|
Since, Shimla is known to us, so reading about all about it was like being there and must say that the writer has done a fab job in showcasing it so beautifully in the book. Thanks Sundari.
March 19, 2015 12:24 pm|
I understand the book is written keeping the youth in mind, but travelling with the author only with his POV can slow down the pace of the novel at some spots. Specially the relationship between Akansha and Roy had too many on and off switches. At moments I want to shout at him- Atta boy! move on. But then this cannot go against the book for it is about puppy love. And we all know what that is 🙂
March 19, 2015 12:37 pm|
You said it, Rubina! At one point of time, I literally wanted to shake Roy! But as you rightly mentioned, it is about young first love! *Sigh*
March 19, 2015 1:00 pm|
I love honest reviews 🙂 Though young love(that too in school) is not a kind of book that I will pick up!
March 19, 2015 1:08 pm|
I know what you mean, Gayathri! 😀 I picked it up only for Shimla and glad that I did that! 🙂
March 19, 2015 4:44 pm|
Good to know about the book. 😀 😆
I will wait for a book you loved to add to my TBC List.
March 19, 2015 7:49 pm|
March 19, 2015 5:37 pm|
I am giving this book a miss. Have read pretty bad reviews about this one 🙄 But I do like Shimla! It’s a place on the top of my ‘To Visit’ list 😀
March 19, 2015 7:51 pm|
Aah! Shimla is an amazing place especially during the winters! Hope you get to visit it sometimes soon! 🙂
March 19, 2015 8:08 pm|
That’s the way pahadi romances go…….;) simple, sweet and as life hands it!
March 20, 2015 11:14 pm|
Aha! Is that so 😀
March 23, 2015 6:13 pm|
Your review on the Simla setting sounds interesting. I like to read about places. But, then i hate sad endings.
March 23, 2015 8:16 pm|
The depiction of Shimla is simply wow! Since we have been there so many times, so I could relate to it! It’s not a sad ending but one that’s different! 🙂