Sunday, 7 February 2016

'She: Ekla Cholo Re' by Santosh Avvannavar: A Book Review

Set in the backdrop of 1990 Calcutta, She is a story about finding one’s own identity in spite of all odds. The story spins around the life of Kusum, a brave heart whose identity is often untitled and blurred; it does not belong anywhere, definitely not under the ‘he’ or ‘she’ bracket, thanks to our social conditioning. Will she be successful in her mission? Find out in She, an utterly absorbing read that derives inspiration from Tagore’s “Ekla Cholo Re” song, which urges everyone to move on despite the fear of abandonment from others. 

Note: I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thanks, Santosh!

This was a very short book, so this is going to be a short review. 

She is the story of Kusum, a trans woman who has had her fair share of complications in life, be it with friends, family or life itself. She runs into the protagonist on the street while asking for a lift, and that's when this story begins. 

The book is about being proud of your identity not because others are lauding you, but because you're being true to who you are. Rabindranath Tagore's work highly inspires Kusum, and many scenes in the book are played out against the backdrop of his song Ekla Cholo Re, especially when Kusum realises that she doesn't need anyone else's support as long as she has her own.

More like a short story than a novella, She is just the perfect length - neither too abrupt, nor too drawn out - to capture your attention and remind you of the importance of equal rights for all. 

I have to admit that I didn't expect any twists or turns in this novel, because of its word count, but the surprising end - or should I say cliffhanger? - was so heartwarming and brilliant!

Coming to the drawbacks, there are quite a few grammatical errors in this book, but the story is more about the theme of LGBT rights and less about syntax, so I'll let that one go for now. 

I'm going to go with 4 stars out of 5 for this one.
She is enthralling, inspiring and innovative, and I do think everyone should go give it a read, if not for the story, then for the theme.

What are your views on transgender rights? Have you read any books on this theme? If so, let me know in the comments below. See you next time, Geeks! :)

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